Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Postscript

The US election is finally over.  President Obama won the Presidency.  Democrats increased their effective majority in the Senate.  Republicans maintained their control of the House of Representatives with a diminished majority.  Maine, Maryland and Washington State all approved same sex marriage by popular referendum, and Minnesota voters rejected an amendment to their state constitution to ban same sex marriage.

Overall, the evangelistic aspirations of the Republican Party which reverberated in the right wing echo chamber were dashed by electoral reality.

This election witnessed one of the two major political parties in the United States being captured and held hostage by its extreme right wing fringe.  The Republican Party proclaimed that it wanted to shrink government as much as possible. In fact the Republican Party promoted the unbridled growth of government power for the purpose of enforcing its religiously inspired views on the entire population thereby overriding the very individual freedoms the party supposedly cherishes.  This party advocated that the government control women’s bodies by criminalizing abortion and limiting access to contraception.  Similarly, this same party sought to deny same-sex couples the benefits of marriage.  The Republican Party thought it was right and proper for the wealthiest citizens to pay a far smaller fraction of their income in taxes than paid by individuals with modest incomes.  This party attacked science when it contradicted religious or political doctrine or threatened short-term profits. The Presidential candidate of this party thought nothing of shamelessly changing his positions depending on which audience he was addressing.  He also thought nothing of promoting lies if he thought it would help him get elected.  The so-called “pro-life” party couldn’t wait to withdraw health insurance from millions of citizens – an action which would have resulted in 28,000 additional Americans dying every year. Republican governors and state legislatures saw nothing wrong with limiting voting hours for the purpose of voter suppression resulting in some citizens having to wait in line for five or six hours in order to vote.

The shocking thing about the 2012 election is not that Barack Obama retained the Presidency. It is that the election was as close as it was.  Mitt Romney garnered 48% of the popular vote.  A shift of a few percent of the vote in a handful states would have resulted in a Romney electoral victory and perhaps Republican control of the Senate as well.  I believe that the only reason that Obama prevailed is that the economy had begun to recover somewhat.   History teaches us that when people are desperate they can elect despots who promise them salvation.  Had the Republicans prevailed and Romney appointed right wing ideologues to the Supreme Court, civil rights in the US would have been rolled back for decades to come.  The US teetered on the edge of a social-political-environmental abyss.

Fortunately, I believe that we are likely at a tipping point in terms of the political ascendancy of the right wing fringe.  The Republicans fared poorly with women, the young, and minorities.  Republicans drew their strength from older white men.  Angry old white men are a diminishing demographic and young white men will likely maintain their more liberal outlook as they age.  If Republicans continue to cleave to their anti-freedom, anti-life, ‘tough-luck buddy’, anti-science, homophobic, misogynistic, theocratic “social agenda” they will become a diminishing factor in national politics and eventually be replaced by another more moderate center-right party. 

Republicans could chart another course, shedding their “social agenda” in favor of a more libertarian agenda of individual freedom combined with an economic policy of prudent fiscal management.  If they do so they may become once again a credible political alternative within the US two-party system.  

The US needs a dynamic two-party system.   I hope the Republicans make the wise choice.


  1. I live in another country but i can tell by the above comments that the author is a democrate. Saying that Romney told lies--did not state what what "lies" he supposedly told. While on the other hand had nothing to say about the president's lies about the circumstances of the death of an American ambassador. The president said during the debates that a number of facts put out by Mr. Romney were "wrong", even "lies"yet after the debates when the facts were checked--it was the president who was WRONG!! No correction there. I feel sorry for the US citizens who now have this president for another 4 years. May GOD help them. This is a weak president who bows to other nations leaders. ShFor sSham was only electe because he has so many pame on him!!! With so many people on food stamps and unemployment so high what hope do the American people have with Obama in charge?? He wants to raise taxes on the minority who are actually paying taxes--I am sure you will see those who can leave the US with the money they have worked so hard to earn for their families not for the spendthrift government of Obama.

  2. I live in what used to be AMERICA and let me tell you 99% of the media here is liberal, lies, coverups and anything else they nhave to do to re-elect the most horrible leader this country has ever known. This election was not won, it was stolen with fixed voting machines, illegal voters, no ID voters, straglers off the street given cell phones to vote for obama and so many other disgusting things I could not tell you all of them in four hours. Not one peep of truth from the media. America has been had big time and two times in a row. God help us and please pray for this great country.