Wednesday, November 07, 2012

2012 election: Ground game and demographics

Another cycle through the nutty pageant of presidential politics.

President Obama won reelection by a margin of at least 60 electoral votes and by a popular vote margin of approximately 3 million.  The President's margin of victory was greater than most pollsters predicted (although Nate Silverman called it perfectly, state for state) and in defiance of the dead-certain conviction of deluded conservatives that they were going to win. 

NoteAs of this writing, Florida's 29 electoral votes are still up in the air, although President Obama holds a slight lead

President Obama and the Democrats did a lot to win this election with their ground game.  I saw and took part in the turnout machine right here in Portland, Oregon.  It was an impressive display of organization and coordination.  And Oregon wasn't even a battleground state!  I'm sure the machines in Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, and Florida were even more effective.  Labor unions in the Rust Belt states lent their support as well, spurred on by the union-busting efforts of Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio.  That's the kind of support that the Republicans can't counter, even with all that plutocrat money

And the Democrats were amply assisted by the the Republican party.  Take a look at these numbers:
  • 60% of voters under the age of 30 went for Obama 
  • 93% of black voters went for Obama
  • 75% of hispanic voters went for Obama
  • 55% of women voters went for Obama
What do those numbers say to you?  I'll tell you what they say to me.  They say that all the foul rhetoric --all the racist dog-whistles, the homophobia, the misogyny, the ignorance --all that stuff that the GOP threw around throughout the campaign came flying back into their faces.  

Even as recently as four years ago, Republicans could sustain those kinds of margins and still have a shot at winning a national election.  But those days are over.  As every pundit, prognosticator, and casual observer will tell you, the demographic makeup of the United States is changing.  It's becoming less white.  Unless the GOP can find a way to appeal to women, to young people, and to racial minorities, they will never again win the White House.

So as much as this was a victory for the Democrats and their magnificent ground game, it was also a resounding defeat for Tea Party conservatism.

Democrats will come out of this election emboldened.  And well they should.  The coalition they've built has a bright future ahead of it. 

Republicans, on the other hand... I'd like to think that they will use this defeat to grow, to find a way to ditch the frothing racists and the tongues-speakers and the xenophobes in their party.  But then again, if they did that, would there be any Republicans left?

Let's enjoy our victory, Democrats.  Let's enjoy our victory, progressives.  We walloped them.  Think they'll learn anything from it?

Tomorrow, I'll post about how my ballot matched up with the results of the election.  

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