11.07.2012

Why Liberalism Won Last Night


Here's, briefly, my post-mortem on this election.

1. Attempting to suppress the vote was a bad idea.
GOP attempts at voter suppression likely inspired MORE people who might have been disenfranchised to go vote (Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted's attempts to cut back curtail early voting caused AN INCREASE in early voters, for example). The Nation's Ari Berman spent time in black churches around Ohio prior to this election and the phrase he kept hearing was "They're trying to take our right to vote." There is no greater revenge against voter suppression than voting, and voting for the other guy.

2. Traditional conservativism appeals to a smaller percentage of the electorate than it once did.
Conservatives are slowly falling out of step with an electorate that is growing younger and more diverse. If the GOP continues to reject immigration reforms, it will continue to do poorly among minorities. If it continues to reject reform on marijuana laws and marriage equality (while both issues had BANNER NIGHTS in state ballot initiatives) it will continue to shed young voters. If it continues to parse the definition of rape, seek to curtail access to not only abortion but also basic birth control, it will continue to shed female voters. It's perhaps noteworthy that Romney's political fortunes seemed to brighten when he used the debates to tack back towards the center after over a year campaigning on the far-right against his primary challengers.
The GOP MUST CHOOSE between moving left of these issues, and falling deeper into irrelevance.

3. The Tea Party has NOT been kind to the GOP.
In several states, but of course most notably in Indiana and Missouri, far-right-wing Tea Party candidates defeated significantly more moderate republicans in primary races only to be ultimately defeated in the general election. This radicalized wing of the Republican Party has, at least in Murdouck and Akin, put up candidates so out of touch with the electorate that they not only cost the GOP two senate seats, but they also managed to be a significant drag on the national ticket as Mitt Romney was repeatedly tied to them, asked to repudiate their stances, and tarred for having supported them.

4. Karl Rove is one of the greatest con artists in American politics, and Sheldon Adelson is one of the country's biggest fools.
Rove tricked thousands of donors into giving him millions and millions of dollars which he poured into expensive advertising campaigns that failed to get Mitt Romney elected. Likewise, casino magnate Adelson spent hundreds of millions of his own personal wealth to fail to acheive the same end.  Additionally, WWE owner/millionaire Linda McMahon has now spent over $100 million of her own wealth to fail to win a senate seat.  None of this information is meant to imply that the open spigot of money that is the Citizens United decision is anything less than dangerous and must be closed, but in Big Dark Money's first go-round, Big Money lost in both the wallet and in the voting booth.

6. Nate Silver is a witch.
But not really. By looking at the data, by averaging ALL state polls and then projecting winners based on upon that average, The New York Times' Nate Silver managed to make the pundits and unskewerers on talk radio and on Fox News look absolutely silly. As George Will, Sean Hannity, Peggy Noonan, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and countless others explained why they knew in their guts that a Romney landslide was on the way, Silver looked at all of the polls (not just the ones he agreed with, or the ones he paid for) and the moneyball man guessed it almost exactly right.

7. Donald Trump is irrelevant.