My Thoughts During Election Night

Before the Election Results Started Coming In 


I’m curious about how likely others think Romney could win.
I remember that earlier in the campaign season all of the MSM experts kept stating that no recent president was ever re-elected with that high of unemployment numbers. That seemed mostly irrelevant to me for I saw a different dynamic going on. I predicted long before even the campaigns began that the election was Obama’s to lose. I still see it that way.
The real issue has been how willing Obama was to fight for it. I must admit that Obama hasn’t consistently fought hard in his campaign, especially in the first debate. The election would never have even gotten this close if Obama hadn’t started out of the gate so slow.As an independent, it is hard to get too excited about the whole thing. But it is fascinating from a larger historical perspective. We are in the middle of a major shift right now such as with racial demographics which is why the GOP has been so motivated to push voter suppression.
Does anyone think the GOP attempt at voter suppression has been successful enough to have a significant impact? Who feels Obama should have campaigned harder against this voter suppression and focused on it in his speeches?

The swing states typically are Midwestern states.
This is the same regional dynamic that has existed since the Civil War. The North eternally has to maintain the Midwest to keep the darkness of the South at bay. We Midwesterners live on the geographic boundary of ideologies and of cultures.
The Southern aristocracy didn’t like American democracy when they sought to first force slave laws onto the entire country and, failing that, when they sought to secede. The Southern aristocracy still doesn’t like American democracy. There is good reason for this. Their continued power is dependent on it.

If all Americans or even just all Southerners voted, the present Republican party would never win a single election. The large part of the population that doesn’t usually vote, especially in the South, votes Democratic when they do vote. If political participation increased, the South would be solid Blue. That simple fact scares shitless the Republican ruling elite and, sadly, scares many white people.

The saddest part about being a liberal American is knowing that you are part of the majority. On many key issues, the average American are surprisingly liberal. Polls showed, for example, that most Americans were dissatisfied with Obamacare because it wasn’t far enough to the left.
Why this is sad is that we have a conservative political system. It was intentionally created this way because the founding fathers were afraid of the lower classes which is why after the founding of the country only something like 8% of the population had the right to vote. This is why the electoral college was created. Most Americans don’t understand this. Americans don’t vote for the president. Rather, Americans vote for the people who vote for the president.
The problem with the electoral college system is that, because of demographics, it empowers the groups that have maintained power throughout US history. Low population states tend to be rural and rural areas tend to be conservative and white. Because of the electoral college, the vote of white conservatives is worth more than the votes of typical urban residents: minorities, liberals, feminists, gays, environmentalists, etc.
Along with political disenfranchisement, this is why the left has had to work harder to reach out to more Americans while conservatives can focus narrowly. If every American’s vote was counted equally, we would regularly have presidents far to the left of Obama.

After the Election Results Started Coming In

I heard the best comment tonight on Public radio.
They were discussing the Republican strategy of going for the white vote. One of them said that Republicans were hoping the white vote would be a winning strategy at least through this election before whites shift toward their position as the new minority. He then added, “The future came early.”
I’m glad to hear it. I’ve seen this shift coming since 2000. Republicans have been using a strategy that isn’t sustainable. And by doing so, they turned the growing minority majority and an entire new generation against their party. In time, they will come to realize what a steep price they have paid.
Will Republicans finally wake up to reality now that the future has slapped them in the face? They attempted voter suppression and now they’ve been publicly shamed. Last election, the youth and blacks gave victory to Obama. Now, women and Latinos have shown the GOP what power they have. The tide has turned.
I remember when I first heard about Romney picking Ryan. I instantly realized that Republicans were repeating the same strategy from 2008. They put forward a bland white professional politician and then paired him with a Tea Party right-winger. Since it didn’t work in 2008, why did they think it would work in 2012?

As an Independent, I don’t care about the partisan politics. I’m still not a fan of Obama or a supporter of the Democratic Party. No matter which of the two parties wins, the third parties I love always lose.
But in the end, I’m just another typical liberal who wants everyone to get along. Republicans have made clear that they don’t want to get along. Romney stated in no uncertain terms that he despise 47% of Americans. Other Republicans have said equally disgusting comments from claiming legitimate rape to dismissing minorities.
I don’t want to hate on Republicans. I don’t want conservatives to go away. Rather, I want them to the table as equals treating others as equals. I want to see them chastened and humbled. The right can get very ugly when they get full of themselves. Nonetheless, their voice matters as everyone’s voice matters in a democracy. I want them to understand this.
Republicans have a choice. They can learn a lesson and change their ways. Or else they quickly find themselves heading toward a fate of third party status… which is how the Republican Party began.
I understand that Republicans are afraid. I want them to know everything is going to be all right. America is a strong country. It is diversity that makes America strong. I hope they know that there always will be an open invitation to them to join the rest of Americans. We are all in this together.
Republicans hear this: Liberals, minorities and poor people aren’t your enemy. We are your potential allies in turning this country toward the future.

I’m constantly wondering what would allow conservatives to let go of their fears.
Obama is a socialist? Comparison shows that Obama holds the positions and promotes the policies that have been typical of moderate Republicans for much of the last century.
Democrats stole the election? Nonpartisan research shows voter fraud is extremely rare.
The fears of conservatives have nothing to do with reality or facts. They create things to fear and then they go about fearing their fearful creations. They don’t fear anything specific. They just fear anything that is new and different. They fear change. The fear they have never goes away because it simply shapeshifts into something else.
It’s sad. I understand fear. We all deal with fears. The world can be a scary place. It’s not like us on the left are living in a leftist utopia where all our dreams come true. We on the left fear growing tyranny more than even conservatives.
The difference is that conservatives have a way of getting stuck in a mindset of fear. Liberals can get pulled into fear like anyone else and it brings out the worse in liberals, but it isn’t where liberals like to dwell. Optimism is the natural resting point of the liberal predisposition. Liberals are curious about the new and tend to get more excited about the possibility of change.
Even conservatives are capable of thinking outside of fear. During economic good times, conservatives can become quite open and accepting of the world around them. But such moments don’t tend to last long and so the conservative never remains for long outside of fear. There is always another thing to fear just around the corner.But does it have to be that way?

We humans are capable of doing so much when we work together. All of civilization is a collective achievement. On the other hand, when we don’t work together, humans are vicious and destructive. Conservatives tend to only be inspired toward collective action when they wish to fight some perceived enemy and even then it isn’t really collective action so much as it is emotional groupthink, their group against everyone else, just an extension of self-interest.

What needs to change to help conservatives to trust democracy and believe in the American Dream again? What would help them to see strangers as potential friends and allies instead of enemies? What would help them to see all Americans as real Americans, to see all humans as worthy humans? What would help them to believe that win/win solutions are possible and desirable?

2 thoughts on “My Thoughts During Election Night

  1. As I’ve said before, conservatives are stereotyping and dehumanizing whole groups of people. The proven cure for this is to get them more in personal contact with the people they are persecuting, so that they have an opportunity to empathize with them. Specifically, I don’t know how this can be accomplished. It probably has to be an individual rather than a group effort. Most conservatives are unwilling to express atypical behavior when other conservatives are watching. Notice how they gang up on any conservative politician that attempts to compromise with “the enemy.”

    We have an ex-Governor here in Florida, Charlie Crist. He was a run-of-the mill conservative who blew in the wind, governed by polls (of conservatives, not all Floridians.) He decided to run for the US Senate, but instead of supporting him, the state GOP (undoubtedly pressured by JEB Bush) decide to run someone else, a Bush surrogate. Crist had done no wrong from a conservative point of view, but all of the sudden they turned on him like a pack of wolves. So he ran as an Independent, and spent the last few months of his governorship vetoing every single bill the GOP Legislature sent across his desk. He split the vote with the Democrat candidate and the Bush stand-in (Marco Rubio) is now Senator. Meanwhile Charlie Crist has been fundraising for Obama in 2012.

    Lots of Democrats here in Florida don’t feel too warm and fuzzy towards Charlie Crist as a newly minted DEM. Probably because there is more than a hint of political opportunism in his “conversion.” But I always say we need to welcome this guy unreservedly, because as time goes by, more and more conservatives are going to find themselves in the same position as Crist. We need to let them know that there’s an alternative to conservatism. I don’t think we need to worry so much about how to get along with conservatives as we need to figure out how to turn more of them into liberals. Think Colin Powell. Think Chris Christie. GOP taking you for granted? Come on over!

    Yes, I think convsevative ideas deserve a place at the table. If we ever are in danger of creating a communist or socialist state along the lines of the USSR, then we will need to yank our government back to the right. But as someone once said “Bush ran the ball across the field, all the way down to the 20 yard line, and now conservatives whine and cry for balance anytime Democrats try to move it back even a yard in the other direction.” Or something like that. Before we worry about hurting the feelings of conservatives, we need to get the government back in line with the progressive policies that the majority of Americans (absent massive propaganda efforts like those directed at the ACA) have repeatedly been shown to support. I think we’re almost evenly divided into DEMs and GOPs, but when the party identification aspect is removed, when the sheep is taken out of the herd and allowed to think for him- or herself, a lot of GOPs are going to side with the liberals on many issues.

    Wisconsin was an interesting case this election. It almost always votes DEM. How could they elect a far-right ideologue like Scott Walker (twice) or send Paul Ryan to Congress repeatedly? It all gets back to that dehumanizing concept. You create a loyal herd of motivated voters by using fear and lies about groups of people that the target demographic knows next to nothing about. It takes a lot of money to create that kind of ignorance. Get the corporate money out of politics and the media will stop pandering to the false notion of “fair and balanced” and start reporting the truth again. Maybe that will be enough to put groups of people in touch with one another’s cultures and problems and put an end to the dehumanzation that makes the conservative political machine so effective, even when their policies are unpopular or even against the best interests of the conservative voter.

    And then there’s the evolutionary biology aspect. Can we as a species someday evolve to a new state where we instinctively view those who are different from us with curiosity and respect, rather than being so easily led into suspicion, hate and fear… 🙂

    • Your assessment is on target.

      I doubt that most conservatives want to feel trapped in a fearful worldview. But conservatives are easy to manipulate with fear. And there are people with wealth and power who know how to manipulate them.

      We for damn sure need to get big money out of politics. Even conservatives are beginning to wake up to the destructiveness of this.

      We also need to require that newsmedia outlets meets basic standards before beng allowed to have (and keep) an operating licence. This is how it works in other countries. Fox News has gone so far as to have won a case that concluded that they have the right to intentionally lie to and misinform the American people. This is why it is against the law for Fox News to operate in Canada.

      Making these changes will be hard and won’t happen until the problem gets obscenely out of control. A more immediate response is lessening the fear on an interpersonal level.

      I’ve found that with my parents what helps more than anything is respectfully listening to their worries and complaints. Fear creates a sense of isolation where people don’t feel heard. Listening is also important because mixed in with the media fearmongering there usually are valid concerns. Conservatives need liberals to give them another perspective which will help them disentangle the useful from the less than useful. Listening like this only works if it is genuine, not condescending.

      When someone is in a fearful state of mind, they lack a larger context to give them perspective. This is why conservatives are prone to fear. Polls show that conservatives rely mostly on mainstream news sources whereas liberals look at more alternative news. This is why liberals are so necessary. Simply bringing in alterrnative views can lessen some of the fear, even when it’s not obvious. Over time, offering perspective does have an impact.

      None of this means you shouldn’t argue with conservatives. I think it’s important to show conservatives they don’t have the sole right to outrage. It’s important to let the hot air out of their righteousness on occasion. They aren’t special. They need to be brought down to earth.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s