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Tag Archives: 2012

Small Dip Seen In Unemployment Numbers, First Drop Since January
As has been widely reported, the face of the American electorate is changing. This has never been so well exemplified as it was on November 6, 2012, when a majority of Democrats across the country and across the broad spectrum of elected office were swept to victory on a tide of minorities, women, and special interests that segments of the GOP had either offended, marginalized, or persecuted – or all of the above. Their success has been recognized as marking a new era in American politics, as the broad base on which politicians depend shifts and teems with new life and newfound influence. The demographic ground is shifting tectonically under our feet, and intends to continue its current trends, according to NPR:

Paul Taylor, director of the Social & Demographic Trends project at the Pew Research Center in Washington, says the country is on a trajectory to become a majority nonwhite nation by the early 2040s. Today it’s 63 percent white; by 2020 it will be about 60 percent white.

The forecasts made by Taylor are based on immigration trends, birthrates and mortality rates. “As the complexion of the population changes,” he says, “so too will the complexion of the electorate. In 2012 it was 28 percent nonwhite, a record. By 2020 it will be more than 30 percent nonwhite.”

This may not seem like a big shift, until you realize that Obama won the presidency by a 3.7 percentage point margin over Romney. Single points can make a huge difference in electoral politics. From the Pew Research Center:

The minority groups that carried President Obama to victory yesterday by giving him 80% of their votes are on track to become a majority of the nation’s population by 2050, according to projections by the Pew Research Center. They currently make up 37% of the population, and they cast a record 28% of the votes in the 2012 presidential election, according to the election exit polls.

By 2050, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population could be as high as 29%, up from 17% now. The black proportion of the population is projected to rise slightly to 13%, while the Asian share is projected to increase to 9% from its current 5%. Non-Hispanic whites, 63% of the current population, will decrease to half or slightly less than half of the population by 2050.

These minority groups gave eighty percent of their vote to Obama, and have traditionally voted Democratic in similar numbers before Obama came along. This means that a drastic increase in their numbers over the next couple decades provides a drastic increase in the Democratic base, and in votes for Democratic candidates (and depending on how Obama’s plans for immigration reform pan out, the shift could have an even greater impact). That is, unless Republicans can reform their image in an effective and timely manner, and shed or at least marginalize the more extreme elements that make them unappealing to, well, everyone but themselves. The party of old, white and ostensibly self-made men is severely lacking in minorities, and perhaps cripplingly so (just take a look at the famous national convention photos of the two parties side-by-side; the Dems are an array of color, while the Reps are indistinguishable from one another). A major overhaul is needed. They need a leader to do this, and whoever emerges as the face of the New Republican Party could very well be their nominee in 2016.

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As a way of saying sorry for the unannounced Christmas/New Year’s hiatus – for those who noticed that I was, in fact, on hiatus, and experienced any sort of emotional distress or spiritual unmooring because of it – I offer you this comic, by the political satirist known as Tom Tomorrow, and reposted here from Daily Kos. It contains much more astute political observation than I could have given you.

TMW2013-01-02colorKOS

…and a happy New Year!

It turns out Republicans are in a pretty bad way. Worse than I thought. How bad? Well there was a certain election recently that went sufficiently badly for them that a disturbingly large contingent seem to be stubbornly continuing to deny reality (I also can’t help but mention that “republicans deny reality” popped up as a frequently used search term on Google, before I could finish typing it). And it put a canned ham-like face on the problem, while bringing Rational People the most entertaining and psychically satisfying few moments of television we’re likely to witness in our lifetimes. But the disturbingly large contingent had been denying reality since well before the election.

But no, I’m referring to a new Pew Research Center poll – which actually allows us to answer the question of ‘how bad’ quantifiably – released today that describes an American public increasingly frustrated with how the GOP has been conducting itself. The high notes are that Obama’s job approval is at 55%, up from 44% in January, and the highest it’s been since May 2011 when he announced the death of Osama bin Laden; and only 32% say Republican leaders are making a serious effort to reach an agreement on the budget deficit, while 57% say they aren’t, and 11% don’t know. 55% say Obama is making a serious effort. Pew asked some interesting questions and got some interesting statistics, such as approval for raising income taxes on incomes over 250,000 in order to reduce the national debt and deficit – 69% approved. 77% disapproved of reducing funding for education, and 58% disapproved of reducing funding “to help lower-income Americans.” All good signs.

Greg Sargent of The Washington Post has drawn some even more interesting and infinitely more important conclusions from this poll, and the election, and the GOP’s rejection of reality, should he turn out to be right. And from what I’ve seen, he very well may be, which means the GOP is in a pretty bad way.

mitt-romney.gi.top

Romney’s loss on November 6th came as a relief to many people, myself included. Unfortunately for him, the judgement passed on him, and more importantly, the decision not to vote for him, was not entirely dependent on his opinions or actions. In fact, it wasn’t even mostly dependent on his opinons or actions. For me, and for many people, the scariest thing about Mitt Romney was the party he represented.

Romney’s policies are one thing, and there is plenty of fault I could and did find with them, but that largely was not the issue I voted on. In the current political climate, I thought it would be immensely damaging to the country to put someone in the Oval Office who could be at all beholden to the current Republican party, as radical and unstable as it has become, and far more damaging than anything Obama was or is likely to do. Romney, the former moderate governor of Massachusetts (and I would have been a lot more likely to vote for him if he’d stuck to those positions) flipped hard right in order to win the Republican primaries – particularly in states like Iowa and Texas – by changing positions to portray himself as “severely conservative,” in order to appease the increasingly radical Republican party (with its increasingly relevant and powerful fringe). Whatever his motivation was, this sets up a precedent for doing whatever he had to do – appeasing whoever he needed to – in order to win. A Romney win would have provided a conduit, if you will, for the radicals to possibly have influence over the Oval Office. This, in essence, is the main reason he lost my vote, and, I believe, the votes of many, many other moderates. The allegations that Romney would simply “rubberstamp the Tea Party agenda” – of which there were many – rang too true. As National Review columnist Ramesh Ponnuru put it, “Romney was not a drag on the Republican party. The Republican party was a drag on him.” This, to me, is the number one reason it is good Romney did not win the presidency.

Tax Day Protest

Many people across the political spectrum – myself included – have spent the past few weeks hoping, surmising, and even expecting that one result of this election, perhaps the most important result of this election, is that it may have delivered to the right a wake-up call. That the drumming they received in state houses, legislatures, on the Hill, and in the White House would bring about some new thinking, that more prescient members may come around to the idea that they must as a whole stop doing so much to appease the radical fringe – currently in the form of the Tea Party (one lone but germaine example of which is here, and the subject is also covered quite well in David Corn’s book Showdown) – and halt these elements from dragging the whole party further right, which continues to alienate voters. That they may decide in order to win elections, in order to continue to influence events and remain relevant – and in order to stave off the emergence of a third party, as has been suggested in some circles – they might need to go after voters other than upper-class white men (if there’s one thing we should have learned from this election, it is the importance of minorities). They might decide, “it’s time for Republican elected leaders to stand up and to repudiate this nonsense [of the extreme right wing], and to repudiate it directly,” says Republican strategist Steve Schmidt (on Salon.com). They might think, as Newt Gingrich put so eloquently:

“For the conservative movement and the Republican Party to succeed in the future (and while they are not identical the two are inextricably bound together) we will have to learn the lessons of 2012. An intellectually honest and courageous Republican Party has nothing to fear from the current situation.”

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