December 14, 2019

2012 – A bewildering election

Posted on 19. Dec, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics

Around 48% of American voters are licking their wounds while about 52% are licking their chops now that the greatest show on earth has finally come to an end.  I’m speaking of course about the Presidential election – the one that cost campaign contributors over a billion smackeroos.

In its wake, I’ve struggled to understand how 95% of all Blacks, 71% of all Hispanics and 55% of all women (who have all suffered the most since 2008) voted for the man who has presided over the biggest economic catastrophe since the 30s (I know, I know, ‘Bush did it all and left the President with a mess.’).

That mantra’s been heard more often than Hail to the Chief – and you really have to have some high numbers to outdo the times the President’s triumphal entry music is played, believe me.

Seems that voters were not as concerned about rising unemployment, escalating poverty, widespread food stamp use, falling house values, a burgeoning national debt and the coming fiscal cliff as I thought.

That’s where the Republicans were wrong, too. They thought the American electorate was singularly focused on America’s pocketbook. After all, previous generations thought with their wallet, why should this one have been any different? The answers were right in front of the Republicans all along, and had they looked, they would have recognized the telltale signs of a coming Democratic victory.

The President’s party had kept people on the ground in key parts of the U.S. after the 2008 election as a kind of motivational ‘mod squad.’ They steadily organized get out the vote campaigns, and they were deeply immersed into fund raising – with the President holding out the biggest tin cup man had ever seen!

They had also devised a masterful and winning strategy that included destroying the opposition by playing the ‘old white men’ race card on candidates, labeling them as against women’s reproductive rights because they didn’t support government-provided birth control or abortions.

They cozyed up to the media and celebritydom full-well knowing that Hollywood actors occupy choice real estate on America’s Mount Olympus. Then they used the social media to shotgun their message of coolness, progressivism, and inclusivity to the mind-numbed living on or by this new American jungle drum of mediocrity.

Admittedly, the Republicans willingly shot themselves in their own feet from time to time or hung themselves with rope happily supplied by the DNC. For example, I would really like to know which boneheaded consultant told Governor Romney that he should use a phrase like self-deport when talking about his immigration reform ideas. Personally, I believe the Governor lost all or most of the Hispanic vote that night on the strength of that one, hyphenated word.

The huge African-American/Black vote came as no surprise, as most political analysts believed that that community would readily support their man for another four. What was shocking was the size of the percentage AND the fact that the Republicans hadn’t bothered to cultivate that vote or at least Conservative Black voters long before the final months of the campaign.

Military tacticians and corporate strategists would do well to study the Obama re-election campaign.

It was both successful and revelatory. Not only did it help a President remain in the White House but it also unveiled the real America for all to see.

We know more about our electorate now than ever before. We know it listens to NPR, the Daily Show and Bill Maher. We know it is easily persuaded by ethnic or gender-charged messages delivered by specialty haranguers. We know it values smartphones, Facebook and You Tube over church on Sunday, and we know that it is perpetually hungry for something new.

I have no doubt that the new Administration will definitely give them that in spades. It remains to be seen what they’ll do with it. I think I know what the other 48% will do.

- Editor

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