After a long, historically expensive campaign, this election season is officially over and our 44th President has been reelected. There were lots of great things and some really sucky moments in this campaign. Here are 10 of my favorites.
1. Obama Won: By giving Barack Obama a decisive victory in the Electoral College and a respectable majority of the popular vote, voters showed Mitt Romney that they are not impressed with one of the most secretive and dishonest candidates in recent memory. President Obama can now move forward with his vision of an America in which we care for the most vulnerable among us and ask those who have benefited most of our systems of government, infrastructure, and education to pay a little more into the coffers to pay for it. It’s an America in which we invest in our education system, rather than dismantling it and allowing the private sector to take over. An America that doesn’t rattle sabres and call for more wars, but instead utilizes all diplomatic options before dropping bombs. It’s an America where we believe that our kids should not be hungry, homeless, or destined to die because they get sick. A country believes that after we ask our military personnel to serve overseas, we have an obligation to serve and take care of them when they get home. That’s the America I want to live in.
2. Nate Silver Was Right: Data guru extraordinaire Nate Silver, who runs the New York Times Five Thirty-Eight Blog predicted the results of the 2008 presidential race with unprecedented accuracy, missing the mark in only one state. This time, as his model began to show a high probability of an Obama win, including a sweep of all swing states except North Carolina, the right wing talking heads began to decry his results and accuse him of being biased. Silver uses a model which eliminates human biases by determining long before campaign season how to weight various polls and which other non-polling conditions should be included and to what extent (economic factors, etc.). Simply put, he uses math. That’s right folks, math. And on Tuesday math won when Mr. Silver correctly predicted the results of every state election, much to the chagrin of those who worship the likes of Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh and bought the line of biased polls and oversampling bullshit that they were fed. It is a victory for math. Pay attention conservatives! Math and science are non-partisan.
3. The Rape Gang Legitimately Lost: Todd Legitimate-Rape Akin, Richard God’s-Rape-Baby Murdoch, Roger Some-Girls-Rape-Easy Rivard, John The-Rape-Thing Koster, Joe No-Woman-Dies-From-Pregnancy Walsh, and Tom Having-A-Baby-Out-Of-Wedlock-Is-Like-Rape Smith were all defeated. Paul Rape-Is-Just-Another-Method-Of-Conception Ryan, while hanging on to his House seat was defeated at the top of the ticket.
4. Marriage Equality. And Weed!: Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for recreational use. Maine, Maryland and Washington all voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and Wisconsin (Paul Ryan’s state – how great is that!), by electing Tammy Baldwin, is sending the nation’s first openly gay person to the U.S. Senate. There’s work to do, but the tide is definitely changing on these two issues. FORWARD!
5. 2012 – Year of the woman: President Obama won the women’s vote by 18 points. We’re sending a record number of women – 20 – to the U.S. Senate, one of whom is that body’s first openly gay member. Several of those women defeated members of the Rape Gang. The entire New Hampshire state delegation is female. We’re sending the first Hindu woman to congress. Two words – Elizabeth Warren. Binders full of women went to the polls on Tuesday and sent a message to the old, white political establishment – stay out of our bodies, or face our wrath in the voting booth. Power to the vagina.
6. Super PAC’s Lost: Despite a record amount of money spent by Super PAC’s on the right, funded by billionaires like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, the voters of this country showed them that the substance and character of candidates matter. We told them that our votes are not for sale and that the White House is not simply some piece of real estate they can purchase to expand their influence. Every single candidate Crossroads GPS backed lost. They didn’t win a single of the 7 Senate races they put money into. The people won. We can only hope that Karl Rove and his billionaire backers realize that their money was wasted and reconsider trying to buy our votes.
7. Fox Is Imploding: As election results were pouring in and it became clear that the President would win Ohio, in what was perhaps the most stubborn disregard for facts we’ve seen so far, Karl Rove sat on the Fox News set and decried the fact that Fox’s own Decision Desk had called the race for Obama. Of course, no Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio, so it was a critical swing state. Fox has spent the past month claiming that all the poll were biased to Obama (despite the fact that even Fox’s own polls showed him leading at times), claiming that the Bureau of Labor Statistics made up numbers, and making wild predictions of a Romney landslide. When they realized they were not only wrong, but dreadfully so, heads nearly exploded. I give you video evidence. You have to wonder how the network will even continue to exist and if this will open the eyes of anyone who watches it. You can see it below, and then you should totally go watch Jon Stewart’s take. BTW, his guest was Nate Silver last night. Greatness.
8. The Minority Voice Was Strong: The portion of the electorate made up of white folks was down, while blacks and Hispanics made up a larger portion than in 2008. Those minorities, along with women, voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama and the Democrats. This is, of course, not surprising. A party that talks about women as if they can’t make decisions for their own bodies, encourages immigrants to self-deport, and actively engages in efforts to suppress the vote of minorities can hardly expect those people to come running to its side. Now would be a good time to wake up to the fact that the old, white vote is not enough to win national elections in 21st century America.
9. OH Proved Lying Doesn’t Work: While the Romney campaign spit some really good whoppers over the past few months (think Obama robbing Medicare to pay for Obamacare, or getting rid of the work requirement for welfare recipients, claiming that the Administration was trying to eliminate early voting for veterans, and a nearly endless list of other provably false statements), perhaps the single biggest and most damaging to the candidate was running an ad in Ohio claiming that Chrysler was moving it’s Jeep manufacturing to China. Besides being so unbelievably wrong that the CEO of Chrysler came out publicly to set the record straight, it is pretty much a new low to try to win votes by scaring people into believing they’re going to lose their jobs. What a schmucky thing to do. It’s also a pretty stupid way to lie. If you’re going to do it, don’t do it to the folks who know you’re lying. Fortunately for all of us, the people of OH made an emphatic statement when they cast their votes for the President. It was a good day for truth, and puts future candidate on notice that most folks are smart enough to know bullshit when they smell it.
10. Obamacare is Here To Stay: Barack Obama’s signature policy initiative, one that his predecessors tried to implement for nearly a century will remain the law of the land. The millions of children with preexisting conditions who can no longer be denied coverage because of them, do not have to worry about being dropped. Women will continue to receive contraception without co-pays. Seniors will continue to be able to retire with some amount of dignity. In 2014, adults will no longer be able to be denied for preexisting conditions. Millions of people will have healthcare who did not before and healthcare costs will continue to increase at smaller rates, and eventually go down.
Bonus – Campaigning Is Fun: I’ve never been involved in a political campaign. I’ve always voted, but never been any more active than that. This election was important enough that I jumped in up to my neck and I think I might have found my calling. I have had more fun organizing in my community than I ever thought I would. I’ve met a strong group of like-minded progressives/Dems/liberals here in my red county in my red state and it’s been absolutely fantastic. People are willing to work hard for a cause they believe in but they’ve got to be aware that opportunities to do so exist. I’ve talked to hundreds of people here who have been hiding in the woodwork for fear that they were alone. They’re not. There are a lot of us here and we’re going to keep organizing, keep working, and keep planning to make this state blue. Good times, my friends. Good times.