Election 2012 Recap: Getting the Triumphalism Right

Democrats awoke today awash in the smug warmth that comes with electoral success. Rightly so, given last night’s results. Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill are still Senators? Tammy Baldwin will be the first openly gay American to grace the Senate floor? Obama didn’t just win a few of the swing states—he won (pending Florida) all of them?

And yes, it’s a win (a conclusive win), but not necessarily for the reasons that many Democrats think. What sort of win do they have? Is there any message here?

First of all, it’s hardly a triumph of substance. This wasn’t a blanket endorsement of Obamacare, the Democrats’ fiscal policy, women’s issues, etc. While Obama’s reelection almost certainly preserves health care reform for the long haul, this seems more an incidental consequence of other factors—not evidence of a substantive majority backing the law. The country’s still sharply split on this, and most other policy questions.

This is almost always the case, by the way. It’s why post-election overreach is such a common problem. Few candidates, parties, or causes command such overwhelming public support that their performance at the polls draws a clear mandate for the months and years to follow.

All of which points to Tuesday’s real triumph. This was a win for reality. It was a win for the facts. If I seemed imprisoned by false equivalency’s allures in my last post (on partisan data distortion), let there be no doubts today. Conservatives who attacked Nate Silver (and other statsheads) were themselves the biased fantasists. As it turned out, the political analysts who spent enormous amounts of time and energy developing sophisticated models for tracking public opinion actually had a better sense of the American electorate than their partisan critics. Silver and Co. were right on target. Their critics were skewed.

An old lesson, then: wishing that facts are a certain way doesn’t make them so. Dick Morris now acknowledges that he’d underestimated the numbers of “blacks, Latinos, and young people” who would vote. Good for these voters, and—I guess?—good for him for noting his mistake.

But Morris’ framing of his mea culpa is pretty telling. These new voters, these “blacks, Latinos, and young people,” are “here to stay. And with them, a permanent reshaping of our nation’s politics…this is not your father’s United States.” Get that? More participation from young and/or minority voters equals a fundamental transformation of the country. That transformation led to Obama’s election and, as of yesterday, reelection. What does this mean? It means “Obama’s socialist agenda” and “less freedom.”

Get THAT? Morris isn’t explicitly blaming the coming socialist tide on our increasingly diverse electorate, and certainly not on any particular race or demographic group, but…

And that’s the final conclusion worth noting from Tuesday. It doesn’t quite rise to the level of a triumph, maybe, but—Tuesday’s results validated American pluralism. Obviously it was a good day for same-sex couples, for those decisive young and/or minority voters, for DREAMers in Maryland, for Puerto Ricans, and such, but that’s not the whole story.

Even more importantly, last night was another piece of evidence proving that the American tradition itself is far more plural than many of the president’s critics would care to admit. After four years of tarring him as “un-American” and “anti-colonial,” and “socialist/Marxist/fascist,” etc, the American Right now has to come to terms with the fact that Obama’s been elected twice by the country he’s supposed to be usurping (Cf. Sununu). In other words, it’s hard to argue that your side is the authentic American political movement if you keep losing prominent elections. It’s hard to call your popularly-elected opponent out-of-step with the country that keeps electing him. Perhaps our tradition is capacious enough to include a two-term black president? Yes indeed.[1]


Conor P. Williams is more exhausted than elated. For more analysis, find him on Facebook or Twitter. Here’s his email. Here are his credentials.

 

[1] Lest I be misunderstood, let me stress that I’m not making the mirror image argument. Today’s conservatism is plenty American.

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88 thoughts on “Election 2012 Recap: Getting the Triumphalism Right

  1. This was a win for reality. It was a win for the facts.

    A.Men.

    Oh, and Hail to our Kenyan Socialist Something Something Overlord and his anti-American minions. (At first I was gonna apologize for the obvious and no doubt unflattering gloat … but I’m not really sorry. So skip it.)

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  2. Yes. Facts, numbers, and reality wins.

    Now the question is whether the GOP finally acknowledges that heads back toward reality-based sensibilities or whether they decide that ‘real America’ has been hopelessly distorted by all those non-WASPs and women.

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  3. Nicely put. Not that I was ever going to vote for McCain, but I cannot express the rage his campaign engendered when they went on TV and said Northern Virginia isn’t “real Virginia”. Seriously, fuck that noise.

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  4. Man, do I ever not like the Triumphus. Enough with the “this is a win for reality, facts, etc…” I would much rather the winners keep in mind,”Memento mori.”

    There is a huge amount of crap to get done in DC right now, and the breathless blather over what this election “means” is just an annoying distraction. The automatic cuts loom. The markets really don’t like the uncertainty over whats gonna happen. Now, I really don’t care about profits on Wall Street, but there are still a whole lotta unemployed folks out there, and the sooner the “fiscal cliff” gets addressed, the better.

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      • Yes, I can imagine that it stings to be held accountable to the uninformed attacks on Silver…but if that’s the triumphalism that bothers you, you’re way too sensitive. You were wrong, very wrong, about the polling, and it’s nopt especially unfair to point that out to you.

        But hey, don’t worry, we’ll be back to passing deadend Repeal Obamacare bills in no time, I’m sure.

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      • They really didn’t think they’d have to take responsibility for them. The Tea Party was in charge and they had no idea how to govern, how to legislate, and especially, how to compromise. So they decided to hold the budget, hence the economy, hostage, and now it’s coming back to bite them.

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      • Lib, maybe this’ll help:
        The sequestration was designed to be painful to both parties. The deal was 109 billion dollars in cuts with roughly 50% of the cuts falling on domestic spending but (this is important:) they excluded medicaid and social security. The other 50% of that amount lands on military spending and it falls entirely on the military natch.

        Now for a true libertarian this would be considered a crude but positive thing but for your average GOPer who’s libertarian-ness is somewhat thinner than a coat of paint this is a calamity.
        Your average neocon is horrified: military spending is getting squashed which tamps down their various plans for foreign entanglements.
        Your average socialcon is horrified: the cuts will hammer the various programs that funnel welfare into red states like agricultural subsidies and military bases.
        Your average businesscon isn’t happy either; his corporate welfare and especially defense contractor buddies are screaming about these cuts and removals of their personal troughs.

        The Dems have similar but concerns of course, domestic spending of all sorts if getting a haircut from a weed whacker.

        Even for centrists these blunt cuts (especially if they come with the tax cuts all reverting to the Clinton era level) represent an incredible gut punch to an economy that’s just starting to perk up again. The uncertainty/anticipation of the “fiscal cliff” (which is the moniker for the sequestration and tax increases together) is sending economic ripples already.

        Keep in mind none of this was intended to happen by the GOP. The idea was they induce gridlock through Obama’s term, landslide him out of office and then with control of the government in their hands revert the parts of the sequestration they didn’t like, make the tax cuts permanent (and increase them) and then happily wait for Santa, Jesus and Zombie Regan to fly in make the deficit vanish in a spray of supply side fairy dust.

        Of course the plan failed: the electorate held the GOP responsible for this, Romney failed to close the sale, Obama was more likable etc etc… What is truly nightmarish for the GOP(and anyone else) is that all of this cliff happens automatically. Boehner can fulminate and mince around the House all he wants but without Obama and the Senate signing on he can not stop it and for once it looks like Obama may actually use the cards he’s been dealt instead of giving them away.

        So yeah, that’s why this is an unparalleled disaster for conservatives. They bet the farm and then doubled down… and lost.

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        • Sorry to seem obtuse here, but 109 Billion? With a B?
          Seriously?

          Out of a 3,800 Billion dollar budget?

          Out of a 1,500 Billion dollar deficit?

          So our deficit will only be 1,301 Billion?

          Am I getting this right?
          I must be missing something somewhere.

          My snark is failing me here.

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          • Sorry, I think I flubbed the numbers a bit in my explanation. As soon as the Budget Control Act becomes law, discretionary spending (aka annual appropriations) will be cut and capped, with projected savings of $917 B over 10 years. That’s 109 billion annually.

            In addition to these immediately enacted spending cuts from the cut and spending caps, a complex process will lead to additional deficit reduction of $1.2 – $1.5 T (or in theory more) over the next 10 years. That additional deficit reduction will result either from a new law enacted by the end of 2011, or from automatically triggered spending cuts written into the Budget Control Act (or from a combination of the two).

            Does that help your snark at all?

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            • I am not seeing the magnitude of cuts that everyoneelse is seeing, I guess.

              I placed the budget numbers in terms of billions to show the proportion-
              We spend about 3,800 billions, and are talking about cutting a little over 100 billions, per year.

              109/3800= about 2.8% of the Federal budget to be cut.

              This sounds like a Republican proposal to be met with wild cheers from the NRO crowd, no?

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          • You’re…out of date. 2013’s is looking to be under a trillion. This year’s was just a trillion.

            Recessions, rather obviously, make the situation a lot worse. Take 2012. The recovery — such as it is so far — has removed about 200 billion from the deficit already.

            Anyways, as to the details — take 2012. The discretionary budget — ie, that which can actually be cut — is topped by the military, with a 680 billion dollar budget. Next down is HHS (non Medicare/Medicaid — those are mandatory and funded via a different stream than income taxes) with a budget of under 90 billion.

            Personally, I find a few things odd about the budget process — SS, Medicare and Medicaid have dedicated funding streams (which everyone who works pays, save for those who don’t qualify for the programs at all. Even the 47%. Pays quite regressively). But they’re always lumped into the discretionary budget, which is paid for solely by income taxes. But the discretionary budget is dominated by the military — half of the discretionary budget is the military! (Well, like 49.5% or somethint close to it).

            It can certainly be closed, easily enough. A return to Clinton era income tax rates (which I paid. My “bush tax cut” was quite small, but then I didn’t get the lion’s share of it) and a Clinton era military budget would, you know, fix pretty much the entire discretionary side of the budget, assuming we meander into even a modest period of recovery and expanson.

            On the mandatory side, for all the screaming about SS — SS is fine. Medicare and Medicaid are in trouble, but they’re in trouble for the same reason my insurance costs go up year after year — health care costs are spiraling upwards. What gets me is how Medicare/Medicaid isn’t all that much more expensive than private plans per capita — and it should be, since Medicare/Medicaid insure the most expensive demographics!

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  5. Those who believe that government is the problem do not run governments that do much, even in the areas that government can help.

    Those who believe that government can be the solution to some problems run governments that can do much for people, even in the areas where it might not be obvious that government could help.

    People get this. Especially when times are tough. It is not only self evident, it is also self fulfilling.

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  6. aaaaand, right on cue:

    ‘With Obama’s decisive electoral victory and Republicans’ hold on the House, with a slightly smaller majority, Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday’s election amounted to a plea from voters for the parties to lay down their weapons of the past two years and “do what’s best for our country.”’

    “That is the will of the people. And we answer to them,” Boehner said at an afternoon news conference at the Capitol. “For purposes of forging a bipartisan agreement that begins to solve the problem, we’re willing to accept new revenue, under the right conditions.”

    I’m telling you, the war is moving out of the open and into the trenches, where it belongs.

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  7. And the win is not nearly as clear as it might first appear. Obama lost over 9 million voters compared to 2008, enough that McCain , though still losing, would’ve been with a fraction of a percent of Obama nationally and in Ohio and Florida. The Republican analysts knew Obama had lost a lot of support, and assumed that Romney would easily outperform McCain (because frankly, who couldn’t?)

    What these 9 million former Obama voters saw was a big-city Yankee with a wacko religion who is in bed with giant financial firms and supports government mandated health care. What Republicans saw in their 2012 candidate was a big-city Yankee with a wacko religion who is in bed with giant financial firms and supports government mandated health care, which is why Romney lost 2.3 million McCain voters. As the two candidates made plain in the second and third debates, they pretty much agree on everything except Obama’s post-election vacation plans.

    If anything, the vote was a striking repudiation of big-city Yankees with blah blah blah…

    There was only one candidate, but you could get him in two different colors. So 11.4 million Americans said “a pox on both versions of you!”

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          • The white guy was, in this case, just another northern liberal version of Obama, and he was also a candidate who couldn’t beat McCain, and McCain couldn’t beat Bush. Going by the final tally, Obama lost 13% of his 2008 supporters, and Romney couldn’t even retain all of McCain’s voters, losing almost 4% of them.

            When the economy has been this bad for this long, with so many people hanging by a thread, many become very afraid of changing anything, prefering the devil they know over the devil they haven’t seen yet.

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            • Going by the final tally, Obama lost 13% of his 2008 supporter

              Yet another rightosphere meme is born (I’ve been seeing it all day): the fact that 2012 had lower overall turn-out than 2008 is always expressed as “Obama lost support”.

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              • Well, the fact that turnout for the 2008 election was unusually high at 63 percent, a level not seen since 1960, so this year’s turnout numbers were much more normal, doesn’t make a very good right wing meme. Only by leaving certain crucial facts out can they make their argument, such as it is.

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        • “If we wanted representatives who would roll over for Obama, we’d have elected Democrats to replace them.”

          There is still time for that. The fiscal cliff looms for both parties, but a loss of the House looms in 2014 if the R’s let the Tea party of the demographic cliff.

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      • Given that we’ve just signed on to four more years of 8%+ unemployment rates, gridlock, and massive deficits, the only winners in this election speak Mandarin, Arabic, and Farsi.

        I hate to be intemperate here, bu what kind of idiot thinks that economic trouble in the US is actually a boon for it’s trading partners?

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      • Given that we’ve just signed on to four more years of 8%+ unemployment rates, gridlock, and massive deficits, the only winners in this election speak Mandarin, Arabic, and Farsi.

        What’s your confidence interval on that prediction?

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        • Very high. The unemployment rate is best explained by fuel prices, since the only other significant factor affecting post WW-II employment rates, statistically, is interest rates, and those have been fine.

          And Obama victory means the EPA will keep shutting down powerplants and mining, and the energy department will maintain Obama’s restrictions on drilling. There’s a possiblity that private-sector lands or other external factors might cause the price of energy to dop, but probably not by much unless China’s economy follows us into the toilet. If prices did start to drop, Obama would certainly increase his efforts to increase the tax burden on oil companies (which pass it directly to the pump) and would likely portray the lowered fuel prices as ‘an unjustified windfall with large externalities that needs to be offset with a large increase in the gas tax to help lower the deficit and get this economy rolling again.’

          His entire administration believes fuel prices and energy costs should skyrocket, creating an economic environment where green energy can succeed, to wean us off legacy fossil fuels that pollute. A substantial proportion of his base believes in fairytale energy schemes and will go right along, oblivious to the suffering and continued economic stagnation that results.

          As for gridlock, we’ve got it now and the opposition party almost always gains seats in the mid-terms, so we’ll have gridlock for four years. Oh, and even Obama projects massive deficits for the next four years.

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        • Exactly. The idea that fuel prices wouldn’t remain extremely high under Obama is a fantasy, even though he could remedy the problem with the stroke of a pen, getting prices to drop probably by the 2014 election, and certainly by the 2016 election.

          Remember the high unemployment rate during the middle of Bush’s two terms? Economists are at a loss to explain it as anything other than the result of high fuel prices.

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          • I’m pretty sure you just made the claim in that last sentence up. Probably as you typed it.

            No, it was from a recent academic economics paper explaining that the US unemployment rate since WW-II could be statistically explained with only two variables, fuel prices and interest rates, and that the theory explained the otherwise mysterious high unemployment rate during the middle of Bush’s terms, when all other economic fundamentals were sound.

            Using only two variables to closely match the unemployment curve from 1945 to 2010 is pretty impressive, and if the relationship is in fact valid, then nothing Obama does will significantly improve our extremely high unemployment – unless he works to lower fuel prices.

            The US is not like Europe, even if Obama and his cabinet wishes that were so. We’re very large, very spread out, and it takes a lot of fuel to process and transport the things we do, including people. This makes our economy more dependent on energy costs than most other countries, along with our employment rates.

            One of the reasons Obama can affect fuel prices is that the US is the world’s #1 or #2 oil producer, depending on if we’ve surpassed Saudi Arabia yet (we are set to), and we have massive amounts of untapped reserves. The futures market also reacts to projected production, (which people scream about everytime they don’t like the result).

            Since obviously Obama supporters don’t even want him to do anything to lower fuel prices, he’s not going to do anything to lower fuel prices. In fact, he’s going to keep trying to jack them up.

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            • MIT press journals.org

              The paper develops an efficiency-wage model in which input prices affect the equilibrium rate of unemployment. We show that a simple framework based on only two prices (the real price of oil and the real rate of interest) is able to explain the main postwar movements in the rate of U.S. joblessness. The equations do well in forecasting unemployment many years out of sample, and provide evidence that the oil-price spike associated with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait appears to be a component of the “mystery” recession that followed.

              I’m doubting it’s that one (which is behind a paywall and the paper I read was not) but it’s probably a later one with similar conclusions – which would probably cite that one. I ran across it while burrowed deeply in a chain of links on Google Scholar while debating some economists on a completely different question.

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              • There was another.

                Aside from that, I find it amusing that liberals have been frustrated for four years, that the giant spending initiatives didn’t work. In fact, unemployment rates have been stock far above the levels that Obama predicted we could see if we didn’t pass his stimulus. By the projections he used, doing nothing at all would’ve been better than what we got. So for three years now he’s blamed this and blamed that, and said the shovel ready jobs weren’t really shovel ready, ad nauseum. He can’t figure out what’s wrong, and didn’t even propose a plan to fix things in his campaign!

                In easy-to-understand terms, the car has been running rough, and he’s spent a fortune tearing down the engine and taking the transmission all apart, having it up on blocks for months. I’m the neighbor guy who comes over and says, “Oh, it’s just your fuel pump. Replace that and it’ll purr like a kitten.”

                So then you get mad because you don’t want to believe it’s the fuel pump, and you’ll blow lord knows how much money fixing all the things that aren’t broken, and the car will still be up on blocks six months later.

                If fuel prices are the real reason for the high unemployment, then either Obama can fix unemployment with a range of policies that lower fuel prices, getting all the credit for putting the US economy back on track, or he can be even more clever and not draw attention to the fuel prices, but draw attention to a raft of pet programs that he could trumpet, tricking people into thinking that those liberal programs were actually causing the drop in unemployment. Or he can leave the faulty fuel pump in place and leave office with the worst economic record since the Great Depression, so that every administration for the next fifty years treats his terms as the new bottom-end benchmark for abject failure in the modern age.

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                  • The effect would be the same regardless of which paper discussed it, no?

                    “Ah, he cited a diffent paper about supply and demand, so the law of supply and demand must be a fantasy – because there is more than one papers on it…”

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                    • Heck, liberals ascribe all sorts of views to me, like racist-sexist-bigot homophobe anti-semitic ultra-zionist jew. Of course they also think Dick Cheney was a pawn of the dryer-lint industry. It may be beyond my poor power to add or detract from what they ascribe, because ascribe they will. But this is perhaps the first time ever that one has thought I agree with the conventional wisdom – on anything. I must be losing my edge.

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                    • Well. I agree on that last part. If you don’t agree with the conventional wisdom, you got to do more than cite exactly no papers while arguing for the conclusion you think is right.

                      It’s almost like you’re trying to create a preferred conclusion out of whole cloth.

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                • First, that paper, and many that cite it (and provide further evidence), don’t argue that oil prices are the only (or one of two) explanations. Just that it’s a strong predictor, and one of if not the most easily identifiable. There are others, and the literature talks about a lot of them.

                  Second, I went to a talk a couple years ago by an economist (I forget his name, sorry) who works with the state of Texas. His models suggested that, given the underlying fundamentals, unemployment rates wouldn’t reach 2007 levels until 2017. It didn’t matter who was president, or what oil prices were. The structural conditions were fucked. This is reflected in, among other things, the fact that this bout of elevated unemployment, and particularly extended unemployment, hit populations that usually do OK during things sorts of trends (e.g., the highly educated).

                  I’m not an economist (and neither are you, obviously), but it seems pretty clear that you’re talking out of your ass, because economists seem to have painted a much more complex picture with variables that go well beyond anything the president does.

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                  • But still, this is progress. We both agree that the economy and unemployment rate won’t improve under Obama, but you think it’s for lots of complex reasons, and I think it’s primarily for a simple reason (although everything else he’s done has created problems, as well, aside from golfing, which has probably not had a measurable effect).

                    If oil prices are a strong predictor of the unemployment rate, wouldn’t being a strong predictor mean that their influence on unemployment rates is very strong, and that no matter how you improve the underlying fundamentals, you’d still have to buck that strong predictor?

                    But why see the forest when it’s so much fun to stay lost in the trees? This gives me renewed confidence that the economy will indeed suck throughout the rest of Obama’s term, because they’re not going to touch that strong predictor. Oil companies are teh evil, afterall.

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                  • I’m hoping BHO Part Deux is better math. At least GWB fucked up some bad guys. BHO’s stimulus just fucked us.

                    Interesting calculus. On this issue, I’m non-partisan. I wonder who you think of as “the bad guys” and who you think of as “us”. Care to elaborate?

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                    • Not to you anymore. We’re quits, man. And soon Mr. Turner will learn what a waste of time it is too. I found out the hard way though I had hoped to save him from living the story of the scorpion and the frog.

                      But probably not. We all have to learn for ourselves. As clever as the frog may be, the scorpion always wins, for both sinking to the bottom of the pond is “winning.” That’s how scorpions play it. The proper response of the frog to the scorpion is to get the hell out of there before he gets on your back. I’m outta here—all yours, George.

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                    • Tom, you didn’t answer the question. And the more times you don’t answer the question, the more frequently people will accuse you of all the things you think people falsely accuse you for. :)

                      It’s OK that you hold reactionary and couterfactual beliefs about Reality. But if you come to a place premissed around the discussion of beliefs, and then refuse to defend your beliefs, you can’t get all pissy and whiny that your beliefs aren’t taken seriously.

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                    • I don’t think that gets you very far Tom, since the “fight” is a war of words, and argument, that takes place in a virtual world. It’s like a video game!! There’s nothing at stake other than our thoughts, our arguments, and our convictions.

                      Why won’t you fight?

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              • Oh, and option C, if he can’t manage to lower fuel prices, he could at least explain that it’s not his programs that are failing, it’s that the way we’ve structured the US economy over the past 50-years tied employment to fuel prices, and then he can go off on some tangent about how he’s trying to fix that problem, instead.

                Of course maybe another reason he wants higher fuel prices is that he wants to make sure rural conservative voters can’t afford to drive to the polls while his urban voters ride public transit to voting booth. In fact, that may have already worked.

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            • George Turner November 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

              Chris: “I’m pretty sure you just made the claim in that last sentence up. Probably as you typed it.”

              George Turner: “No, it was from a recent academic economics paper explaining that ….”

              That’s odd – the commenting software trimmed your citation (authors, year, journal, etc.) right out, as if you never cited the paper.

              Along with trimming out the undoubted fact that you’re not relying on *one* paper to prove much of anything – you’re not, are you?

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    • That’s a good one. Sure, he won a clear majority of the votes. 50%+. Sure, he beat our guy. Sure, the Senate added five or six new Democratic seats.

      But it wasn’t a REAL win.

      Is there a place these rules are written down at, so we know them ahead of time? Because I’m thinking there really is only the one rule: Only Republicans are legitimate.

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      • So, to recap: In 2000, Republicans win the presidency by _one_ electoral vote for a president we’ve never seen before and hence don’t really know what he wants. He loses the popular vote. The Republicans also lose two seats in the House and lose four seats in the Senate.

        And Bush proclaims _that_ is a mandate for Republican policies.

        In 2012, Democrats win the presidency by 97 (+/-29) electoral votes for a president we’ve just seen four years of and presumably know what policies to expect from. He also wins the popular vote. The Democrats also win twenty-two seats in the House and two seats in the Senate.

        And Obama wins during a _high unemployment_, where incumbents are supposed to be at a disadvantage. Oh, and he’s black, and hence there’s a small fraction of the population who will never vote for him.

        And this blowout, of course, is _not_ a mandate for Democratic policies.

        Speaking of blowout, I think the ultimate hypocrite on how to describe an election goes to Dick Morris. Apparently, his prediction of Romney winning by 325-213, aka, Romney winning by 60.4% is called ‘a blowout ‘, but Obama winning, without Florida, by 303-206. That is, for reference, 59.5% of the (decided) EC. And Dick Morris calls it ‘a squeaker’.

        Who knew that 0.9% made such a difference! I guess 50.1%-59.9% is ‘a squeaker’ (Also known as ‘a mandate’ when it’s a Republican), exactly 60.0% is ‘a win’, and 60.1%-100% is ‘a blowout’.

        Please note I’m not talking about his _prediction, which was even stupider than that, as Obama is actually going to win by 332 EV, aka, 61.7% of the total EC. I’m just talking about the word he used to describe Obama’s victory when FL was still in doubt, when Obama had, tada, 59.5% of the EC. vs. the word he used to describe his prediction of a 60.4% win.

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        • Oh, and I somehow forgot to mention the difference in _money_ spent between the two sides under ‘Obama handicaps’.

          Seriously, folks, in 2008 there was the excuse of a idiotic running mate, _and_ the anti-Bush sentiment, _and_ people voting for a historic candidate they perhaps otherwise would not have, _and_ perhaps Obama didn’t have a mandate because no one knew how ‘far left’ (ha) he would govern.

          Yeah, all those excuses are gone this time. All of them. The Republican ticket is, at least, competent. Bush has gone down the memory hole. We’ve already had a black president. We know exactly how Obama governs. And it’s also a recession. And hundreds of millions of dollars in secret spending, a lot of which was used to promote flat-out lies.

          And it’s +127 EVs for the ‘socialist’. +127 EVs for living under Obama.

          I think we’ve forever proven that the right, and the beltway idiots, and half damn the internet, don’t live in the America they _think_ they live in.

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    • Obama lost over 9 million voters compared to 2008, enough that McCain , though still losing, would’ve been with a fraction of a percent of Obama nationally and in Ohio and Florida.

      Turnout for the 2008 election was about 63 percent of eligible voters, a turnout level not seen since the 1960 election 58 years before. Obama won more votes than any previous candidate ever. In short, it was an unusual election year, an anomaly; whereas turnout this year falls more within normal patterns. So, comparing 2008 to 2012 is a bit like comparing apples to oranges and kind of negates your point.

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      • In addition, there’s an awful lot of votes left to be counted. Turnout was obviously still lower than 2008, and Obama’s not going to match his 2008 total, but there’s several million votes left to be counted for each candidate. Romney will almost certainly wind up surpassing McCain’s total.

        In California alone, there’s still about 30% of the vote to be counted, representing well over a million votes for Romney, and potentially about two million for Obama. There’s several other states where each candidate can expect an additional hundred thousand votes or more, and many states where they can each expect tens of thousands of votes. Arizona, for instance, also still has about 30% of its vote to count, which should represent about 250-300,000 Romney votes and 150-200,000 Obama votes. Even Ohio still has about 10 percent of its votes to count, another 250,000 or so votes for each candidate. And so on and so forth. I’m guessing that when it’s all said and done, Romney will wind up exceeding McCain’s total by close to a million and Obama will wind up with maybe around 5 million less than his 2008 total.

        As has long been the case, Republicans win low turnout elections, because they can always count on comparatively higher turnout from conservatives. But as the demographics of the country change, the turnout Democrats need to beat Republicans is going to continue decreasing. It is already the case that in a medium turnout election such as this year’s Republicans can no longer rely on superior turnout from conservatives alone to win. They need to appeal to non-conservatives or at least find a way of convincing lots of minority group members to become conservative. Insisting on complaining that Romney lost because he was too moderate is moving in the opposite direction.

        Romney, for all his faults, really was the GOP’s best chance at beating Obama, and much as I detest the man on the whole, he ran a pretty darn good campaign. He lost because, except for a few days after the first debate, he couldn’t convince many voters that he was the reasonable former governor of Massachusetts rather than the guy selected to represent the party of Limbaugh and Akin.

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    • George Turner November 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      ” And the win is not nearly as clear as it might first appear. Obama lost over 9 million voters compared to 2008, enough that McCain , though still losing, would’ve been with a fraction of a percent of Obama nationally and in Ohio and Florida. The Republican analysts knew Obama had lost a lot of support, and assumed that Romney would easily outperform McCain (because frankly, who couldn’t?)”

      I’m having problems with Google – the phrase ‘hordes of Republicans who dismissed Dubya’s victories in 2000 and 2004 due to margins’ doesn’t yield any hits at all.

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  8. The reelection in spite of the economy did seem to be an endorsement of all the other factors (Obamacare, women’s rights, etc).
    The fact is, if the Republicans hadn’t succeed in taking the house in 2010 and then putting a halt to all further aid to state and local governemnt, and had been more open to other stimulative actions, unemployment would have been below 7.5% (maybe even below 7%) and Obama would have cruised. So reelection in spite of the economic headwinds gives his agenda a good endorsement.
    Plus, you have to factor in the “peculiar” anomaly that is the voting preferences of southern whites (vs the rest of the country, who supported Obama at about 50%).

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  9. i>In other words, it’s hard to argue that your side is the authentic American political movement if you keep losing prominent elections.

    I’d say, instead, that “it’s hard to rationally argue … Because that’s what the GOP is trending towards: irrational, stomp the foot, slap the hands type of argument. They just want things to go they’re way, even tho their way is being slowly undone. And that leads to lots of sleepless nights.

    I’ve said this before, but I’d really like to see the GOP return to sanity, return to balance and compromise, return to rational argument and numbers and debate…, for the sole purpose of acting as a counterbalance to the Dems. And I don’t say that from an ideological pov. I don’t think the Dems are craven socialists or any of that other nonsense. They’ve been, on economic policy issues, much more conservative than conservatives. I’d like to see that balance because the appropriate tension in governing coalitions ought to be between excesses and necessity in fact. Not based on myths.

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  10. “I’d really like to see the GOP return to sanity, return to balance and compromise, return to rational argument and numbers and debate”

    I’m as liberal as they come, and I’d like to see this too. How do we make it happen?

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    • You can’t make it happen. That invisible hand thingie that runs marketplaces will. In the marketplace of ideas that is politics, there has been a market inefficiency going on w/r/t rational argument for some time, on both sides. Obama has been exploiting the shit outta that inefficiency for some time, first beating the crap outta Hillary with it, then the Republicans.

      The Republicans won’t long tolerate losing. The market for rational ideas in governance will even itself out.

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