Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Two Views of the 2012 Election

Progressives are celebrating after President Obama was re-elected on November 6th, cinching victory with 303 electoral votes and 60,506,653 popular votes. In the wake of last night's results, two blog posts have captured the issues surrounding American politics right now. First, Infidel753's post, "Victory!"
paints an optimistic picture of an increasingly diverse America in which intolerance is losing ground. Infidel argues that the Republican party's right-wing views will cost it legitimacy, and its future, if it does not evolve.
"I feel no sense of chivalry or magnanimity whatsoever toward the defeated opposition. They are horrible, twisted, vicious, nasty people. They rallied round a ticket consisting of a sociopathic parasite who spent his career piling up obscene wealth by ruining the lives of others (which the Moloch he created is still doing), and a Randroid who planned to "privatize" -- that is, destroy -- Medicare and throw tens of millions of bewildered old people, clutching useless vouchers, onto the mercy of a private insurance market that doesn't want them. Their fundamentalist base views anyone who isn't a heterosexual Christian as less than fully American, and their party platform would reduce American women to involuntary breeding stock for violent criminals. The last time they were in power, their obstructionism cost us precious years of progress in stem-cell technology, a delay which will end up costing far more lives than the Iraq war they blundered into. They fully deserved the stomping they just got, and far more.

But the "more" will come. This was their last shot, the last election in which the Republican party as presently constituted will be a viable contender. Year by year the black / Hispanic / racially-mixed percentage of the population inches upward, while the non-religious and gay-tolerant percentage surges. A theocratic, homophobic party which refuses to confront the barely-disguised racist element in its midst, doesn't have a future. They already lost almost every swing state and almost every seriously-contested Senate race yesterday, and by 2016 Arizona will be a swing state, and maybe not just Arizona. Texas is 30% Hispanic and 12% black. Add in Austin's liberal enclave, Dallas's vibrant gay community, and millions of blue-collar white people who are definitely reachable on the basis of economic self-interest, and a determined effort over the next four years could turn the state bluish-purple -- and that's the end of the Republicans as a viable national party, unless they drastically change."
Jurassic Pork's thoughts at Brilliant at Breakfast wander to the future, however. In a post entitled "Citizens, United", Jurassic Pork reminds us that President Obama's performance over the next few years, as well as the merits of upcoming successors, will play an important role in the 2016 election. The Democratic victory was far from overwhelming, leading Pork to believe that Obama's support among liberals may have waned.
"I've been asking myself since the election season began early last year who's going to replace Obama. Now is the time to start grooming a successor either within the administration or in Congress. Biden will be 73. Hillary will be close to 70. Obama's less than 60,000,000 votes shows that his support among progressives and liberals had seriously eroded even against a completely unelectable psychopath like Mitt Romney. The electoral college that actually decides presidential elections makes Mr. Obama's win look like a landslide (303-206) that makes a mockery of the usual neck-and-neck horse race projections by networks desperate to keep the viewers tuning in so they can sell air space.

But in terms of presidential politics, the Democrats under a weakened Obama are less enthusiastic about the party than Republicans are about theirs.

The chances of a Democrat getting in the White House in 2016 are looking dimmer by the week and Obama's performance over the next four years, unrestrained by worries about re-election, will largely determine that."
Now go read both posts. Now. Read 'em. They're good.

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