Home > Uncategorized > Thoughts on the Election

Thoughts on the Election

Election Days fascinate me: politicians, pundits, and voters spend months imagining, predicting, and trying to shape one single day. Then that day finally comes, the results pour in with a whirl, and that one instant determines the lines and rules for the next round of political boxing for the next two years. The results of this year’s elections are especially interesting. Most of these observations I’m absorbing from other commentators, even if I don’t cite them directly.

  • Polls are meaningful. He was excoriated, but Nate Silver was almost exactly right in his projections. Even in such a tight election, the numbers were a reliable predictor of how things were going to shape out. I think pundits like to believe that they have some special insight from their gut that trumps statistics (otherwise, they would have to face the uncomfortable question: what good are they?). While I didn’t find this terribly surprising, I expected more variety than we got–that’s what my gut was telling me, anyways.
  • The GOP base doomed Romney. Jacob Weisburg made this argument, and I think he’s mainly right, though not exactly for the reasons Weisburg gives. Though the overall field was weak, Romney was a strong GOP candidate. Few nominees come from either party with the credentials and experience he has. But he had to spend so much time convincing his own party that he was a credible candidate (distancing himself from “Obamney Care,” picking Paul Ryan) that he couldn’t emphasize his greatest strength: he’s a moderate Republican with bipartisan experience  who’s an excellent manager. But “bipartisan experience” isn’t a strength when the party wants to repeal Democratic bills like Dodd-Frank or Obamacare wholesale. “No-compromise” politics right now appears to favor the Democrats.
  • That GOP base will change. If for nothing else than from necessity. But I think many in the GOP are legitimately concerned that they are not casting their representative net wide enough. You pick your battles in politics, and I think the GOP knows that their economic message still resonates with a lot of Americans. But it’s those other issues–immigration, health care, women’s rights–that makes it difficult for that message to stick. The Most Americans said the economy was their number one priority, but my hunch is that if the other issues don’t line up to, then even a top priority can be trumped. Which leads to…
  • The beginning of the end of the today’s cultural wars. OK, that’s putting it a little strong, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that behind the presidential and congressional races, this was a huge election day for social issues. Maine and Maryland (and probably Washington) became the first states to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. Minnesota refused to ban it. Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana (though I’d consider marijuana laws more of a criminal justice issue). These all passed by healthy margins. Now other marijuana measures failed, and same-sex marriage bans still exist in the majority of states. But challenges are coming more frequently, and opposition groups seem spent. The days of the Moral Majority and the Republican Party walking hand in hand to the polling booth and then into the White House or the Capitol building are likely over. What form the cultural wars will take next has yet to be seen. My money is on how we make end-of-life decisions. But to contradict everything I just said, the other thing we witnessed was…
  • The rebirth of the cultural wars. In case you were wondering, yes, it’s true: abortion and rape are very, very sensitive subjects. Richard Murdock and Todd Akin now have a lot of free time to reflect on that.
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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. DLewis
    November 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I forgot to mention two important things:

    Florida, you’re a disgrace. People in line to vote for 4 hours, only to have the result decided before they get to cast their vote? And they’re in EST? Even after the boondoggle that was Election 2000? We’re holding your electoral votes hostage until you reach even mediocre competency.

    And my favorite moment of the night? Karl Rove trying to explain to Fox News hosts while Romney still has a chance in Ohio right after the program called the election for Obama. I know that look on his face: it’s the same desperate denialism I’ll make when I try to argue why a Notre Dame football team that can barely put away BYU and Pitt should be in the national championship.

  2. Meredith Williams
    November 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    See, this is what makes me sad and hard to swallow….that we have come to a point in this nation where the moral majority and Republican party walking hand in hand to the white house is likely over…. Especially since we are a nation under GOD. The scriptures make it clear that if we keep the commandments we should prosper. I strongly believe that it relates to our nation too. Yet, we are losing those morals so fast and it’s hard to watch.

    Also, another huge point to this election was race. Though economy was number one on peoples mind, feeling like their candidate “related” to them was huge. I guess I underestimated the number of african americans, immigrants and single woman that made up most of Obama’s votes. With those three populations alone, there is no question that he won. I kind of feel like a minority now in America. Times have changed and I underestimated the number of those populations. Doesn’t it seemed racisit though, to vote for someone because he is black? It’s kind of a different form of racisim. Is this going to start being a trend in this country now?

    • November 8, 2012 at 3:19 am

      Meredith, the “race” issue goes beyond feeling like a candidate “relates” to you. Hispanic voters are an enormous demographic block, and growing rapidly. While they tend to be more conservative on social issues, the Republican party in its current instantiation loses them when it comes to immigration policy, and very understandably so.

  3. Meredith
    November 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

    See if my opinion I don’t feel like Obama has done much for the immigrants and on an immigration policy…..but they population must dislike the republican immigration policy enough not to vote for Romney. I guess if the republicans want to make it into the White House, they are going to have to look at how to connect with that population because you’re right, it is getting so big

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