Thursday, November 08, 2012

4 more years! At the very least?

Well, there was an election with no surprise for me. Yes, truly, I never doubted Obama would be reelected, that the Senate would remain Democrat (well, I had some doubts 6 months ago about the senate but after the rape idiocies that was that), and that the house would remain Republican. yet I followed part of election night because I was wondering about how divided the US of A had become. Looking at the congressional map from the Washington Post, it is actually staggering: Democrats are basically pushed over the periphery and Republicans get all the in between. You cannot make up such stuff.


Had I been a US citizen I would have voted for Obama because I simply cannot vote for a Republican the way things are now (a disclaimer of sorts, I suppose). I cannot reconcile my love of balanced budgets, and reasonable spending with a basically anti gay, anti minority platform that does not admit its name.  What is truly interesting in the results that I saw is that Obama has no mandate and got actually less votes than 4 years ago: losing 9 million votes and still winning the White House is quite a feat if you ask me! As far as I am concerned Obama did not quite deserve reelection but then again the Republicans and Mitt Romney did not deserve to replace him either. And the results confirm my opinion all along.

Obama certainly inherited a difficult situation in 2008 and probably did the best he could, avoiding further damage to the economy. He also had the temple to make a few bold moves such as having Osama Bin Laden executed. On the other hand he could not go beyond band-aids, and misread the Arab Spring perhaps even more than the Europeans. He has not been a great president but then again I am sure that he would have been treated fairly to well by history had he lost Tuesday. The thing is that he won without really offering anything, and for me with a disturbing redolence of wanting to stay at the white House for the sake of it, a la Chavez if I may forgiven the grotesque comparison since I always get upset when right wing nut jobs equate Obama to Chavez. Obama truly got a second chance, and on the razor. There is no mandate no matter what some pundits try to say because if on the electoral college he did well enough by beating Romney with not even 3 million votes was poor to outright bad. (1)

I think that the election should also be looked upon on a different angle: the close result means for me that the Democrats showed how little they can get and the Republicans how much they can achieve under the current conditions. If you look at it this way it is extremely bad news for the Republicans who may be in the dog house for the next 12 years.

By all standards things are not going well in the US. True, they are not going well anywhere in the world except for a few spots such as Chile of Poland. By all logic Republicans should have done better than what they did. Why did they flunk in the end? We can point of course some of the obvious: a brutal primary season, overloaded by useless debates which made anyone seem unelectable.  There is a first lesson there for the Republicans: next time limit yourself to one debate a month, period. You need to stand up to the media that want to make primaries a circus, void of content and full of drama.

But the real problem for the Republicans is not on excessive debates, or even in a refurbished candidate who in the end had little to do with the pragmatic governor of Massachusetts. The problem is that the Republican party has allowed itself to become first the hostage of the religious right and then the hostage of the scorched earth tea-partiers. The consequences are clear to see in the exit polls: it seems that even the Cuban vote of Florida split evenly! As  far as I can tell only white males and retirees went Romney: all other groups went from even split to massively Democrat. I read idiots such as Gary Bauer saw that as a positive, that the Republican coalition stuck together and that there was no need to change. What Republican coalition? As a matter fact it is people like Gary Bauer that are sinking the Republican party.

What Republicans should get from Tuesday result is that considering the current political conditions, this is as much as they will ever get for the next ten years. The demographics are now against them and unless they do something about refurbishing their platform to include more folks, Republicans are not going to get more than 58 million votes, leaving any potential victory to a lucky Democratic abstention.  They should be further sobered up by the fact that the Obama/Democratic coalition that won Tuesday won with the lowest score it could get. That is right, that Obama lost ground between 2008 and 2012 means up to a point that the 60 million votes he got are the least votes Democrats can expect to win for the next 10 years. Any improvement in the economy, any move toward a less divisive approach to US society, and any Democrat gets the nod in 2016 can count on no less than 65 million for the general election. Right now, if the GOP stays mentally as it is, it will be lucky to get back the MacCain 60 million votes. Expect plenty of Democrats throwing their hats in the ring very soon.

What can the Republicans do? I would suggest them to act quickly but decisively. The good news for them is that they really do not need to do much if they do it well. For example they do not need to renounce to their non abortion policy completely,  just amend it to allow it for rape, incest and mother's health. For a year or two some evangelicals are going to foam at the mouth but by 2016 the decision will be history and the Republicans can look forward a less skewed advantage for Democrats in the women's votes. Plus two senate seats at least....

If it is too late to gain gay or black votes, but by dropping their useless Federal opposition to gay marriage and leaving it for states to decide some psychological advantage may be won. Such a slight mellowing on an issue that in the long term is a lost cause can soften enough the image among moderate Democrats who could again consider voting for some Republicans again. And in big gay states, such as NY, CA and MA, at least at local level wealthy gays or blacks may be willing to consider their options and not remain hostages of the Democratic party they way they are now. Look at the Wisconsin results and take note: being a Democratic Lesbian is not going to be enough to rally the Republican troops against her.

Taming the Tea Party, I concede, is not going to be as easy. But Boehner is on the right track by offering a fiscal deal with Obama ASAP. The euphemistic "increased revenue" is the sin that does not dare to speak its name: taxes.  By purging what needs to be purged in Congress now is a win-win game for the more rationale Republicans. If the Tea Party rebels, the may settle the score once and for all in the mid term primaries of 2014. A revengeful Tea Party victory will lead to a Republican catastrophe in 2016 and then the party can finally rebuild along more sensible lines. If the Tea Party sobers up or is defeated in 2014 primaries  then, why not, a Republican win is possible in 2016.

Whatever it is, the Republican road ahead is way more difficult than the Democratic one. But that does not mean the Democrats have it easy. The "Latino" vote for example should not be taken for granted as the gay and black votes are. First there is the constant temptation to take it all as a whole, made worse as enough Cubans are finding their way to the Dems. That is and will remain a mistake. First, a portion of the lost Gop Cubans in Florida could be well made up as the Venezuelan immigration finds its way to citizenship. Second, the Catholic or religious nature of the Central American Latinos will make sure that a large portion will find their ways to Gop heaven, as long as immigration is seriously and humanly tackled by the Republicans. If there is a "minority" that could eventually split even it is the ill called "Latino" because of its diversity of interests. The first one who truly understands that a Cuban does not think like a Venezuelan, or a Mexican, or a Puerto Rican, or a Colombian or an etc., will be able to secure a solid portion of that constituency. That is why I think the weak link in the "Obama coalition" is the Latino vote.

I am sorry for the many conservative readers of this blog who often expressed strong criticism over my positions. They lost and I am sure it stung a lot. But no more than what Chavez victory trashed me last October 7. And I do not take great comfort,  trust me, in having told you that Obama was doing better than what you thought, at least on an electoral perspective. However you can take solace that there are things that your party could do, that could even bring someday someone like me to vote for your guys. This is more than I get in Venezuela where I see no hope anytime soon, not only because of chavista idiocy but because the opposition remains quite clueless on too many things. As for those who cheer Obama's victory, be aware that even as I would have voted for Obama by default rather than conviction, I think his victory is no mandate and not truly deserved. Let's hope that in the next 4 years he proves his true worth.

To end this post a small, almost irrelevant note. As far as I am concerned Obama or Romney would not have made any difference in regards to Venezuela. Obama did not do anything more or less than Clinton or Bush did. Nor would have Romney done much differently. El Chiguire Bipolar had it right when it poked that the US was voting for the president that Chavez would be insulting for the next 4 years. Had I voted in the US, Chavez at last would have not been a factor for me :-)

1) I am using numbers as posted in NYT or WaPo as of Thursday 3 PM, numbers may vary but the gist will remain




39 comments:

  1. Great analysis as always Daniel. I believe you have a strong point saying that many Latinos would go Republican if they dare changing their immigration policies. Religion really makes a difference for them. Actually, I was telling my sister, who lives in the USA, how scary was that this election had a really big religious influence. The fact that Romney is a Mormon did cost him many votes. USA instead of putting religion aside (like Europe) is letting it play a really big role. i.e. Creationism taught at schools

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    1. Creationists! Another reason why not to vote Republican.....

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  2. Obama came out for gay marriage, and THEN took the gay vote for granted.

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    1. Jeff,

      The post is way more about dems and gops than barack and mitt. As such the gay vote is taken for granted by the democrats.

      More than courting gays, the endorsement of gay marriage was to mobilize them at a time where reelection was not a given. What Obama did was to secure phone banks staff.

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    2. And a lot of cash more for the campaign for sure.

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  3. Obama's campaign team was brilliant and that is why he won. They applied applied math all the way to target the right people and campaign in the right places. People always forget about applied mathematics but those that use it always get an edge.

    http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-who-helped-obama-win/

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    1. I think it is a good idea to separate strategy from its implementation or from the message. Nobody is saying that the campaign of Obama was bad: after all one year ago he was losing and in the end he won without any favorable break through happening.

      Need I remind do you that Capriles campaign was brilliant and yet he lost?

      Using math certainly helps but is not enough. And it certainly did not give Obama a mandate.

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  4. Great Post. Being a Venezuelan living abroad, not in the US. I expected anyone from the Republican Party to win this year, then again I was also expecting anyone from the opposition in Venezuela to win. The last thing that we need, in the Venezuela case is to let our disappointment to drive our political strategy, by not voting and letting Chavez to make Venezuela redder.

    I sense that the title for this year's election would be, "How the Republicans Screwed up", and Daniel's post covers very well, every angle, every aspect, why the GOP lost a precious and golden moment, to defeat the product of the American media, Because that what Obama really is.

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  5. I see the country heading towards authoritarianism in the next four years. Obama will cut a deal with Iran that will be bad for freedom. The US of A is no longer a free nation and the past election now proves it.

    Economic controls. Fuel rationing. Food rationing. Censorship. Innovation halted. Stagflation and stagnation. Rise of populism. Crime on the rise. Property rights diminished further than even with Kelo. China and Russia will be the new world powers for the next 100 years.

    These are my humble opinions.

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    1. Last time i checked the GOP had the House, about 30 governors, a majority of the Supremes and even a filibuster friendly Senate. I think there is no room for such a gloomy assessment. Comparing Obama with Chavez in this register is not productive at all. Not to mention that the GOP suffers from its own brand of Populism and with the creationists lurking inside it would not be promoting research and innovation as much as you seem to imply. My humble opinion.

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    2. Russia new world super power?
      Censorship? Economic controls? Oh, boy!

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  6. Looking at that map, it is noticeable an interesting (although irrelevant) parallel between Venezuelan and US elections in terms of demographics. In both countries urban dwellers, the young and females voted blue whereas rural folks, older people and males voted red.

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    1. I think it is more relevant than what you think. Chavismo is a reactionary movement and the GOP has become reactionary itself. This is not the party of Lincoln no more.

      Of course, defining reactionary as a return to an Arcadia that only existed in the feverish mind of a few.

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  7. Regarding the Latino vote and how it could have gone either way a commentator in CNN hit the nail in the head when she said that 'Romney self-deported himself from the White House during the primaries when debating the immigration issue'.

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  8. Daniel The "Religious Right" as you put it number approximately 25 million in the US. If they should not be welcomed in the Republican party: Where then should they take their presence? It has been the position of the Christian Church for more than 2,000 years, that homosexuality is activity that the unchanging God has declared abhorrent. Don't look for the 25 million to change their minds on the issue. Also as always your sympathy with socialism is unfathomable to me. The vote was purchased with the give away of free stuff just like Venezuela.What we just witnessed was the rise of Neo-paganism and the willingness to sell the future of the nation for a cell phone (and with documentation) bottles of vodka. We are seeing the clash of Judeo-Christian values with those of the US Pagan pool, which are quite different.

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  9. Start your own party, Ken, and take them all with you.

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    1. Thank you for replying to Ken. It always amazes me how these people are surprised to have such a hard time building a coalition while calling socialist whomever disagrees with them.....

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  10. we are a nation of self-serving, self-centered voters who look at the election not from the perspective of what is best for America but what is best for' me'.

    I think it necessary to have party reforms.We need parties who emphasize more basic concerns like the economy, law , order, ,foreign policy,or any concern that benefits all citizens rather than making special interest groups and their blackmailing stubbornness the basis for a platform.

    I don't give 2 hoots about abortion rights if we have no law and order, a bad economy, and a flawed health care system that destroys the budget of the middle class.The Christian Right has indeed ruined the Republican party with its insistence on not wanting to pay for abortions which they consider murder, but these same said people don't mind the wars....the tea party is another doozy....go figure...the same with the mindless stuff on the Democratic side, who like thought Nazis call everyone a bigot or racist when they do not agree with them on their special issues.

    We need reform of this ridiculous special interest voting.People better get less self centered before we lose our freedom.One side is not even a tad bit better than the other.

    Right now we have most people voting for details and ignoring the essential.Children do that.We cannot afford it; it is dividing the Nation in a dangerous way.firepigette

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  11. What joke. The American public has spoken and loudly declared "more free stuff pronto." Obama appealed to the freeloaders, the low information voters, and minorities by demonizing the GOP and Mitt Romney. Obama's cynical, dishonest, smear campaign succeeded at keeping potential Romney voters at home on election day by painting him as a heartless plutocrat when in truth Romney is the far more generous man with his time and money. On the other hand, Barack "I am my brother's keeper!" Obama lets his actual brother stew in abject poverty in a mud hut in Kenya. Yeah, Obama's campaign was brilliant, if you're a Machiavellian or an Alinskyite like him. Romney ran a campaign about big ideas and fixing the epic problems we face made much worse by Obama's poisonous policies. It's simply astounding that instead of hiring the guy with a long resume of turning around failing enterprises, voters chose the community organizer parasite.



    As for the hispanic vote: "However you can take solace that there are things that your party could do, that could even bring someday someone like me to vote for your guys."

    Yeah, but we're note getting the educated types like Daniel or my Colombian wife. The United States is effectively Mexico's outsourced welfare program. They encourage their low-skilled, illiterate, poor to emigrate here saving themselves the burden while receiving millions of $ in remittances back. There stands the Democrats at the border with big bags of cash while loudly proclaiming the Republicans are racist. Democrats are rewarded handsomely for their efforts.


    "Obama did not do anything more or less than Clinton or Bush did. "

    Bullshit. Bush and Clinton didn't give their moral support to Chavismo by bear hugging Chavez and calling him "mi amigo" at a meeting where Chavez and his flunkies repeatdly insulted the United States. Bush never would have come down on the side of Chavez and Castro after the coup in Honduras.

    We're all going to reap the whirlwind now but I do take one small comfort: most of the morons who voted for Obama are going to be hurt the worst in the end when the logical results of his policies kick in. Good. Let them burn.

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    1. 1) I trust you sensed that I am no big fan of Obama. No?

      2) for the sake of historical clarity, it is Chavez that cornered Obama, forcing him to shake hands. Obama is many things but he is reasonably polite and eats with forks and knives. So he could not slap Chavez at that occasion.

      I can assure you that I have observed Obama and Chavez enough to assure you that Obama is no friend. We certainly can argue as to whether Obama is right in considering that Chavez is not a threat but that cannot be interpreted as Obama supporting chavez.

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    2. But: "Chavez announced at the beginning of October that if he could vote in the U.S. election it would be for Obama. The leftist leader and strong man, who has used strong anti-United States language in his political rallies and official speeches, told state-owned VTV, "In the point of view of his politics, if I were voting, I would vote for Obama and I believe that if Obama was from Caracas, he would vote for Chavez, I am positive."

      Of course when one points this out Democrats say that Chavez says that only so that people not vote for Obama ,and so that if Romney wins, the world will hate the US even more : some convoluted logic ! We can always rationalize any statement to fit our world view, which is my point.When people have a personal interest, and a small viewpoint to one side, nothing that is said or done convinces them of the other view point.

      But my observation here in the US( as someone largely surrounded by Liberal Democrats, and I do not have one single Republican friend or family member) a good portion of these Dems believe that Chavez is kind of good,but inefficient,yet because he is helping the poor,he is better than most, and Jimmy Carter represents this population fairly well.

      firepigette

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  12. "He also had the temple to make a few bold moves such as having Obama executed."

    Uh??? Didn't you mean instead: "He also had the TIME to make a few bold moves such as having USAMA (bin Laden) executed"?

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    1. Right! Oops! Dumb spell checker!

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  13. Paul: You sound like a Republican sore loser. The ones who started with the smearing tactics and bad politics were the Reps. Remember Trump requesting "long form birth certificate" from the President of the USA. Comments attacking latinos, gays, african americans by Rush Limbaugh and the lot. How about the Rep leaders saying things about how women who get pregnant from rape should consider it a "gift from god".

    You cannot throw stones when you live in a glass house my friend.

    Add to that the fact that Romney was the biggest flip flopper in the history of US politics didnt do him any favors. In the age of internet and social media you cannot hope to say one thing today and take a diffrent stance on that same thing the next day or next week, hope no one finds out, and NOT turn off potential voters.

    The GOP would have been better of running Sarah Palin. You have to stand for something or you will fall for anything someone once said.

    I was a Republican once. I voted for Regan and Bush senior. I witnessed first hand how the Tea Baggers and Religous right wing nuts took over and have all but destroyed what was once a proud party.

    I agree with Daniel. They are no longer the party of Lincoln. At least not as they are now. And until they reform and cut ties with the tea baggers and christian crusaders they will continue to lose many more elections to come.

    Nothing, not even a bad economy, scares people more than religous right wing nuts with guns. They can actually get elected if we are not carefull. History has many examples.

    One of, if not THE, biggest problems the GOP has is it has managed to back itself into a Demographic Cul-de-Sac and if they dont do something fast they will surely descend into political oblivion sooner rather than later.

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  14. Angry lonely democrats on the move it seems

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  15. Daniel it would also be nice to open up the comments so every bit of data isn't routed thru blogger or some such BS.

    Ima HalfEMpty

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    1. HalfEmpty

      For the time being I am still in the recovery period from October. I am not in the mood of our write much and even less to put up with comments. In particular the chavista comment bomber which the current system seems to keep at bay. Maybe in january I will ease up.

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  16. And remember, Mario Rubio isn't really a Republican. So sleep tight.
    Srsly. Your time will last forever and you will be remember on the scrolls.


    .5mt

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    1. You mean Marco?

      He is not a Republican, you are right. He is Cuban ;-)

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  17. Here's a little 1 minute of link you may wish to see, if it all sounds familiar...

    "In total, there are 21 districts in Cleveland (Ohio) where Mr. Romney received precisely 0 votes. In 23 districts, he received precisely 1 vote. And naturally, in one of the districts where Obama won 100% of the vote, there was 100% turnout. What a coincidence!

    By the way, in case you are thinking that Romney did so poorly because maybe those districts were not very populated: Nope. In those 44 districts, Mr. Obama won 14,686 to 23. That's .16% of the vote for Romney."

    At this link, there's another which links to the same district in Florida that seemed to find 1000's of Democrat votes in an effort to oust Allen West, in St. Lucie County, Florida they had over 140% voter turnout.

    http://www.punditpress.com/2012/11/what-luck-obama-won-dozens-of-cleveland.html?spref=tw

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    1. The difference is that in Ohio Romney has courts he can visit for redress.

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  18. Come on, Daniel, is calling those who disagree with you "idiotic" and "right wing nut jobs" your way of showing graciousness in victory? May I suggest that bashing those on the other side is perhaps not the most enlightened or constructive way of going about things?

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    1. I would suggest that you take a remedial reading class because you clearly did not understand the specific use I made of "right wing nut job" nor the context I used for it. In fact, this post is rather respectful of Republicans in general suggesting ways in which they could enlarge their voting base. Miles away from any bashing.

      As such it you who writes comments that are not constructive.

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    2. Thank you for replying to my comment. I concede that most of your post is tolerant and even respectful of Republicans and you are to be commended for that. I value your insights immensely and have learned much from your commentary even if I may disagree with you from time to time. But how boring would the world be if we all saw things the same way? Keep up the good work and sharing your tremendous insightfulness with us. My small suggestion has already been provided above - perhaps bashing was not the right word, but using any sort of label can be a bit off-putting.

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  19. Totally agree with the fact that the Latino vote is not lost/won forever. I'm always in awe of the little understanding that the US has of the neighbors on the south side of the continent. I'm a Venezuelan living in San Antonio, TX, a city that has a large Mexican influence. I know first hand how different we think, and how different we are. Dems and the GOP need to understand that.

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  20. Sometimes is hard to take you seriously when you say things like " avoiding further damage to the economy" regarding obama. So, putting $6 trillions in additional debt with nothing to show for, you consider no further damage? You made some brilliant evaluation of the elections in Venezuela, but totally miss the mark when it comes to elections in the US. Perhaps is because you do not live here. You get your opinions based on reports/articles/books, perhaps a visit here and there...in short other people's oppinions. It's not the same when you live here. Just like is not the same to have a feeling for Venezuela when you don't live there. That is why we read your post about it. The US has become a divided nation, the partisan concepts of how to govern the nation are virtually mutually exclusive. One where Govermnet is supreme and drives to a minumun common denominator; all the same all poor all dependent on goverment. Another where the indivual bear the consequences of his decisions, government is a facilitator, and entrepeneurs create wealth. This country has decided the former, and we will all pay the price. Don't counsel us to change our priciples, it would equate to us telling the oppo in Venezuela to look more like Chavez, sell out for a few votes in December.
    While Chavez and Obama are not the same, I can't believe you don't see similarities in the tactics before election. Free stuff (ovens there, cell phones here), Propaganda Machine (while over there there was a take over of media, over here the media give its support to obama voluntarily), Voting Shenannigans (you have posts on this for venezuela, there was a post here about similiar stuff in the US).
    You said "I never doubted Obama would be reelected", I apologize I didn't see the post where you mentioned it, but that is quite an impresive insight. Using that same insight, would you dare to speculate how will the US look like (unemployment, debt, economy, gas price, etc)during the next 4 years?
    I apologize if the tone of the post seem antagonistic, but Obama to the US is very similar than Chavez to Venezuela as far as the destructive effect they will have on their respective nations over the next 4 years. Orlando

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    1. Let's take your complaint by individual items.

      With the years lived interest USA, most south of the Mason Dixon line, and my here and there visits I must be close to 18 years total. That means that I may not have an exact feel "right now" but I can still claim to have a feel for the country.

      Obama did not decide on his own to throw 6 trillion to the street. If memory serves me well Bush 2 had already started or hinted at taking that way. And there was a Congress that voted on that. I am not justifying the money flood but I think it is unfair to put the blame alone on Obama. Whether it worked is another discussion but one thing is certain: the US is doing better than Europe. Better does not mean good, it just means better than....

      I am not talking about changing principles. I was discussing about changing approaches in case the GOP wants to be considered more seriously as a party for government. Now if you consider that the GOP should run on stiff principles, more power to you. Just be prepared to lose the House soon and the White House for the next 12 years. Then again a major disaster may come so the GOP may be returned to office sooner than expected.

      Whatever it is worth, 90% of my US friends voted for Obama. I was more dubious than they were about the merits of Obama.

      And since this is already long enough, to end this you are the only truly negative comment. And you are not the lone one living in the US. Obviously more agree with me than disagree. That does not make me right but allows me to question your premises.

      Finally, equating Obama with Chavez is so outlandish that I prefer not to reply. Pena ajena...

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  21. Anonymous11:06 PM

    Before Obama was for gay marriage he was against it. Before that he was for it.

    ReplyDelete

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