They said it couldn’t be done. History indicates America has never re-elected a President in a bad economy or with the unemployment rate so high.
But despite the plan put forth by Gov Mitt Romney and running mate, Paul Ryan, Americans chose the team of Barack Obama and Joe Biden for four more years; for FORWARD. Camelot is here to stay another term.
I heard repeatedly from my GOP husband, independents, and tea party friends that nothing matters but the economy. And while Romney was not as strong of a candidate as Reagan, or Clinton (both beat incumbents in office to prevent a second term), he touted his record in Mass., the Olympics in Utah, and his corporate experience as claims to fame for economic growth. They looked promising to many. The platform by Romney/Ryan touted “Change” – platform that Obama won with in 2008. In the end, when the states turned beautiful shades of red or blue, Obama carried Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin which was telling. Paul Ryan is a Congressman in Wisconsin yet could not carry the state for VP; Michigan is where Mitt Romney grew up and touted as his home; and Massachusetts where his “victory” party was held and where he was once Governor went quite easily…blue.
How is this possible? Everyone seemed shocked. Well, everyone except for brilliant math/stat guru Nate Silver and his cohorts at the NY Times Blog, Five Thirty Eight. He predicted it very well. How can this have happened? The economy is in the tank, I am paying upwards of $3.00 per gallon for gasoline, and I did not get 100% of the change promised in 2008? Well, it’s simple really. It all comes down to those issues we all discounted during the entire campaign: Social Issues – they matter! If 2008 wasn’t a wake up call for the GOP, 2012 should be a slap in the face to wake the #^&! up, GOP. I can say that. I used to be a proud GOP member until the 2nd GW Bush term. There are some important issues defining this nation and it is no longer the country of our parents or grandparents. For first generation Americans like myself, it is no longer the nation of bigotry, discrimination, nor are we a “Christian” nation. We are a nation of different faces, beliefs, orientations, and we are here to stay! If anything, it will evolve even further from what your grandparents’ and parent’s generation believed in. And guess what? That’s okay people. If you feel you don’t belong, or your values are a thing of the past, my advice to you is: Evolve, join the new face, or honestly, get left behind. Again, if 2008 wasn’t a wake up call, last night should have been.
Here are some hot issues which defined this election:
(1) Equality for All- whether you are gay, straight, woman, man, Christian, non-Christian, black, white, Asian, or Hispanic, we are all a fabric of American society. Obama said in 2009 that marriage was 1 man 1 woman, but then since taking office, his administration never enforced the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defines marriage as 1 man, 1 woman, and therefore, DOJ never prosecuted or enforced it. That means, it is essentially a dead law/a dead act and now, the final steps are in motion for its repeal. Mr. Obama changed his views and said marriage and benefits should insure to same-sex partners too in 2011-2012. Mr. Romney and Ryan from day 1 said no way – no how. No gay marriage, no gay rights, and that DOMA would remain. The military is better off with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy repealed and thankfully Paul Ryan finally did acknowledge that they would not have re-implemented that but still, Romney started off saying he would re-instate it. That is not FORWARD, that is backwards thinking.
(2) Equal Pay- another hot issue is equal pay for women. Can’t believe it’s 2012 and we are still talking about this but alas, the disparity still exists and during the debates while it came out a couple of times, there was no promise of equal pay for women by the GOP. Instead, women were objectified and put into “binders”. Gov Romney, in the second debate, stated, “I recognized that if you’re going to have women in the workforce that sometimes you need to be more flexible. My chief of staff, for instance, had two kids that were still in school. She said: ‘I can’t be here until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. I need to be able to get home at 5 o’clock so I can be there for making dinner for my kids and being with them when they get home from school.’ So we said fine. Let’s have a flexible schedule so you can have hours that work for you.” Frankly, Romney and Ryan did not connect nor appeal to the majority of women in this country. Their platform actually stated that women should not be in combat roles or in combat. It’s 2012 and women are in the military.
(3) Healthcare– Healthcare actually influenced this election – there are those who are denied insurance and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) actually helps them. These people have jobs but their kids could have pre-existing conditions or women under plans are denied coverage due to such conditions as well. ACA has some success stories for middle income families too, and it mattered. Most were against ACA because while some health reform was necessary, I guess not this one. Maybe Massachusetts was better? Wait! Didn’t Romney assist with that plan with bi-partisan effort? Why didn’t he win then? Here is why: He vowed from day 1 to repeal it instead of vowing to reform it. Everyone wants health care reform and presidents since Reagan have grappled with the issue. This one did something with it so don’t repeal it- reform it to make it work. That is why he lost on this issue. Granted, he would not have been able to repeal it without support from the Senate or Congress anyway, but when you say you will take away something that affects millions, it has a negative impact on your chances of winning. Good leaders assess what is working or not working, and they make change based on what the people want. The people voted.
(4) Immigration & minority issues- this issue had an impact on the election too. Immigration was not addressed as thoroughly but Romney’s answer for immigration was “self-deportation” but allowing the kids of those that self-deport to stay here. Clearly, that did not go over well clearly as Hispanics overwhelmingly voted for Obama or other candidates.
(5) Women’s issues– listen, people, it’s not about ABORTION. It is not about baby killing- it is about CHOICE. It is about women’s health. Planned Parenthood is not an abortion machine. It is there to help women. We can’t have it both ways, folks. We can’t complain about young women on welfare with tons of kids if we don’t do something to help her prevent unplanned/unwanted pregnancies, or help them learn about women’s health to begin with. Education is the best tool we have and Planned Parenthood does more than offer birth control. Planned Parenthood helps teens, and women who need it for so much more than aborting a pregnancy. It is family planning too and ultimately, we should be empowering women with choice that makes sense – it is not the 1800s anymore. When you come out against birth control, against choice, against helping women with health and wellness (those who need it), then you are saying you don’t care. Oh and by the way, this issue was tied into healthcare a bit as well.
Bottom line- If you don’t think social issues matter, think again. They matter because they affect people on a more fundamental level than the economy. Social issues matter because they define who we are as a nation in principle. So, here are lessons learned from this for both sides:
FIRST, to both sides, did we really spend upwards of $2 billion in negative ads? People got it from the debates and all the blah blah blah talking- listen candidates, people are smarter than you think and that $2 billion could have been used to reduce our deficit instead of attacking each other and putting the nation through this. Negative campaigning is hurtful for the nation and there can be no recovery from it. So, we need legislation to stop and limit the campaign spending. This was beyond ridiculous!
SECOND, to the GOP, whom I want to see become a seemingly “normal” moderate party again. WAKE UP! Stop letting one religion spill over into social issues that people care about. Religious freedom means ALL religions are able to practice freely and without being persecuted not just Christians. It also means that Christians are not attacked either. More importantly, it means ALL religion stays separate from governance and is not wrapped up in it and therefore, no shoving your religious values and will onto others’ when it come to the law. There are a lot of atheists too who have rights too. So, if your Church is against gay marriage, that is fine- don’t let your preacher marry my two girlfriends, but for Pete’s sake, don’t discriminate against them under the law. They should be able to get married and enter into the same contracts heterosexuals do under state and federal law for benefits, health insurance, tax breaks, and other privileges that spouses get. A military same-sex partner should be able to get the same benefits when her same sex partner dies fighting in Afghanistan that a heterosexual military spouse gets. Also, another tip: Stop trying to govern women’s health issues and their right to choose what is good for them and seriously, old, white men, stop talking about reproduction and uteri like you know what you are talking about including rape. You really don’t know or understand. If you don’t evolve with the times, you will be a dinosaur party because if the last two elections have not sent the message, I do not know what will. And yes, Mourdock and Aiken lost!
In the end, a decision has been made and we must all unite and move on. The bickering, the ugliness, the spewing of hate and talk about revolution (yeah, I am looking at you toupe Trump) just brings our country further down and brings our way of life into question. The people have spoken (not overwhelmingly) but let’s not even talk about close elections -remember 2000? If you think GW Bush was popular, think again but we salute smartly, we respect the man in the office and move on! If you can’t, I got some real estate in the Ukraine you can use for four years.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are mine- only mine. They do not reflect upon my employers nor are the views of my employer and not sponsored by said employer. This is a personal blog, and is not associated in any way with my employment in the United States Government.