Thursday, November 08, 2012

welcome back and thoughts on the election

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       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.