Lessons from the 2012 Presidential campaign


It has taken me a little while to compose myself after Election Night 2012.  Now that I’ve stopped screaming with joy, however, I’ve jotted down a few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks and months.

As follows:

Probably you shouldn’t try to redefine the word “rape.” It doesn’t make you many friends. (Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock: hear me?)

Money doesn’t necessarily win elections.  When it’s quite evident that you’re trying to buy a House/Senate seat (McMahon in Connecticut, Hinckley in Rhode Island), you will probably lose. And Donald Trump publicly mocked Karl Rove for wasting millions of dollars of PAC money on candidates who lost. (As a Tumblr commentator said: Who knows more than Donald Trump about wasting money?)

Lying is very traditional in American presidential elections, but it’s getting easier and easier to disprove a lie. Probably people should try to lie less (or at least more cleverly). And they should not openly flout the fact-checkers.

 

 

In a state where people traditionally hate and fear state troopers (like Rhode Island, for example), the opposition party shouldn’t nominate a state trooper as their candidate. (Bye-bye, Brendan Doherty.)

 

 

Don’t make fun of your opponent. It makes you look small. (This one goes out to former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who insisted on belittling his opponent Elizabeth Warren as a liar, as ugly, as untrustworthy, as a “college professor.” It didn’t work, did it, Scotty?)

 

 

Do not, in your concession speech, imply that God made your opponent win in order to make the Apocalypse happen sooner. (Okay, Mr. God-be-the-glory Todd Akin?)

 

 

Don’t assume that gay marriage is a passing fad. Before Tuesday, every popular referendum on gay marriage had failed, and the Republicans / social conservatives were convinced they had a failsafe way to defeat gay marriage: bring it to a popular vote. Well, on Tuesday, four states voted, and three (Washington, Maine, and Maryland) upheld gay marriage. You can be sure the GOP will be less confident in future about this particular strategy. (So Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee can take their Chick-fil-A sandwiches and jam them up one another’s asses. And they can make sure those sandwiches are up there real tight, too.)

And finally:

The country is changing. We are more diverse, and more tolerant, as a whole. (A commentator in 2008, shortly after Obama’s first election, said that bigotry and intolerance in the USA would decrease over time, but (like seawater evaporating) they would become more concentrated and intense. I remember thinking this was a very wise thing to say. Now, after four years of concentrated intense vicious hatred of Obama and the liberal agenda, I see how prescient he was.) But we are not Sarah Palin’s America, and we are not Mitt Romney’s America (whatever the hell that was supposed to be about). We are a multicolored America. We do not care to be ruled by Christian law, or Sharia law, or any kind of religious law for that matter. We like our marijuana. We like being married to our common-law partners. We like Planned Parenthood. We like knowing that, if we become ill, we will not go into bankruptcy if we go to the doctor. We have no problem with electing women, and gays, and differently-abled people; in fact, we’re proud to be represented by them.

Let the right-wing nuts shriek about socialism and the Death of America, kids. They’ll tucker themselves out in a while, and we can have some peace, maybe even through Inauguration Day.

And I’m sure the 2016 campaign won’t begin before June or July of 2013.

(I plan to vote for Hillary. How about you?)


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

5 Responses to Lessons from the 2012 Presidential campaign

  1. starproms says:

    That’s a very good summary Loren and I agree with everything you say except the issue of gay marriage, which I don’t agree with because it doesn’t fit. It’s like a shoe that is half a size too small or too big. I believe that there should be a new category for gay people so that they can be legally and spiritually joined as well as physically (if that’s what they want). It needs to be something different to what heterosexual people have now, which is marriage for the procreation of children.
    The Church needs to sort itself out too because they cannot say ‘yes’ to the marriage of gay people and ‘no’ to the marriage of divorced people (who are not gay). That doesn’t fit either. It all comes down to the comparison of apples and oranges. Apples and oranges are both great but they are different. You can’t treat them the same. They have different needs.
    Here in England we have just chosen a new Archbishop of Canterbury. He is against gay marriage in church. I wonder if this is a political decision by the hierarchy? If it is then there will be even more division.
    Your post is not really about this issue. Your post is about the wonderful news that Obama is in for another four years. I am as delighted as you are that this obviously genuine man is leading your wonderful country. Good luck to him as he struggles to join the ends together.

    • I can agree with you on gay marriage so long as we can have the same civil rights – property, etc. – as straight couples. So long as I know that Partner and I can share one another’s lives just as a straight couple can, and that we can be allowed into a hospital room just as a straight spouse would be, I’m fine. Some gay people are hung up on the word “marriage.” I’m not, so much. Some states here have something called “civil unions,” however, which are deeply flawed: “civil unions” can be disregarded freely, and don’t really come with full civil rights.

      I have been reading about your new Archbishop, especially in the Financial Times (which loves the idea that he’s a former oil executive). I was sort of fond of Rowan Williams; he seemed like a nice bloke. I’m sorry to see him go. I hope Justin Welby does as well as Williams did. As you said, it’ll be a rough time for a while.

      But yes: we have Obama back, for another four years, and a clear majority of Americans voted for him. We are delighted. Sometimes I worry that my fellow Americans are dim and deluded; then something like this happens, and I realize that there’s some hope left in the world after all.

      • starproms says:

        Yes it is the absence of hope which would be really hard to accept. You have lots of hope now, all of you.

        I’m going to try and think of a new title for gay marriage. I don’t like civil union, it sounds so formal. I would favour something more like ‘loving partnership’ and yes, definitely with all the legalities in place that heterosexual couples have. It certainly isn’t fair now but it will be one day.

        I’m sure the Church of England has financial difficulties and the new Archbishop comes from a business background. He is certainly a smart guy from what I’ve heard. He has also had more than his share of personal tragedy so I feel he will do a good job, but just like in everything else, there will be many challenges to overcome.

  2. kleeyaro says:

    I think both of us had the same reaction to the outcome of the election. Though I certainly wanted the President to win, I honestly didn’t think it would happen. I waited until the next morning to find out the results and was overjoyed. Before the election, I saw a wonderful bumper sticker: Vote Democrat. They’re not perfect, but at least they’re not nuts!

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