Friday, November 07, 2008

What does it all mean?

My friend Audrey posted this:

The New Map

Our presidential electoral process distorts the vote to weigh rural areas more than urban areas. This was written into our Constitution in both the Senate and the Electoral College. The cities are finally getting big enough to overcome this hurdle. 80% of the US population lives in cities now - a trend that is not reversing.

Obama is the first Big City Northern Democratic President since JFK. And he won his first presidential bid without any of the following: being a vice president, a governor, a war hero, from a wealthy family, or from a southern state. so let's talk about mandate.

Obama won more than 50% of the popular vote as a Democrat (52%) - the first since the Reagan realignment in 1980, 28 years ago. Since 1900 only 3 Democrats have won a clear popular vote majority. Carter, Johnson, Roosevelt Wilson JFK and Clinton all won because of a split ticket. 10 Republicans since 1900 have won a clear majority - McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes.

There are may more historical precedents here besides which country his dad was from and his skin color.

The 20th century Democratic Presidents

Wilson was an openly racist son of wealthy confederate slave owners in Virgina who won twice because of a split Democratic party

FDR was a Wealthy Big City North-Eastern Liberal disabled man Governor of New York who won because of an economic crisis and the new technology of Radio

Truman was a former VP and War Hero narrowly won re-election with a rural whistle-stop tour

JFK a Wealthy Big City North-Eastern Liberal Catholic War Hero from Boston who narrowly won by mastering the new technology of TV

Johnson a former VP and War Hero Southerner from Texas who married wealth and ran as southern rural poor folk who came up in the world

Carter was ia Wealthy Southern peanut farmer and Sunday School Teacher Governor from Georgia won by having a national strategy

Clinton was was a Southern Governor of Arkansas who was the head of the Texas McGovern Campaign and won because of a split ticket

Obama is a biracial middle class Big City Machine Politics Chicago community organizer from Hawaii and Senator of Illinois who won by mastering the new technology of the Internet and having a national strategy also helped by a economic crisis

Here is a electoral map history of the US:

My response:

I would like to mention that Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, and by most measures would have won Florida and the Presidency had voter intent been correctly recorded. He did this overcoming a ticket split by Nader (not in Gore's favor, unlike Perot). Not to mention a mainstream press punditry that thought their own personal dislike for Gore was worthy of being presented as 'news'. I think Obama's victory represents a trend, temporarily derailed by 9/11 and the exploitation of it, as the Democratic Party has overcome the crippling assassinations of its most charasmatic leaders, and has also completed its transformation from a strange marriage of very liberal and southern Democratic remnants to a party that represents the mainstream of American values. Meanwhile, the Republican party has lurched rightward and fearward, relying on a coalition of establishment, monied urban fiscal conservatives and radical Christian evangelicals, creating their own strange marriage.

Looking at it that way, the last eight years could be seen as a desperate, hail mary attempt by the Republicans to hold onto power in the face of a much more logical and stable coalition. Their tools? Fear, loyalty to the Republican Brand, cultivation of a conservative press, and electoral shenanigans.

In addition, the Bush administration has not pursued an earnest ideological agenda for the most part, preferring to hand out the Government's assets to their big campaign contributors, disguising this grift as 'policy'. As the disaster created by this administration (and their willing accomplices in the Congress and in the press) unfolds, the Republican brand has been sullied, stripping away the last of the facade and pushing lots of people left behind(!) by the Republican Party over to the Democrats. And also, pushing a lot of those mainstream Pundits over as well.

All that was left was to field a decent candidate, run a strong, organized campaign, and register enough voters to overcome shenanigans. The candidate was extremely strong in terms of inspiration and organization - a little more challenged in terms of comfort with the needed crossover voters due to his background, name, skin color and experience level, but spectacularly able to reassure those voters.

The Democrats have captured the center ideologically and now have captured the Government politically. They are under no obligation to reach out to the remnants of the Republican machine. The Republicans are in a position where they must adjust for the sake of their political lives. Especially if this new Government is able to prove its worth to Americans over the next four years. And I think they will, especially as people are forced to think more about how to feed their families and less about whether abortions and gay marriages are happening and whether the terrorists are coming to their town.


Blogger Andy said...

Gore did win the popular vote in 2000, but he didn't get over 50% of the popular vote, which seems to be one of the points your friend was making.

My take? I have always thought that the ability of the candidate to campaign and to articulate well, was more important than the technical analysis that is employed over what religion, or where they are from (texas), or anything else. I think that's true of JFK as well, as Nixon was also on TV. That said, I didn't think a black man could win in America, but it appears I was more right the first time.

8:56 AM  

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