With a near-record level of Latino votes going to Democrats and an 18 point spread between men and women (with as much as 55% of female votes going to Obama), plus major national shifts towards the legalization of pot and marriage equality and a historic number of women serving in the Senate (including the first openly gay Senator), what we saw Tuesday night was a defining moment for our nation that will be difficult, if not imposible, to roll back.
The nation repeatedly voted, in race after race, in favor of science, math, unionization, financial reform and real personal freedom. Super Pacs spent hundreds of millions on their conservative horses but got less than a 14% return on their dollar once all the races were run. The conservative media bubble failed profoundly at reporting the truth of the candidates election prospects throughout, while liberal media outlets like the New York Times, The Atlantic and MSNBC consistently nailed the outcome dead on for weeks ahead of the contest. A highlighting of the Republican “information disadvantage”, as one blogger put it. The Republicans were so misinformed about their chances of winning that a shocked Donald Trump, after leaving the Romney campaign party early, decried on Twitter, “This election’s a sham!” And, “This is not Democracy!” And “Let’s start a revolution!” (Yes Donald, you start a revolution from your high-rise penthouse). As if democracy is only in place when Trump’s candidate wins. By Wednesday morning Donald’s tweets had been deleted. But Bill O’Reilly joined the fray, saying that America had become a nation of people “who want stuff” and that Obama would give it to them for free, a remark so slyly racist in its comparison between the white males who voted for Romney and the rest of America that O’reilly must not even be bright enough to clue in to the implications of his own bullshit. The conservatives still have the narrative wrong, even in the hard light of day.
But let’s be honest. Obama won by less this time around (which can be expected – the swell of enthusiasm around the 2008 election was historic for multiple reasons). Though Obama took eight of the nine swing states, it was a hard fought battle in every one. Yes, he won both the electoral and popular vote, but the nation remains divided. The political conversation continues to be mostly unproductive and the war for a collective national identity rages on.
The only question of the election that remains is how will the republican party respond to it? Will they tilt even more towards the right and away from the principles that 51% of Americans voted for? Will they re-evaluate their outreach strategies to minorities (less and less an accurate description of Brown America) and women? Or will they simply stay the same obstructionist party we’ve seen for the last four years in the hopes that 2016 will cycle back their way?
I won’t make any predictions, I’ll say only this. I know many republicans who are sane and rational. They possess a different fiscal philosophy than me, but at least I understand where they’re coming from. But for those republicans who are afraid that somehow homosexuality, brown people, healthcare for all, weed, environmentalism and women having control over their own bodies are going to make this country less great and free instead of more great and free… well, I can see why their souls are crushed right now…
Because it’s simply not their America anymore.
And, personally, I don’t think it ever will be again.