If Romney Loses …
… I don't think it will be due to the “culture of dependency.” For one thing, people in the culture of dependency tend to not vote and I suspect that those that do vote hope for the dependency to be temporary.
I think the problem is the lingering belief in the “Folk Philips curve.” Many people still think that the Republicans are the people to control inflation and the Democrats are the people to control unemployment. (This has benefited Republicans in the past; McGovern tried running against inflation and lost badly.)
Romney can probably get better results by running against high energy and food prices. Platform: Drill here, drill now, frack for natural gas, supplement with nukes, and stop burning corn. If he's elected and the current money expansion leads to inflation, he will probably be able to get away with blaming Obama.
This lingering relic of the New Deal has been ignored for the past few decades because the economy has been either in relatively good shape or suffering mainly from inflation, resulting in elections about other issues.
A contributing factor
Another problem is that Romney represents the Old Enemy of Democrats; he was a financier. Opposing Big Finance (at least nominally) has been one of the few constants of the Democratic Party. We must also recall that the swing vote consists of people who would have voted a straight Democratic ticket back in the days of FDR. They just might return to their roots now that their buttons have been pushed.
This might be aggravated by the decline in immigration. As I have said before:
The sort of voter who might be prejudiced against “the rich” was even more prejudiced against anything foreign.Now they have fewer foreigners to resent.
This might also mean the people Touré Neblett is against are voting for Obama.
As I have said before:
If the swing voters will exclude anybody who used to be a financier and the PC crowd can exclude anybody they dislike from the media or most of academia, that means Republicans (if they want someone with private-sector experience) will have to nominate either an economics professor or an industrial businessman.
One problem is that the usual climb to the top in politics requires a personality who believes in political power. The best way around that is to have a candidate who climbed high in the business, academic, or entertainment worlds before switching to politics. I suspect much of “political correctness” is for the purpose of ensuring that few future Reagans will come from the academic or entertainment worlds. On the other hand, there might be an adequate supply of conservatives from economics departments.