Post-Election Thoughts 2012

by drrafael

A few thoughts on Election 2012, in no particular order:

1) Tea Party — with the defeat of Allen West, Joe Walsh and almost Michelle Bachmann, the Tea Party brand seems a bit toxic to voters. That doesn’t mean that they will cede , I expect them to amplify — the question is how the GOP responds to that.

2) Pundits — from George Will to Dick Morris, the influential pundits unquestionably prove themselves as nothing but ideologues masquerading as thoughtful analysts. And what is the consequence for this epic fail: absolutely nothing. They’ll still write columns and appear on the Sunday political shows as they represent the ‘balance’ our media so desperately craves. Remember: the point is not to work toward knowledge and truths — that is not the role of the media — but to simply enable a point/counterpoint with facts and reason secondary to the exercise.

On a local level, we get nothing better– ideologues telling us stuff not from thoughtful analysis or consideration but what fits with their ideology.  And their consequence?: radio time.

3) Science– somehow we allow a political conversation as valid regardless of how willingly it defies basic principles of science. So if I run a set of statistics to support my argument, you can merely claim that my data is ‘skewed’ with no underlying counter analysis and in our warped political theater, that becomes good enough. Or, I can claim that global climate change simply does not exist, not based upon a reasoned scientific argument but indeed as a counter to overwhelming scientific evidence.  Or I can fabricate how female anatomy works to accommodate my ideological views. Or a party whose orthodoxy requires you to dismiss evolution.

4) Equality — the issues of marriage equality are moving very fast, faster than I certainly expected. What had been a social wedge issue helping the right now looks to be a social edge helping the left. I consider myself progressive as this issue, like most issues over the past centuries, progresses toward more openness and more equality. In my view, that’s what defines progressiveness: you adapt with the world and your understanding of the world around you.

5) War on Drugs — what has been a disastrous policy in cost and lives now seems to be moving in a different direction; and I daresay, a progressive one as states like CO and WA now legalizing. Again, the trends are toward a shift away from policies that fail on a cost/benefit side.

6) Mandates and Bipartisanship — I simply find it remarkable that the framework for bipartisanship is ceding liberal policies and principles to those of the right. My hope and expectation is that Obama can shift the framework and the narrative of this ingrained expectation. Based upon Mitch McConnell’s press release, bipartisanship means the president ceding to the House. I think the President should directly and aggressively challenge the House leadership because if you want to strike a deal, you don’t give up all your cards before you get to the table.

7) Epistemic Closure — I know this is viral but it is the distillation of the many things wrong with our political discourse and the notion of ‘balance’ and the unwillingness to see what is plainly in front of one’s eyes:

8) Money — I’ve been critical of the Citizens United decision but it appears that the barrage of money may not have marginally shifted the playing field on a national level.  I’m not sure of the effects in downstream races so that will be interesting to see.

9) Demographics — the demographics continue to shift so if you want to build a viable party you need a more viable platform to appeal to Hispanics/Latinos. The shift will only accelerate and of the strategic errors of the Romney campaign, the hard right stance, so dear to the Tea Party, likely cost him the election.

10) Donald Trump — for showing that the culture of CEO celebrity is as vacuous as the celebrity culture surrounding The Situation and Snooky. At least, Snooky does not get a political platform

11) Hillary 2016!