Why Obama won re-election
The Kansas City Star
There will be a couple of dozen explanations for the president’s re-election, and all will have merit. Most are pretty obvious:
The president’s campaign understood the power of the growing nonwhite population. They targeted demographic segments with sophisticated, focused marketing.
Romney was hamstrung by the right wing of the Republican Party, which forced candidates to the hard right during the primaries and twisted the nominee into a pretzel for the general campaign.
Romney took the wrong position on saving the car companies, and it cost him big in Ohio. And most people knew that Obama believes that hard work and personal initiative do build businesses.
Romney doesn’t need my pity, but he would have been a better candidate if he hadn’t been forced to pretend to be something he wasn’t. I’m not sure exactly what Mitt believes, but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t wear a three pointed hat.
But here are are a few other thoughts about what happened:
Republicans thought they had the enthusiasm factor. But social psychologists know that people, while motivated by the possibility of gain, are more motivated by the threat of loss. And a Romney presidency threatened the hard won gains of a lot of constituencies:
Labor mobilized to maintain their jobs and bargaining power.
Women responded to maintain freedom of choice and equal pay.
Students reacted to the possible loss of student grants and loans.
Latinos fought to hold onto an ownership in the American experience.
African-Americans reacted to the perceived threat to civil rights, and their quiet determination was demonstrated by standing in long lines to vote. Their mood wasn’t enthusiasm as much as stubborn persistence that said, ‘You tell me I can’t vote, I’ll show you I darn well will.’
My favorite image from this election was from news coverage of the president at a Chicago poll location to cast his early ballot. The camera showed an older black women who took the president’s ballot at her desk. She couldn’t help but sneak a peek, and the president saw her look at the ballot to see who he voted for, and he teased her. But good grief, can’t you just feel the incredible pride she must have experienced accepting the ballot of the nation’s first black president?
Conservatives need feel no shame in this loss. It was not conservative thought that lost this election. It was extremism. My prediction is that President Obama will disappoint liberals in his second term by going for changes necessary to get the budget under control. This will mean changes in entitlements, but it will also require taxes on the very wealthy.
It’s time for the extreme elements of the Republican Party to quit doubting the polls and the messages of the election. The Republican Party can’t insult half the population and tell women what to do with their bodies and expect to win elections.
Most important, Republican leaders need to repudiate the birthers and Donald Trump clowns who have come to symbolize, though they really don’t represent, the party.
The American populace is truly the melting pot that Ellis Island symbolizes, and America is not the image of 1950’s TV shows.
I’m one of the old white guys who would benefit greatly from a 20% tax cut, and I don’t want it. I’d rather have an America where people can see a doctor if they get sick. I’d rather have an America where people who work with their hands can retire with dignity when their bodies wear out from work.
I’m really quite happy with an America where there are lots and lots of people who don’t look like me, and I’m happy with a president who represents all of us.