I’m reviving my blog to make a couple of comments about the
election and because I’ll be traveling again soon, always a good time for
posting. Some of these are comments
I’ve already posted on Facebook et al.
Here we go:
1. I don’t
buy that this is the triumph of a new, more tolerant, racially diverse
America. It looks more like the triumph
of more tolerant and diverse voters who were targeted by a very well-organized
campaign that had a lot of money and no other race to worry about for a long
time. There’s nothing wrong with
that—it’s the same as Bush did in 2004 (and about the same margin of victory)--but
I don’t think it qualifies as a major realignment.
2. I’m skeptical about the calls for the Republican
Party to “move back to the middle.”
They have two very specific problems, with Hispanics and younger voters,
that have to be addressed in a systematic way rather than by a vaguely moderate
approach. A Chris Christie or Marco
Rubio, who came across as culturally conservative but tolerant/nonjudgmental
about diverse lifestyles (and in Rubio’s case speaking pretty good Spanish)
would make more sense than another vaguely MOR nice guy. This also applies to Senate candidates where
the GOP performance is actually more disappointing than the Presidential race.
3. I think—and I’m not alone in this—that the big
loser is the political system. Anyone
who paid half attention can see that the campaign was nasty, insubstantial, and
frequently trivial. For the second time
in the last three cycles, it appears to have been decided more by selective
turnout than a real effort to convince undecided. This is before you even get to the issues of
campaign finance reform, gerrymandering, and so forth, many of which benefit
Republicans but are mostly bad for the overall system.
Politics are a little bit like sex with
elections providing the metaphorical climax (one speaks of the “morning after”
politically for this reason). Afterwards at least one, and perhaps both,
parties feel elated or at least relieved that it’s over. But as in a relationship that feeling can
prevent one from examining longer-term problems with the relationship that are
no less important to its long-term health.
I would like to think that the 2012 election will be different. I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.