"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“We Don’t Like You Either”: When “We Don’t Like Your Kind” Becomes A Problem

There are a lot of ways to parse a loss like the one the GOP suffered on Tuesday, but what ought to be increasingly clear to smart Republicans is that there’s something fundamentally problematic in how they’ve gone about assembling their electoral coalitions. Conservatives are complaining a lot in the last couple of days that Obama ran a “divisive” campaign, I guess because he once called rich people “fat cats” or something, but the truth is that Republicans have been experts at division for a long time. Much of their appeal, at one level or another, has been “We don’t like those kind of people.” Sometimes it’s welfare recipients, sometimes it’s undocumented immigrants, sometimes it’s people who come from big cities or have too much education or enjoy a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. They’ve been very good for a very long time at telling voters, “We’re just like you, because we both hate those people over there.”

As a political strategy, this can be very effective, so long as the “them” at whom you’re directing your contempt isn’t too large a group. But once “them” grows too big, you’ve dug yourself an electoral hole. That’s the problem they now have with Latinos. Their anti-immigrant rhetoric sent two simultaneous messages, one about policy and one about identity. The first message was that we don’t support policies you do support, like the DREAM Act. The second message, which Latinos heard loud and clear, was this: We don’t like people like you.

The problem can be seen in other areas too. As Sommer Mathis and Charles Mahtesian point out, the GOP is getting crushed among urban dwellers, who are growing as a proportion of the population. Just like with Latinos, this happens because of both policy and identity. The GOP is opposed to policies that are supported by people in cities, like support for mass transit. But they also continuously tell them that they don’t like them. Every time they wax rhapsodic about the superior morality of those who live in small towns (what Sarah Palin memorably called “the pro-America areas of this great nation”), where people supposedly have “values,” while people who live in cities just have opinions, they are telling voters in cities, “We don’t like people like you.” So it’s no surprise that those voters respond, “You know what? We don’t like you either.”

If Republicans are going to solve this problem—with Latinos, with city dwellers, and with everybody else they’ve alienated—they’re going to have to it with both policy and identity. It won’t be enough to sign on to a comprehensive immigration reform. You have to convince the people at whom you’ve been sneering (or trying to stop from voting) that you don’t hate them. It’s not an easy task, but it can be done.


By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, November 9, 2012

November 12, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“An Appeal To The GOP”: Don’t Listen To The Pundits, Stick To Your Principles

An appeal to Republicans: don’t listen to the pundits who say the lesson of 2012 is that you should change course to appeal to women and minorities in order to win elections. You should stick to your principles—and with the the old white men who provided tens of millions of votes on Election Day.

The country needs leaders who will speak from their hearts about “legitimate rape.” It’s true that 55 percent of women voted against Romney—but it’s wrong to say the Republicans don’t have women in their camp. You have that wrestling lady in Connecticut!

And it’s a lie that the white men who make up the base of the Republican party don’t like black people. Remember that your leading presidential candidate in the primaries at one point was Herman Cain.

It’s true that Latinos voted against the Republicans, 70-30 percent. But you’ve already moderated your policy where they are concerned: instead of calling for a police round-up of 10 million illegal immigrants, you favor the compassionate route: “self-deportation.” And as for those illegal kids who want to go to college under the so-called “Dream Act”—that’s just another case of the Democrats creating more people who are dependent on government (for their education).

Another thing: please keep up those attacks on Nate Silver. Yes, he did predict that the Democrats would win, but that is simply more evidence of his pro-Obama bias. He’s no more “scientific” than the people who say the climate is changing.

Twenty twelve was only one election—remember the last one, the midterms in 2010? Sticking to Republican principles there paid off handsomely. Please keep your focus on that year, not on 2012.

A choice, not an echo—that’s what America needs. Instead of becoming more “moderate,” you should be getting rid of the moderates in the Republican Party—like former Republican senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. It’s true that if he had run for re-election, he would have won with 65 percent of the vote, and the Republicans would have had a chance to gain control of the Senate. But it was more important for a Tea Party true believer to defeat him in the primary. That gave the Republicans a chance to run on the argument that conception resulting from rape is “something God intended to happen.”

The only problem with this advice to get rid of the moderate Republicans is that I don’t think there are any left. Mission accomplished!


By: Joe Wiener, The Nation, November 10, 2012

November 12, 2012 Posted by | Elections | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Election Data Dive”: Now Go Forth And Spout The Facts

Since this may be my last column about the 2012 elections, let’s have some fun. Allow me to arm you with a collection of facts and data about the election results that you can use at your next cocktail party, during your next coffee break or during your next P.T.A. meeting.

First, a comment about the exit polls from which most of these data are drawn: They were conducted only in 30 states. And, unfortunately, the balance of states polled tilted heavily toward those won by President Obama. Of the 25 states Obama won, exit polls were conducted in all but three. Obama also won the District of Columbia, which had no exit polls. Of the 24 states Mitt Romney won, exit polls were conducted only in eight.

(Obama is leading in Florida, which would be a 26th state won by Obama and a state for which there are exit polls. However, The New York Times had not yet called the state at the time of publication.)

With those caveats, let’s dive in:

• My analysis of the 2008 election found that even if every black person in America had stayed home on Election Day, Obama would still have won the presidency. That’s because the white vote and Hispanic vote were strong enough to push him over the needed 270 votes to win the Electoral College.

This year is a different story. This year, his path to victory required a broader coalition.

Without the Democratic black vote joining with that of liberal whites and Hispanics on Tuesday, Obama would likely have lost half the states that he won. This fact may embolden those who say that the president should more directly address issues facing the African-American community.

• There may have been a backlash against voter suppression laws, bringing more minorities to the polls, not fewer. The share of Hispanic voters rose in many states won by Obama. That can be attributed both to the surging Hispanic population in the country and to the Obama campaign’s incredible get-out-the-vote operation. It is less clear why the black vote held steady or grew in many of those states. In Ohio, for example, blacks jumped from being 11 percent of the voters in 2008 to 15 percent this year. Threaten to steal something, and its owner’s grip grows tighter.

• Romney won nine of the 11 states that were once in the Confederacy.

• Romney also won eight of the 10 states with the lowest population density: Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Nebraska and Utah. Obama won New Mexico and Nevada. (Hello. Hello. Hello. Is there an echo in here?)

• Romney’s biggest margin of victory came in Utah, home of the Mormon Church. Utah was one of three states in which Romney won every county. The other two were West Virginia and Oklahoma. Obama won every county in four states: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

• This year was the first presidential election in which there were more Asian-American voters (11 percent) in California than African-American ones (8 percent). In 2008, 6 percent were Asian-American and 10 percent were African-American. In fact, there were more Asian-American voters than African-American voters in Washington and Oregon, the other two Pacific Coast states, this year, too.

• Among the states in which exit polls were conducted, Obama won the lowest percentage of the white vote in the state with the highest percentage of black voters. That state was the ever-reliable Mississippi, where Romney made his famous “I like grits” comment. Thirty-six percent of the voters in Mississippi are black. Obama won a mere 10 percent of the white vote there.

Conversely, Obama won one of his highest percentages of white voters in the state with the fewest minority voters: Maine. Ninety-five percent of Maine’s voters were white, and 57 percent of them voted for Obama. That ties with one other state for the highest percent of whites voting for Obama: Massachusetts, where 86 percent of the voters are white.

In fact, Obama won the white vote only in states with small minority voting populations. The others Obama won were Iowa (93 percent white), New Hampshire (93 percent white), Oregon (88 percent white), Connecticut (79 percent white) and Washington State (76 percent white).

This is quite a curious phenomenon.

• Obama won all four states that begin with “New” (New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York), but he lost all five that begin with a direction (North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia). O.K., I threw that one in for fun.

Now, political junkies, go forth and spout facts!

By: Charles M. Blow, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, November 9, 2012

November 12, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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