Election 2012 post-mortem: people who want stuff

The Republicans, over the past few days, have been trying to figure out why they didn’t win the Presidency on Tuesday. More than that: they actually lost ground (especially in the Senate). The House of Representatives still has a Republican majority, but at least ten of the vicious Tea Party Republicans elected in 2010 got unseated.

Why did they lose?

Well, as a Democrat/Socialist, I know why they lost. But I was curious to see what they themselves thought.

Here’s a selection of theories:

–         Voter fraud. (We all know that Democrats excel at voter fraud!) This one was probably best brought forward by Donald Trump, who recommended that Romney voters march on Washington.

–         Fuzzy math. (Did you see the Wall Street Journal red/blue map? It shows vast swaths of red through Wyoming and Oklahoma and Texas, and tiny blue segments in NYC and Boston and Seattle. The clear implication: How can so much of the country have gone Republican, and still have lost? Apparently there are a lot of people who don’t understand math, or how voting works. We don’t vote by square mileage, as Stephen Colbert wisely pointed out.)

–         Voter intimidation. (Fox News, on election night, featured a suspicious-looking black man outside a Pennsylvania polling place, holding the door for people. A Black Panther! A terrorist!)

–         Bad polling. (Nate Silver, who appears to have perfected the art of probabilistic polling, was attacked during the pre-campaign months – Joe Scarborough called him a “joke,” and some other GOP hack called him “effeminate.” And yet he called the election with great precision. As Colbert said: “Math has a liberal bias.”)

But, most viscerally at all, let’s listen to Bill O’Reilly for a moment:

“We’re changing demographically. We’re changing our attitudes. We’re becoming more like Western Europe … and I’m not going to generalize about any ethnic group, it’s a mentality that pervades across society … some people are saying, ‘I don’t want to do it, but I want them to do it for me.

“Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff.

“You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?

“The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore.”

We are no longer all white. We are no longer all men, or all straight, or non-Hispanic.

I think that’s right, actually.

And do we want stuff?

You bet we do.

We want rights. Gay people want the right to get married. Hispanic people want the right not to be treated as second-class citizens. Black people want the right not to be treated the way Trayvon Martin was treated.

We all want stuff.

We just don’t want the stuff that Bill O’Reilly says (or thinks) we want.

We’re not Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens.” We don’t want money. We want rights. We want respect.

Does the GOP understand this? Most of all, do they understand it deeply enough to change their attitudes, and their party’s attitudes, for the next election?

We’ll see.

(Somehow, however, I doubt it.)


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.

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