How do you spell electoral defeat in the digital age? If you’re Mitt Romney, you take a look at your Facebook page, which has been losing friends at a rapid rate since the Romney’s resounding defeat on Tuesday.
Romney has been losing friends at a rate of about 600 an hour at certain points over the last four days, according to a story in the Washington Post. The Post says you can refresh his page and watch the friends drop by the second.
The Post speculates that the rampant defriending is a sign of something that political observers were saying all summer long: that Romney’s support amongst Republicans was not very enthusiastic—his support was primarily based on a dislike of President Obama.
While 2008 candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin have managed to maintain a substantial presence on Facebook—particularly Palin, who has become something of a media celebrity—Romney is not expected to remain a public figure, according to media speculation. Perhaps Romney was acknowledging as much in the statement that was posted on his Facebook page on Saturday afternoon—the first item put on the page since he encouraged his followers to vote on Election Day.
“From the bottom of our hearts, Ann and I thank you for your support, prayers, efforts, and vote. We are forever grateful to every one of you,” Romney wrote on the page.
That sounds like a somewhat permanent farewell.
One thing is certain, watching Romney’s discomfort at times in the public eye, is that he won’t go the way of Palin and become a media and reality TV star. Palin was right there on Fox News at the end, expressing her dismay with the outcome.
“The realization at this point is that those Bain Capital ads that voters just got inundated with early on in Ohio, and some of these other areas as it pertained to the auto bailout, I think really hurt Romney,” she said.
“This really is a catastrophic setback to our economy. And to any opportunity that we would have for Supreme Court justices to be appointed who strictly adhere to the Constitution.”
“It’s a perplexing time for many of us right now,” she noted, “if things continue in this trend that we have seen earlier tonight.”