A dear friend of mine sent me this spot-on summary of the presidential election outcome, with which I agree completely. It’s finally beginning to feel like the 21st Century:
The economy is improving no matter what, including the housing sector, which has already begun its long, slow upward movement in different parts of the country (such as the DC metro area); the Republicans knew that, and wanted the continuing recovery to be known as a Romney Recovery. It will now be known as an Obama Recovery.
It appears that the Affordable Health Care Act has been saved, and will become an American institution like Social Security and Medicare.
It is much less likely that there will be war with Iran, or that there will be other stupid, aggressive foreign policy blunders on the scale associated with George W. Bush.
The Obama coalition disproves the GOP worldview, and has now won two presidential elections in a row; it is gaining confidence, and could not be beaten by the scads of money Republicans threw at the election. This amalgam (of white liberals and independents, black people, Hispanic people, Asian-Americans, women, many gay voters, many educated professionals and enough blue-collar families who’ve been burned by vulture capitalism, union-busting and declining family income and prospects) is gaining self-consciousness and confidence.
Financial industry and wealthy individuals and corporations will now reconsider their investment in the GOP; their $1B+ investment in this election was COMPLETELY lost, without possibility of recovering a dime, and they still get the result they were trying to avoid, as if they had not spent anything at all. Republican political consultants like Karl Rove did not and could not deliver–which raises the question among his funders: Why give this guy and others like him so much money if they can’t do what we want? Their tactics (like the last minute PR campaign, aimed at weak-minded and undecided potential voters who just wanted to be on a winning side, to pretend that Romney/Ryan had developed an unbeatable “momentum” coming out of the first presidential debate) aren’t working, and yet they are incredibly expensive. Big money may start to feel that they would better spend their money supporting an Obama coalition that would then perhaps see them as an ally.
The election results put pressure on a deeply unpopular Congress to really address the country’s problems without making protection of the wealthiest its top consideration.
There will be a delightful period of Republican Party “soul searching”–which in GOP terms means finger-pointing and internecine back-stabbing, which could get bad (or, rather, good) enough to become a GOP Civil War or Night of the Long Knives, with Republicans trashing each other they way they did during the Republican primaries. I would not want to be Mitt Romney right now. The fact is, the GOP does not have that many acceptable national political candidates who are not hopelessly repulsive and/or obviously flaming assholes. Karl Rove once dreamed of a “permanent Republican majority” that he would engineer and guide. The demographics of America aided by sheer GOP stupidity and viciousness may have gutted that ambition. The further beauty of this situation is that, even though the GOP knows this, it has no idea what to do about its being demographically against the tide of the future. To paraphrase Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, there are just not enough angry white guys out there, and there will be even fewer in the coming years.
There is now this Republican tendency to just go psychotic when confronted with information that contradicts the GOP worldview; in that situation, Republicans are becoming simple deniers of reality and of facts, making the case that their delusions are simply an alternate reality as valid as the one supported by evidence. In large part, this is the influence of the Christian right showing. The GOP “strategy” seems to be: When reality is unacceptable, proclaim that it is not real but simply an alternative view. They show signs of believing their own bullshit, instead of simply being unprincipled, lying bastards. Their own “internal” electoral polls, for instance, seem to have been faith-based.
We are also probably seeing the end of the Republican coalition of resentful, often racist white men, the Christian right, movement conservatives, the financial services world, corporate power, cranky, defensive rich people and worried small business owners. The GOP is having trouble coming up with positions that don’t alienate at least one of their significant constituent groups. If they try to please them all, they often run up against the preferences of all the independent voters they rely on for enough tangential support to win elections. This has happened with women’s issues, immigration policy, same-sex marriage and socially-conservative issues generally. The GOP can no longer keep enough people under their mythical “big tent;” they no sooner corral one group into it than another leaves through the back flaps, as in some unruly anarchist circus where no one wants to follow the ringmaster. Most importantly, no one thinks the ringmaster is really telling them what he actually thinks, as opposed to what he thinks they want to hear. This was the problem Romney had with his own base, such as it was. He could not help telling different groups different things, and they compared notes.