Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election 2012, After Action Report, part 1

I stayed up until 3am last night, awaiting the concession and victory speeches, and then generally having the post-victory high.  This was so important and don't let the pundits - a dying breed we all hope - tell you otherwise.  [Note, I am not a pundit; I am an independent blowhard.] A few points:

1. While Obama lost some states from 2008, you can't seriously have expected him to carry Indiana again, did you?  November 2008, like 1932, like 1976, was in the shadow of Republican catastrophe (and a bit of a mixture of both years, Bush being a combination of Hoover and Nixon).  We got lucky in 1932 and 2008 to elect a manifestly talented urban leader (not so lucky in 1976).  Yes, as I said yesterday, if the Democrats ran a white male (governor from a Southern state even more so), 2008 would have been a huge trouncing.  While I like style points, I invoke the Steelers manta: a W is a W is a W.

2. The broken Press wants to say that this is a narrow victory and a perpetuation of the status quo.  Nope.  Compare to 2000 when Bush lost to Gore 291 to 246, or in 2004 when Bush beat Kerry 286 to 251.  Those are close.  When Florida is counted for Obama, the win will be 332 to 206.  That's pretty big.  The popular vote margin is coming in as well, and Obama will likely get 51% to 48.  Again, that sounds small, but it's still more than Bush and Gore each in 2000; and it's worth remembering that the acclaimed Bill Clinton never broke 50%.

3. Another sign of a great night is that the Democrats gained in the Senate (they finally declared MT and ND), going from 53 to 55 - which sounds small, but this was a year when 22 of the 33 contested seats were Democratic (the class of 2006 when we spat in Bush's eye).  That's a significant margin of victory.   Also, many of the wins were against utterly noxious GOP thugs, like the pro-rape dudes in the Midwest, the wrestling tycoon in CT, and the nudie model in MA.  It was nice to retain VA, FL, OH, PA and other swing states.  And we also gained some seats in the House.

4.  Anyone watching last night found out how not close the race was by being reminded of what Nate Silver had been publishing all year - that Romney's coalition was so weak that he needed to win every toss-up to get to 270 (the metaphor that works for me is the NFL playoffs, "one-and-done"). 

5. Yet, all told, while the evening showed that it wasn't a "close race" that didn't come easily.  The reason Obama won was because of an amazing get-out-the-vote effort.  Without that machinery, this election could definitely have gone the other way: I still have nightmares of November 3, 2004.  I was sure that Kerry had won - mainly because Bush was patently horrible.  But Karl Rove worked the levers of the system better than anybody before.  Now Obama's crew can show how to fight back against voter suppression.

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