And a Few Thoughts About the Election

By James Kwak

Just about everything has been said already, but:

  • There was a lot of talk, and rightly so, about Barack Obama’s overwhelming victory among Latinos. There was little talk about Obama’s even more overwhelming victory among Asian-Americans, who are the fastest-growing demographic group in the country. For decades people have said that Asian-Americans are a natural Republican constituency. But they said that about Latinos, too.
  • In the broad sweep of history, it will be hard to see 2012 as a turning point, given its endorsement of the status quo. With one exception: it was the night that gay rights broke through. Besides Tammy Baldwin, besides victory in all four states (Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington), there was the roar of applause when Barack Obama said “gay or straight,” and even the Republican commentators talking about how their party had to get on the right side of the issue.
  • Last night, when the outcome was clear, David Brooks said that if Obama reached across the aisle, he could gain the support of 15 to 20 Republican senators—proving that he can smoothly transition from being unable to interpret polls to being unable to interpret election results.
  • Amid all the gratifying things about election night (with Elizabeth Warren at the top of the list), here are  few more: “Joe” the “Plumber” losing, the replacement of Joe Lieberman, Karl Rove and Donald Trump displaying their craziness.
  • And, of course, the final word must go to xkcd. Go math!


23 thoughts on “And a Few Thoughts About the Election

  1. Yes, yes, Asian-Americans are all about that “social contract” I apparently signed when I left my mother’s womb.

    Is there a word in Chinese for “liberty”?

  2. I understand that Republicans need to get on the right site of the gay rights issue. However, my many conversations with evangelicals indicate that they are perhaps even more freaked out about it than they are abortion. I wonder how the Republicans are going to deal with this. Of course, their “economic libertarian” and “social conservative” coalition has always struck me as unstable.

  3. No surprise that BO got the asian vote. Asians are just as anti-white as blacks and browns.

  4. Disclosure: I’m a WASP male over 60, native resident of Texas who contributed to and worked for the President in Iowa and Florida.

    Without doubt, the large margins Obama built among blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and single women were key to his election. But what is escaping attention is the fact that 56% of Obama’s votes came from white, non-Hispanic voters.* These moderate, liberal and union voters are clearly THE key block in the Democratic coalition, and this fact is ignored at risk to our future success.

    * Source:

  5. “In the broad sweep of history, it will be hard to see 2012 as a turning point, given its endorsement of the status quo.”

    The reference to “turning point” calls to mind the theory of realigning elections that political scientists have kicked for almost 60 years. The theory has been largely refuted, but there’s stronger evidence of secular realignments in which, over a series of elections, demographic categories of voters shift their allegiance from one party to another or move decisively from independents to partisans. These shifts can take place under the cover of elections that may appear to simply endorse the status quo.

    The dramatic shift of Hispanic voters into the Democratic party between 2004 and 2012 is a good example of a secular realignment and its effect on electoral outcomes. Increasing Hispanic identification with the Democratic party has moved California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado into the Democratic column in presidential and many senatorial elections. It had a crucial role in bringing Obama to the edge of victory in Florida in 2012 (it hasn’t been called at this hour). And as the Hispanic population grows and becomes more politically active in Arizona and Texas, these states will become more competitive.

    I know less about trends in party identification and voting patterns among other non-white, non-Hispanic demographic groups, but I suspect similar secular realignments are occurring with Asian Americans, young voters, and other demographic categories.

    So, yes, 2012 might not be *A* turning point, but it may well be a very important point in a turning.

    All this would auger well for the Democrats if it weren’t for gerrymandering by GOP-dominated state legislatures and governors that give GOP House candidates a +2.5 advantage, the plutocrats’ money unleashed by Citizens United, and the threat the Supreme Court poses to the preclearance provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

  6. I have not seen any mention of the complete absence of any comment or anything else from Obama’s predecessor in the office. Amazing how completely Bush has vanished from sight.

  7. This first part directed @ commenter Chris
    “W”Bush endorsed Romney. He kind of did it “on the lowdown”. Even “W”Bush isn’t dyslexic/illiterate enough not to know his endorsement is detrimental to anyone at this stage. UNless that is you’re a Navy sailor who needs a clueless blowhard to jump on your carrier and help you in a state of denial that you’re in the middle of a protracted war.

    Dealing with other election related issues, I thought Mr. James Kwak might take a deeper interest in this story on Romney and something called “ORCA” by Burns and Haberman blog. This is particularly noteworthy in light of how “surprised” or “caught off guard” many Republicans <b<supposedly were by the elections results:

    The question that Laura Rozen very astutely asked is “Can you imagine these people running a war??” I would only add to Miss Rozen’s comment, Can you imagine these people running FEMA?? It seems we might have seen that TVshow before. Someone please remind me, who was it that was cast to play the part “Brownie’s Cheerleader”???

  8. Laura!!! Laura??? Laura…….??? Time to go to bed honey. “W” needs some rest babe.

  9. Being from Wisconsin, I said here do not trust in the Walker recall election as to where Wisconsin is heading. It was a recall on whether Walker broke any rules, not on whether we agreed with everything he was doing. That election will be in two years.

    As I have said here also, if the Republican Party wants to win a presidential election, then they have to let go of their religious affiliations. There is no room in a democracy for for ideals based on religion — abortion, gay marriage, stem cells, etc. This statement is made by an ex-College Republican Chairman.

    I would like to paraphrase Robert G. Ingersoll, a Republican from ILL who lived in the 1800’s, if we put religion in politics and government laws, then we have to choose which religion, which sect, which laws we are then to follow.

    Determining which religion is the one we will follow is not the job of democracy. The job of democracy is to provide equal rights for all who live under its laws. God has nothing to do with these laws, even if they do match many of the Ten Commandments, these are laws determined by men and women as needed for civil equality. This has an interesting effect in that it then strengthens religion as All are then allowed to find the group they wish to worship with, or not. Family views and teaching can be passed on without interfering with the rights of others.

    Few people really understand the beauty of the simple words of the Seperation of Church and State as it reaffirms the notion of religion as being important enough to allow everyone the right to their religion, or to not have one. It keeps neighbours civil as they no longer worry about how the sign of the cross should be made by their neighbour, whether they are Jewish, Sunni, Shiite, they sprinkle water or immerse for baptism, whether they wish to accept women in the clergy, etc. It loosely states the importance of the individual in government vs. the group, business body/entity, etc., which were Republican views. As I have said before, until the Republican Party stresses the importance of the individual in government then they are a dead party to anyone who cares about the rights of their neighbours.

    Finally to Moses Herzog: I am dyslexic and my son who is studying genetics is also. In my family, dylexia is genetic, but has never kept us from being intellectuals. Until you understand that dyslexia is a term used to describe a condition where people have difficulties with letters, words, and numbers, and is not a term to put down people, then you will not understand minorities. It is another problem Republicans have right now — understanding minorities and it goes back to the need to understand government represents the individual so ALL are equal under the law.

  10. We’ll quickly see what, if anything, this election means for gridlock. Boehner, as always, is being extremely reasonable and Obama’s call for raising taxes on individuals earning over 200K will go NOWHERE. Any individual or household earning less than $5 million annually shouldn’t be classified as rich. At the very least, $1 million or less should be the threshold. Otherwise, as Boehner rightly points out, small business owners will be unfairly targeted. If Obama sticks to the 200K/250K individual/family threshold, there will be NO DEAL. Obama needs to agree to keep ALL the Bush tax cuts throughout his second term for individuals and families earning somewhere between $1 million and $5 million annually. Americans want the obscenely wealthy to pay a proportionate share of taxes; They do not want to hurt small business owners worried about healthcare overhead and whether they can expand their business by hiring new employees. Obama needs to recall the reason for the shallacking Democrats took in the mid-terms and respect the fact that Republicans also have a mandate by virtue of their dominance in the House. If he tries to go European too quickly, the Republicans will collapse the economy without any hesitation, ensuring a political tragedy for the Democrats.

  11. Here is an update on the ORCA situation in Romney’s campaign. I feel very strongly this wouldn’t have made a difference as far as the final result of another 4yrs for Pres.Obama. But it is an issue worth pondering and much contemplation, when you have this much incompetence at running a campaign “GOTV” (get out the vote), is there anything you could trust the Great Mormon to discharge?? That’s a rhetorical question, but for Teabaggers slowly sounding out these words phonetically at home, the answer is “NO”.
    It’s also crucial to note as you analyze this ORCA situation on November 6, that this was not a Republican National Committee screw-up, but was in fact a screw-up exclusively internal of the Romney Campaign team.

  12. President Obama kicked the hell out of the Romney campaign, in the trenches, on the ground, where, it’s clear from the results, this matters the most. Brilliant work by Axelrod and crew.

  13. Governor Romney referring here to ORCA as “real time information to the staff” and an “unprecedented advantage”???………

    Gosh Mitt, I’m not sure if your volunteers would agree with you and Zac Moffatt’s descriptions of ORCA, but let there be no doubt, you showed the same great “leadership” abilities on ORCA as you have on so many issues. Maybe if you “dangle” enough job contacts and references to those who foolishly believed what you and Zac Moffat had to say about ORCA, they’ll tell us ORCA is exactly how you said it is. I know that your strong Mormon faith precludes you from LYING Governor Romney.

    Try to “dangle” those job opportunities to campaign volunteers with a little more finesse than you had with ORCA and they’ll sing/recite whatever ORCA tune you hand them. If one of the Mormon Elders pushes you hard on this question, just tell him it’s a “redistribution” of falsehoods.

  14. I might be mistaken on this but I believe, in fact, Mormonism does not prohibit lying (of course, they don’t use such bald language) to outsiders. The prohibition applies only to those who share the faith. If I’m correct in this regard, this is an article of dogma they share with Islam.

    If any of you know (not just have an opinion) otherwise, I’m happy to be corrected.

  15. I wonder how long it will take African Americans to figure out that they are no longer the Democrats’ preferred minority group? A recent article in the Washington Post boldly asks Obama for payback for black support:

    The writer points out the various payoffs to women, hispanics, and homosexuals and asks where is the payoff to blacks. The answer: there are black women, black hispanics, and black homosexuals, so essentially, you’ve had yours.

    Illegal hispanic labor has harmed blacks more than any other group by lowering the wages for many at the bottom of the pay scale. Rewarding illegal immigration, which both parties seem anxious to do, will further harm one of only two groups (blacks and American Indians) to whom we actually owe special treatment as compensation for our past bad behavior.

  16. Well said, and little doubt it’s coming from a shattered banana-Republican wanting to sow seeds of dissension in our ranks. Better pay attention to the long knives now drawn in yours.

    All this talk about “payoffs” (this languages gives you away) to this group and that group, who of course are all part of the 47% of takers in our society. Your takers are stealing us blind through hidden “tax preferences”, bailouts, earmarks, industry subsidies, and regulatory policies designed to protect your business constituency at the expense of the American public.

    Despite your 2012 electoral setback, I’m sure the ROI on your friends’ investments in campaign contributions and lobbying has been spectacular.

  17. שלום, שמי רפי, מהנדס תוכנה ותיק בעל תואר שני במדעי המחשב ועיוור מוחלט מלידה. עיקר הפיתוח שלי היה על מערכות UNIX/LINUX, אך באופן פרדוקסאלי אף פעם לא הצטרכתי להתקין לינוקס על המחשב שלי כי תמיד עבדתי עם TERMINAL EMULATOR על מחשב WINDOWS. בעולם יש עיוורים רבים המשתמשים בלינוקס וישנם אף רשימות דיוור של משתמשי לינוקס עיוורים. בארץ הדבר מורכב יותר, מאחר שלמיטב ידיעתי לא קיים מנוע דיבור עברי בסביבת LINUX. גם לא ברור איך קורא המסך ORCA יתנהג עם עברית. עבורי זה לא מהווה בעיה מאחר ואני משתמש בצג ברייל ולא מסתמך על מנוע דיבור. תקופה ארוכה שאני רוצה להתקין אובונטו על המחשב שלי ויש שם אפילו תמיכה בדיבור וצג ברייל כבר במהלך ההתקנה. בכל זאת, אני חושש להתקע תוך כדי התקנה ובמקרה כזה אין בסביבתי אנשים שיוכלו “לחלץ” אותי. אני מתגורר בצפון הארץ ואם יש מי שמעוניין לעזור לי להתקין אובונטו, אשמח אם ייצור איתי קשר במייל: rafic AT אשמח להוביל בקרב העיוורים משתמשי המחשב בארץ את הפצת השימוש בלינוקס וקוד פתוח. תודה, רפי.

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