The future belongs to us

Don’t take more from a lesson that it has to teach. In 2004, many people thought they were viewing the start of a long Republican ascendency. By 2006, this seemed false and by 2008, pundits were sure of the opposite. 2010 saw a strong right swing. This election, president Obama was elected by a smaller margin than in 2008 (a rare occurrence); Republicans still control the House and Democrats are weaker in the Senate. But Democrats think that the future belongs to them.

This is because of two factors. One is the increase of numbers of minority voters, who tend to vote Democrat, and the number of young people, who tend to vote Democratic.

Let's deal with the youth vote first. Inexperienced young voters tend to vote liberal and have for a long time. But after they get steady jobs and responsibilities, they often change their minds. I have lived long enough to see this in my family and friends and myself. This is not only political. Today's old people behave a lot more like their parents than their children. Recall that this generation of old people where the rebels of the 1960s, who were supposed to represent such a radical change.

Liberal think this time is different because of demographics. The white "traditional Americans" are literally dying out, replaced by immigrants and minorities. This is also not a new trend. "Americans" have worried about being replaced by foreigners since 1776, each time fearing (or hoping) that the new waves of immigrants would transform the United States. They have. But America has remained America. Immigrants adopted traditional American values stronger than some of those they "replaced."

Most of America's white population is descended at least in part from immigrants who arrived in the U.S. a century after the country's founding. Pundits tells us that today's immigrants are different, but they forget history. An immigrant arriving from Poland in 1912 was a lot more "foreign" than one arriving from Mexico or China today. The Pole was colored white, but he would have had much less familiarity with American ways, probably never heard English spoken, had no connection with American popular culture and no accurate concept of America in general. It is unlikely any immigrant to the U.S. today has never seen an American movie, never heard English or never tasted Coca-Cola.

The new immigrants of a century past flocked to big cities, where they became reliable parts of Democratic machines. My immigrant grandparents didn't know how to vote anything but Democrat. I mean literally. My father told me that Democrats were the party of the working man and nobody we knew voted Republican, ever, at least they would not admit it. Today the white working class is mostly Republican. The grandchildren of these poor immigrants are now called the establishment.

I think we will see the same dynamic. My observation is that today's Latinos are very similar to Poles of a generation ago. They are hard-working, many want to own their businesses and they hold traditional values. Like to Poles of generations past, they vote Democratic. What they will do in the next generation we don't know. But if you had projected trends of 1912 or even 1962 into the "future" i.e. today, you would never have predicted the rise of Ronald Reagan or even the continued existence of the Republican party. Conservative ideas were doomed by demography.

Re Latinos and immigration - supporting immigration reform. as been the trump card for Democrats. It will soon be unavailable, overtaken by events. Birth rates in Mexico are dropping like a stone. Soon there will be little demographic pressure from that direction and this dries up, immigration issues will matter less and less for them. Without the constant refreshing, Latinos will integrate into the mainstream American community and within a generation nobody will much notice, anymore than people notice the 54 million German Americans that the 2000 census found still out there.

Look at the current champions of conservative ideas. Many are first or at best second generation conservatives. I doubt that the grandfathers or guys Charles Krauthammer Bill Kristol or Bill O'Reilly ever voted Republican. Recall that the great Ronald Reagan was once a very strong Democrat; he changed so can others.

Conservatism in America is not like conservatism in Europe or other places. America has always been a dynamic place. Conservatives generally support the free markets, which is the greatest engine of change ever created. This is how "conservatism" reinvents itself. It is true that the old ones die out, but new ones are created. It is not something you inherit from your parents. Conservatism is something you choose when you become an adult after you have tried lots of other things.

I believe that the future will be more decentralized decision making and the governments will have less and less ability to control things. This is not a choice we are consciously making, but rather it is determined by technological and social conditions. The direction is actually not Democratic or Republican, but it is more in the libertarian direction. Both parties will need to adapt to this change. Far from being the wave of the future, the evident resurgence of bigger government espoused by the Obama campaign will likely to be last hurrah of a disappearing system.

The future belongs to the American people, as it always has. As bill Clinton said more than ten years ago, the era of big government is over. We really cannot choose to bring it back. The future will depend more on individual initiative and people working in ad-hoc groups and voluntary associations. I am not sure if we should call that liberal or conservative. I will just call it the way it will be.

Posted by Christine & John at November 9, 2012 5:57 AM
Comments
Comment #356838

The two opposite ideologies are here to stay in America.
The pundits, wrong as they could be before the election, are back making predictions after the election as if their opinion is useful. It’s absurd. They can’t be trusted.

I’m excited for Obama’s victory but I’ve tried not to gloat too much. I can’t help it though when it comes to certain outspoken folks on this site. We know who they are. But it was a close election that would have shifted had a few key events gone differently. It may not look that close historically but those of us watching the polls know the shifts that propelled Obama to near landslide territory in the Electoral College shifted largely in the last few weeks of the face.

Many on the right are still in the grief stage about this election and I’m starting to see some of my conservative friends rationalize this election not as one about demographics but one where President Obama stole the election. It’s sad. This isn’t 2000 where Florida was in chaos and hinged only 500 votes or so. I digress. I’m trying to go easy on them until they get past the grief. We invest emotionally in these elections and we believe the things we want to believe and then the shock of the loss sets in.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at November 9, 2012 7:45 AM
Comment #356839

Adam

I think it was mostly in the statistical tie. Had the election been held the week before or after it could have been different. That is why I don’t think we should take too many lessons.

Compared to the results of 2008, the country’s leadership is a bit more to the right, not the left.

In any case, I do not believe that significant Federal expansion is possible, no matter how many people vote for it.

IMO - as I wrote, the future is more libertarian than either mainstream party will fit in. We the people have been empowered by technologies and organizations. We won’t be going back to the old big government.

Posted by: C&J at November 9, 2012 8:10 AM
Comment #356840

CJ: “Inexperienced young voters tend to vote liberal and have for a long time. But after they get steady jobs and responsibilities, they often change their minds.”

I would have to agree, in general. I voted Democratic in presidential elections starting with George McGovern, and switched to George HW Bush after my first child was born. That’s not to say that having children is a reason to vote Republican, just that I had become more conservative as I got older. I have an older friend who is one of the most honest, fair and gentlemanly person you could meet, who is self described and unrepentent socialist, as an example that some people don’t change.

AD: I was disappointed, but not in grief. The Republic will survive just fine. As a former “wild eyed liberal”, I hold many libertarian views, especially on social issues. If the Republican party can “get over” trying to live everyone’s life for them, and adopt a reasoned, reality based stance on immigration, I belive they can present themselves to young, immigrant and non-white voters as a party that can offer more in the long run than the statist shift we are now seeing. We’ll see if that happens. If it doesn’t, then they will nor be a big player in the future. The issue that I have, and I think many currently young people will have in the future, with the Democratic party is that their governing philosophy is to make things fair in results (equal outcomes), rather than in opportunity. That’s fine at the third grade level, but stops working after a while when you realize you are getting stuck with the check.

The WSJ had version of the “red state/blue state” map a day or so ago. This one was done by County. It was interesting to see how few places goegraphically were “blue”, even in solidly blue states on the left coast, mid-west and northeast.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at November 9, 2012 8:12 AM
Comment #356841

Adam: I’d add that I was actually hoping for a divided government like we currently have, but one where the Republicans got the Senate as well as the House. This would put us back to a similar situation as the mid-1990s with Bill Clinton. I don’t know if Obama would have had either the skill or philosophical will to “triangulate” like Bill, though.

The Republicans managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the Senate races, by runnning idiots with 19th century viewpoints.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at November 9, 2012 8:21 AM
Comment #356843

Weather or not the Latinos of the future vote Republican or not depends on how many go on the government dole. The more folks dependent on the government the more Democrat votes there will be. The fewer on the take the more Republican votes there will be.
There was a day when the Democrats were the party of the working class. That’s not true anymore. It’s now the party of the the far left fringe and welfare class. And the farther left the better the Democrats like them.
This doesn’t mean that the Republican party is now the party of the working class though. It’s still the party of big business and the far right fringe. And the bigger the business and the farther right the better they like them.
In the mean time it’s the working class and the poor folks that are getting the shaft.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 9, 2012 9:58 AM
Comment #356844

Jack,

The future doesn’t belong to anybody, or any ideology in particular.
It belongs to those that can lead, and those with ideas, and if these pages are any indication, it sure as hell isn’t going to be anybody from the far right.

Sure, we have challenges ahead, but the scorched earth policies of the right are not the solution.

“Conservatism is something you choose when you become an adult after you have tried lots of other things.”

Unfortunately conservatives need to work out that whole “RINO” thing. Romney was way too “Northeast liberal” for the bulk of the Tea Partiers, and that is why why you can’t blame Obama for Romney’s loss.
You don’t win national elections by running the least objectionable candidate.
With all of Obama’s problems, either real or percieved, Romney should have mopped the floor with him. In the end we found out Romney stood for nothing, and that’s why he lost.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 9, 2012 10:14 AM
Comment #356846

Mike in Tampa
I would have liked to see the Senate go Republican too. Not that I’m a Republican but I because would like to see a budget get passed sometime in the near future.But then the President would have to submit one for it to get passed.
I don’t think Obama is either capable of, or willing to work with the Republicans. For him compromise is ‘my way or the highway’.
The Republicans will have to cave in order to avoid the ‘physical cliff’. Then Obama will blame them if it doesn’t work.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 9, 2012 10:50 AM
Comment #356847
I believe that the future will be more decentralized decision making and the governments will have less and less ability to control things. This is not a choice we are consciously making, but rather it is determined by technological and social conditions. The direction is actually not Democratic or Republican, but it is more in the libertarian direction. Both parties will need to adapt to this change.

I tend to agree C&J but the end result isn’t really libertarian it is corporate nation states IMHO. The question is more of the loss of democracy and is that what we really want. It also seems to me your views on the issue are not global but national and perhaps a bit…well conservative.

The things you guys refer to as big government such as single payer health insurance works all over the world for most people. We hear the conservative mantra of “big government” being the problem but without regulation we find ourselves a small nation, as in reduced to a humiliating position, mired in debt. Conservatism has got us to this point.

A problem we have with conservatism in this country is the absolute belief in the free market instead of the fair market. We actually believe the national interest is the same as the corporate interest despite all evidence to the contrary. We cater to the rich here at the expense of everyone else since the nation has aged and turned more conservative over the past 40 years. What has it got us but divided and small.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 9, 2012 11:32 AM
Comment #356848

Statistical tie? Obama won an electoral landslide and by almost 3 million votes. That’s not a tie. The total votes for the House of Reps went democratic by more than 500,000 votes. If it wasn’t for GOP Gerrymandering the HOR would be a lot different, maybe not in Dem hands but not the status quo. The Dems now have 55 votes in the Senate. That was not a statistical tie. Also, the hardcore right wing senate candidates with the exception of Kansas all lost and lost pretty badly. I’m not saying this is a mandate for liberalism, because IMHO elections are not as much a mandate for something as it is against something. It was against extreme conservative ideology and for the possibility of cooperation. Say what you want, Obama has been more than willing to meet the Republicans half way since he was first elected. It has been the GOP that has refused to budge. 2010 was seen as a Tea Party mandate and this year proved that it wasn’t.

The GOP is not showing any signs of a willingness to compromise again and are drawing their typical hard lines about not raising taxes and this mythical idea that we can increase revenue significantly by closing loopholes. I don’t want Obama to ram through a liberal budget and let us go over the fiscal cliff but that is preferable to caving in and letting the conservatives balance the budget solely on the backs of the working poor and middle class while giving the rich a pass. The Dems need to bring Medicare and Medicaid to the table for their part. Not Social Security since it is not part of our budget deficit though it needs to be fixed. The only thing that should be off the table is privatization since that has zero to do with solvency and everything to do with ideology.

Demographics is going to be a big problem for the Republicans if they continue on a hard right trajectory. There are 60,000 Hispanic kids turning 18 every month. That’s about 4 million over the next four years. Losing 70% of that vote will be devastating. Texas will likely be a swing state in the next 6-8 years and the GOP can’t afford to be defending those 38 electoral votes along with Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, etc They need to moderate their message to at least get back to the 40% of the Hispanic vote that Bush got. This whole, folks get more conservative as they grow older thing is speculation and ain’t gonna happen if the extreme right wing is still running the show. The GOP has run off most of the moderates, your best future candidate Jeb Bush doesn’t seem to feel at home in his party. They have demonized Chris Christie, the other best bet. Another clown show of a primary where they give voice to “people” like Donald Trump, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann is gonna mean 4 more years of Dem control of the White House and that will help to complete the pendulum swing to the left and end the 30 year run for the conservatives that Reagan started. These shifts do tend to run in 30 year cycles. We do need conservative, liberal, and moderate voices in the solutions to our problems. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard and the best solutions need to be adopted. It’s time for everyone to grow up and get off their high horse … except in Colorado and Washington where it’s now ok to have a high horse :)

Posted by: tcsned at November 9, 2012 11:42 AM
Comment #356849
Conservatism is something you choose when you become an adult after you have tried lots of other things.

These guys seem to make the case that conservatism chooses you, as does most diseases of the mind. Or perhaps it is the nature of those that were bullies thugs and authoritarians in their early life to continue with the conservative mindset.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/murray-energy-obama-layoffs-cut-jobs_n_2100172.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/david-las-vegas-ceo-fired-workers_n_2093369.html?ref=topbar

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/09/peter-morrison-texas-divorce_n_2100165.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

Posted by: j2t2 at November 9, 2012 11:46 AM
Comment #356857

tcsned

Statistical tie? Obama won an electoral landslide and by almost 3 million votes. That’s not a tie. The total votes for the House of Reps went democratic by more than 500,000 votes. If it wasn’t for GOP Gerrymandering the HOR would be a lot different, maybe not in Dem hands but not the status quo. The Dems now have 55 votes in the Senate. That was not a statistical tie. Also, the hardcore right wing senate candidates with the exception of Kansas all lost and lost pretty badly. I’m not saying this is a mandate for liberalism, because IMHO elections are not as much a mandate for something as it is against something. It was against extreme conservative ideology and for the possibility of cooperation. Say what you want, Obama has been more than willing to meet the Republicans half way since he was first elected. It has been the GOP that has refused to budge. 2010 was seen as a Tea Party mandate and this year proved that it wasn’t.

Great post tcsned, and the above is well said. It’s amazing to me that the right is already trying to downplay the election by saying “Obama didn’t win by much.” It’s also hilarious to me that we’re already hearing lots of Republicans making the claim that “Obama doesn’t have a mandate!” — and this after they insisted that Bush had a mandate in 2004 with 286 electoral votes. It’s so absurd. Obama won with 303 electoral votes. If he wins Florida (looking likely), he’ll have won this election with 332 electoral votes. Romney got a total of 206.
Sorry, but winning as many states as Obama has should indeed be considered a landslide/mandate.

Jack, several of things you failed to address in your topic.
1. Rising Economic Inequality and decreasing Socio-economic Mobility (which is now far lower in America compared with other developed nations). These are things the GOP seems to have absolutely no answers for, and it is driving people (immigrant and non-immigrant) away from your party.
2. The GOP’s religious problems with Women and Gay People and the idea that we have rights. The Teaparty just received a serious blow in this election, while ‘Liberty and Justice for All’ won the day.
3. A huge number of young people have been rejecting strict, one-sided, one-party ideologies for long time now. Instead, they’re listening for real solutions to this nations problems. As these young people get older, they aren’t automatically turning into conservatives as you seem to be asserting. Many are becoming independent voters — and we’ve seen a rise of that designation for years now. Only some of these people may eventually decide that their political views lean more Conservative or Progressive. For that reason I think it would be wise for both parties not to get too cocky and sure of themselves when smarter and better answers are what these people are actually searching for.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 9, 2012 4:06 PM
Comment #356860

Adrienne,
I’m enjoying the denial. C&J wrote: “Republicans still control the House and Democrats are weaker in the Senate.” Apparently he is unaware the GOP lost seats in the House, and that the Democrats are NOT weaker in the Senate; in fact, the Democrats GAINED seats, and not only did they GAIN seats, they did it as they defended 23 seats, while the GOP only had to defend 10; and not only did they GAIN seats, the most conservative candidates lost; AND, not only did the most conservative & Tea Party candidates lose, they lost in states that should NEVER have gone to a Democrat, including MO & IA.

On November 1st I wrote: “In addition to NC, which might go to Romney, one other state remains too close to call: FL. In terms of the electoral college, that means Obama 303 votes, Romney 206. I’ll predict FL finally goes to Obama in a very close contest, making it 332 - 206.”

It would seem my ability to assess the situation is just a tad bit better than the conservatives. FL did, in fact, go to Obama, for a 332 - 206 result. As I wrote on that same date, the popular vote was NOT that close. Obama won with 50% of the electorate, by about 3 million votes.

C&J,
While the tone of your article is reasonable, you are out of step with your party. They’ve already made it clear, they’re doubling down.

According to conservatism’s leader, Rush Limbuagh, the problem with demographics is that all those minorities want “free stuff.” Now, my experience with people like the recent latino immigrants is NOT that they want “free stuff” and government benefits. They want to make money and support their families here, or send it back to their families in their home countries.

Most conservatives seem to think it’s not a question of issues, but of simply throwing up their hands on an amnesty for illegal immigrants, and running a candidate like Rubio, or putting blacks like Cain front and center. But they problem is with issues. Conservative takes on issues are poison, whether its women’s rights, concerns of blacks, gay rights, the opinions of the young on social issues & foreign wars, or issues pertaining to latinos.

The conventional wisdom is that two election cycles voted by young people the same way make a partisan for life.

What do you think has happened?

The GOP’s best bet is someone like McCain’s daughter. Of course, Limbaugh tried to drum her out of the Republican Party.

Finally, something else to comtemplate… If she’s up to it, Hillary Clinton will be the nominee in 2016, and she’ll win by a lot.

And the Supreme Court will be packed with liberal justices for the next 30 years.

Posted by: phx8 at November 9, 2012 5:46 PM
Comment #356863

I’m not moping around. What will be, will be. Maybe Obama and Boehner will pull a Clinton/Gingrich on us and actually get something done now that O won’t be running around campaigning like he has been the last two years.

The Repubs are going to cave on the tax breaks for the wealthy, and I think I heard Boehner saying he wanted major tax reform starting with plugging up loopholes. Could I have heard right?

The stuff will hit the fan when the true cost of Ocare kicks in and starts coming out of paychecks and at tax time.

The Repubs have plenty of young people of color who are about to start moving up the ladder. The next four years will give them time to mature. The party will grow more moderate and inclusive. If they don’t, they die.

Posted by: John Johnson at November 9, 2012 6:07 PM
Comment #356867

JJ,
I’d be all right if they ‘fall off the fiscal cliff.’ That cliff is more like a gently sloped driveway. The cuts would take 10 years to be fully implemented. My thinking is that it is the only way to cut defense spending. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire makes sense, and so does the payroll tax holiday or whatever it’s called.

The situation is similar to when Clinton first took office. This downturn was far worse than the one at the end of Bush 41’s term, and the recovery is more fragile; nevertheless, I think the talk of recession is simply wrong. Make the hard moves now, and by the end of Obama’s second term, the deficits will be halved or better, and the growth of national debt significantly slowed. When Clinton the Democrats increased taxes in 93-94 the talk was much the same as we here now… dire warnings of economic depression and so on. The exact opposite happened.

Somehow, if the GOP wants to attract young voters, they will have to find a way to dump the Tea Party and the social conservatives. Issues like gay rights merit a sarcastic ‘ya think?’ among the young, but the older white evangelical males of the current GOP still consistently support stands that are anathema to the gay community.

Like I said, Meghan McCain is the archetype for the new Republican… but how long will it be before her generatin is accepted by today’s GOP?

Posted by: phx8 at November 9, 2012 6:28 PM
Comment #356868

phx8,

Cain just announced he wants to form a third party. He believes that the republicans just aren’t conservative enough.
The republicans should say good bye, good luck, and good riddance to Cain’s ilk, oh, and take Rush, and Hannity, and the rest of your whacked out friends with you.

Perhaps then we could make actuall progress dealing with the problems that this country has.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 9, 2012 6:51 PM
Comment #356869

Generally, I am conservative, not Republican. I believe in market mechanisms and liberty. I think that these things will increase in the future. On the other hand, I think that hierarchy and central planning are on the way out.

Phx8

“The conventional wisdom is that two election cycles voted by young people the same way make a partisan for life.” I think this is wrong. I have seen too many changes. IMO, people become more or less set only after they are around 30. That would indeed work out to about two cycles, but it has more to do with their time in life.

tcsned

Perhaps not a statistical tie, but 50% is not a landslide. It is barely half of all voters. George W Bush won by bigger margin in 2004 and I doubt you would call that a landslide.

Re Hispanics - the wave of Hispanic immigration is passing. Birth rates south of the border has dropped precipitously. Absent significant new immigration, Hispanics will integrate into the American mainstream and cease being a reliable voting group. This happened to other large groups. Germans are present in the U.S. in larger numbers. The first English-only laws were aimed at them. Today, nobody cares.

Re changing - as I wrote above, 2002-2004 were great times for Republicans. Bush won by a bigger margin than Obama and Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate and House. I think that Republicans need to rethink, as all do. But situations will change and they need to adapt to whatever those are.

I think we need to work on new ways to do things. This would not be the “old” Republicans or Democrats.

Adrienne

Re women - It depends. Obama did a good job of making it look like a war on women. But it depends on how you look at the equation.

Re gays - this is another population that will integrate. People like me don’t care about this issue. I am pro-gay marriage, because it makes sense. I am for equal rights for gays because it is fair. I think my sort of attitudes are becoming more conservative mainstream.

The gay population is not very big, but they are usually rich and connected compared to the general population. This community is unlikely to remain reliably Democratic once the pressure is off and, IMO, the pressure will be off soon.

Posted by: C&J at November 9, 2012 6:57 PM
Comment #356871

C&J,

“The gay population is not very big, but they are usually rich and connected compared to the general population. This community is unlikely to remain reliably Democratic once the pressure is off and, IMO, the pressure will be off soon.”

Throughout my life I have known a lot of gay men and women, and none of them, not one, are “rich & connected”. These folks are struggling to make a living, just like everybody else.

Please site a source for this, as I am quite sure they all would like to know just how rich and connected they are supposed to be.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 9, 2012 7:04 PM
Comment #356872

Rocky,
Cain is a mystery to me. I realize he’s mainly a salesman. But I’ve never heard him say anything… well… intelligent. I don’t understand how he could have once been chairman of the Fed for KC and give not even the slightest indication that he understands anything about economics. Maybe it’s all just charisma. Or maybe he’s a bookish genius the minute the cameras turn off and he’s behind closed doors. In any event, the chances of the GOP splitting into social and corporate wings is highly unlikely, and Cain will certainly not be involved. He’s done.

C&J,
The Democrats did not just “make it look” like there was a War on Women. There was unquestionably a GOP War on Women. There was a sustained legislative assault against women’s health issues, among other things.

But please. Stay in denial. It’s all about the liberty of the fetus, right? It’s all about the liberty and free market mechanisms of churches when they enter the market place. Uh huh. And it’s all about being free of odious regulations regarding fair pay. Certainly, corporations are people, and any corporate entity should be able to take advantage of something like the Blount Amendment, and be able to deny any employee any health care item based upon any moral objection.

War on Women? Nah. Couldn’t be.

By the way, the most accurate polling organization for 2012 turned out to be PPP for Daily Kos. Second was PPP/SEIU. Least accurate? Down near the bottom were Gallup and, you guessed it! Rasmussen.

Posted by: phx8 at November 9, 2012 7:47 PM
Comment #356873

phx8,

Nothing would suprise me;

http://www.salon.com/2012/11/07/gop_civil_war_herman_cain_calls_for_3rd_party/

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 9, 2012 8:27 PM
Comment #356874

Rocky

I suppose that people would differ on some definitions. I do observe that marketers seem to target gays for expensive travel and dining.

Beyond that, gays have a harder time having kids. I know that if so much of my income didn’t go to kids expenses, I would have had a lot more money.

Phx8

Re abortion - I think that abortion is morally questionable, but I would not make it illegal. It is a bad situation in any case.

Re polls - I understand that you see the world in partisan ways. I understand statistics. We have uncertainty and error. It doesn’t require anybody to be stupid or nefarious. Pollsters do tend lean one way or the other and it depends on which way it goes who looks better. Rasmussen looked good in the last election; not so good this time.

I am reading a good book. I recommend it to you and you can allow yourself to read it because it is by a Democrats, Nate Silver. It is called “Signal and Noise”. It would help you understand the nature or risk and uncertainty. It is a fairly simple book, no equations.

Obama won 50% of the vote. We cannot know if that was near the top of his range or the bottom. Elections are not metaphysical events and results vary. It is not a good showing, in any case. Obama came close to not even getting most of the votes. He did worse than George W Bush in his second time out. Obama is the only president in our lifetimes to be reelected by a smaller margin than he won the first time out.

But I do hope that Obama does better in the second term than he did in the first, but I fear that he won’t.

Posted by: C&J at November 9, 2012 8:50 PM
Comment #356875

“He did worse than George W Bush in his second time out.”

C&J,

No, he did not not. Obama’s 2012 margin of victory in the popular vote exceeds the margin of GW Bush in 2004. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/compare.php?type=national&year=2012&f=0&off=0&elect=0

Posted by: Rich at November 9, 2012 9:37 PM
Comment #356877

Rich

Last I looked, they had Obama at 50% and Bush won with 50.7. You chart is updated, so let’s use your numbers.

As I read your chart, Obama has 50.48%; Bush had 50.73%, according to your chart. This is statistically meaningless, so I suppose you can say the did about the same as Bush. But Bush did better in his second election; Obama did worse the second time out.

According to your chart, he got 52.87% in 2008. So Obama 2008 beat Obama 2012 by 2.39%. As the people got to know him better, they liked Obama less. This is very uncommon.

Posted by: C&J at November 9, 2012 10:05 PM
Comment #356878

An ominous note for Republicans: Democratic candidates have won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.

Posted by: Rich at November 9, 2012 10:07 PM
Comment #356879
Perhaps not a statistical tie, but 50% is not a landslide. It is barely half of all voters. George W Bush won by bigger margin in 2004 and I doubt you would call that a landslide.

How quickly we forget, C&J. In 2004 conservatives were calling the GWB victory a mandate as was GWB. Why would things be different now?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 9, 2012 10:18 PM
Comment #356880

C&J,

Obama’s popular vote margin of victory in 2012 exceeds GW Bush’s in 2004. Period. It will continue to grow as final votes are tallied. You might want to exclude the larger percentage of third party votes in 2012 to more clearly see that fact. That said, I generally agree that the popular vote was very close.

Posted by: Rich at November 9, 2012 10:42 PM
Comment #356881

Rich

Democrats won more than half the votes in only two of the last six elections. Nobody won more than half the American votes in 1992, 1996 or 2000.

Phx8

It depend on what you mean by a mandate. In 2004, Bush thought he had a mandate to make big changes. The opposition stopped him.

Posted by: C&J at November 9, 2012 10:43 PM
Comment #356882
As I read your chart, Obama has 50.48%; Bush had 50.73%

But again, it’s not over yet. To that figure for Obama, we haven’t yet added Florida’s votes — it happens to be the fourth most populous state in this nation.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 9, 2012 10:46 PM
Comment #356883

Rich

Your chart doesn’t count third parties in the vote. It makes a difference. Period.

So far, Bush won a larger % of the vote than did Obama. Period. This may indeed change as more votes come in, or it may not. There is no reason to believe either way. No matter, it won’t be a really big difference.

The key fact is that Obama is the first president in our memory to get elected by a smaller margin the second time than the first.

Posted by: C&J at November 9, 2012 10:47 PM
Comment #356887

C&J …don’t rain on their parade. Adrienne will get apopletic on you and start calling you obscene names. Just let everything play out. Half the country can’t stand O. He has no more strike in DC than he did pre-election.

Posted by: John Johnson at November 10, 2012 12:45 PM
Comment #356892

Jack,

“Beyond that, gays have a harder time having kids. I know that if so much of my income didn’t go to kids expenses, I would have had a lot more money.”

I will give you that like the general population, there are those gays that might become “affluent”, however, that said, the vast majority gays are by no means rich.
The gay community has historically voted Democratic, the posit they would magically change their political allegiance, especially in light of the overwhelmingly anti-gay tilt to the far right is absurd.

They’re gay Jack, they’re not silly.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 10, 2012 4:56 PM
Comment #356893
The key fact is that Obama is the first president in our memory to get elected by a smaller margin the second time than the first.

So why is this significant? The repubs/conservatives spent twice as much in this election cycle as they did in 2008 as well as actively attempted to suppress the vote in many states. The question we should be asking C&J is why was Romney only 2.25% closer to the 50% mark, than McCain, with all the additional spending.

When we stop to consider the economy was crumbling as we voted in 2008 the repubs were playing defense, their handling of the economy was forefront in the minds of voters. In the 4 years since the economic collapse the repubs have been telling us the economy is bad due to Obama policies, the question is why didn’t Mitt runaway with this election.

Anyway it still seems to me Obama has a mandate which conservatives should acknowledge since they claimed GWB had a mandate in ‘04 because he won by a landslide as they claimed.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 10, 2012 5:20 PM
Comment #356900

John, J2t2, Adrienne et al

I am indeed being churlish about statistical details. Obama won. He is our president; those who supported him should savor their victory. I will try not to criticize President Obama for a little while at least. If he gets rid of Erick Holder, I will positively praise him.

My original post is just about demographics. It is one of my many hobbies. I think that pundits are misusing demographics, as they have done in the past.

IMO the most significant issue mostly overlooked is the rapid decline of birthrates in Mexico. We have seen similar drops in the past. The French Canadians used to have a high birthrate, such that they talked about the “revenge of the cradle”, i.e. the English won the war back in 1766, but the French would overtake them. But in the 1960s, they just stopped. Now they have one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. These equations change.

Hispanics will be a key constituency for a while longer because of inertia, but, IMO, they will soon be like German Americans (the earlier group that was supposed to take over the country)

Posted by: C&J at November 10, 2012 7:45 PM
Comment #356904

Jack, the most glaring problem for the GOP isn’t just with demographics. As phx8 and Rocky and others are pointing out, your party just seems so completely disconnected from an enormous number of the realities that most Americans grasp.
I’m not saying this to be snarky, but to be perfectly honest and sincere.

Frank Rich just wrote an article that will probably sting, but I think it calls out the problems so very clearly that everyone on the right should try to read it. I highly recommend it for the lefties here as well, since it really sums everything up — brilliantly.

Fantasyland
Denial has poisoned the GOP and threatens the rest of the country too.

Also recommended for the lefties, this article is a must read, too:
Wall Street’s Impotent Billionaires Confront a Second Obama Term

Posted by: Adrienne at November 10, 2012 8:39 PM
Comment #356921

Adrienne,
Good articles. Thanks for those links.

It seems like Obama put together a superior team, the mark of an outstanding manager. His campaign conducted a truly 21st century campaign, relying on current technology to drive a remarkable GOTV effort. That is the mark of a great leader: the ability to put the right people in the right places, people like Axelrod and Plouffe. Romney, on the other hand, exhibited all the hallmarks of a poor manager. His team was mediocre, and unlike Obama, constantly having to walk back comments by Romney. Romney’s GOTV effort was a 20th century effort. Unlike Obama, the Romney camp relied on bulk mail for contributions. An attempt to use state-of-art technology to GOTV failed on election day.

The simple truth is that the better, smarter, more capable leader won.

It’s fascinating to watch the GOP attempt to come to terms with what happened. At this point, I’d observe that they are not doing well. The smarter ones know they got seriously screwed by letting the party follow the leads of Limbaugh, Beck, FOX, Rove, Rasmussen, Morris, etc., and the smart ones are pissed, but the smart ones are a minority. FOX News is right back to yammering about conspiracy theories surrounding the Benghazi attack. There’s a general awareness 71% of Latinos voting for Obama represents a huge problem, but they can’t seem to grasp that it’s not just about putting a person with an ‘o’ at the end of their name on the ticket; that they can’t just grant amnesty, THEN build a huge f***ing wall on the border to keep out the rest of those people with brown skin; it’s about issues, and tone, and attitude, but most of all, issues.

When Republicans no longer find jokes by Herman Cain about putting lethally electrified fences at the border to be funny, they’ll make some real progress. Until then, it’s window dressing, and everybody knows it.

Posted by: phx8 at November 11, 2012 12:51 AM
Comment #356933

One of the reasons that this campaign will be so memorable was the utter denial of some basic facts by the GOP establishment. This was most strikingly apparent with the surprise in the Romney campaign over their loss. They were so convinced that they were going to win that they didn’t even write a concession speech. Fox News, Limbaugh and the rest didn’t like the numbers so they invented new ones. They didn’t like the jobs numbers, they accused Obama of manipulating them. They pretend that lowering taxes on the rich will create growth when all of the statistics say they don’t. We saw 30 years of supply-side economics destroy our economy and destroy the world economy. It is the most backwards economic model I can imagine. Rich people are NOT job creators. The middle class and the consumers in the country are the job creators. They buy the products that the “job creators” make and fuel more jobs and more wealth. Our economy has done well with a top tax rate of 90%, 70%, 39%, and they’re doing well now at 35%. If we raise the tax rates back to the Clinton levels they will be fine. If we have a thriving middle class the rich will benefit, the opposite has not proven to be true.

The denial of the GOP goes past these basic economic and electoral statistics. Denial of global climate change when all of the science says it is true and that it is man made. The only real debates surround how bad it will be and what can be done about it. But the GOP relies on pseudoscience and people on the payroll of those who profit most from doing nothing to muddy the water and pretend that there are two sides to this issue. Sandy was a nice reminder of that. While each storm or event cannot be attributed to global climate change just as you cannot attribute steroid use to any of Barry Bonds’ home runs but I don’t think anyone would argue that steroid use didn’t double the number of home runs he hit. We had the warmest year in world history with most of the other warmest years coming in the last 10 years, the correlation with carbon in the atmosphere has been proven (causation is another thing since that requires having an identical control planet or multiple control planets which we do not have though Venus is a good extreme case of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere). Hell, they’re even in denial of the settled science of evolution. it’s hard to have a conversation about effective policy when one side has invented a set of facts designed to back up their beliefs instead of letting facts dictate belief.

The GOP has lost 3 of the last 4 elections. They only one they really won were the 2010 elections because of using every tool in the toolbox to obstruct and then blaming the obstruction on the Democrats. It’s hard to have a serious conversation with a group when they think they are entitled to their own facts. It’s hard to take these people seriously. This is all pretty sad because I don’t think my ideological leanings have all of the answers, I certainly don’t think that we will ever have truly American solutions unless all reasonable points of view are heard. This won’t happen until the GOP decides to give up fantasy and embrace reality. There aren’t conservative and liberal facts there are only conservative and liberal policy ideas to address the facts.

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