I’m usually an upbeat, optimistic person. But Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney last night sent me into a prolonged funk before I eventually fell asleep.
I’ve since come up with seven Minor Insights about last night’s results. They don’t cure my depression—but they do actually explain it.
1. Obama is living in a fantasy world
Towards the end of his victory speech, Obama said:
I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.
This echoes a portion of Obama’s keynote at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the one that truly launched his political status. It sounds so dreamy, doesn’t it?
Yes, but more like, “Keep dreaming.”
Look at this map:
More than that, it’s a collection of sharply divided red and blue states.
Obama won 26 states; Romney won 24 states.
The fact is that the nation is more divided than ever. No amount of Obama huffing-and-puffing will blow that house down.
2. Obama’s win was smaller than in 2008.
Sure, Obama had a sizable electoral college victory. But that electoral victory—if you include Florida, which is still not officially declared as of this writing but is leaning the President’s way—shrunk (332-206) from his 2008 victory over John McCain (365-173).
The popular vote tells a much different story. Obama won the popular vote—but barely. As of this writing, he has 50% of the popular vote while Romney had 48%. This is down from a 52.9-45.7% margin in 2008.
Even in Obama’s home state of Illinois, his winning margin shrunk. He won 57.3-41.1% this year—down from 61.9-36.8% in 2008.
Other highly liberal, electorally-rich states like California and New York also voted less for Obama last night than in 2008.
The typical phrase the day after the election is: “the people have spoken.” Well, yes and no. The people have spoken but they speak two different languages. 50% spoke one language, and the other 48% spoke a different language.
So unlike the 2010 congressional election, the 2012 presidential numbers decisively show this was not a “mandate” win. The nation was deeply divided about whether to send Obama back to Washington D.C.
3. Obama has rough sledding ahead
Obama’s victory celebration will be short-lived.
First, the so-called “fiscal cliff” is fast approaching, where the President and Congress must try to avert another financial crisis that would send the economy back into another recession.
Second, he’ll need to fix the economy and jobs. Obama’s plan to spend on education in order to fix the economy is a red herring. Education doesn’t fix the economy because there are currently no jobs for graduates, no matter how smart or dumb they are. And Insightful people know that construction jobs are just temporary jobs.
Third, the issue of taxes will also likely take some of the spotlight in 2012. In referring to exit polls where six in 10 voters said that taxes should be increased and nearly half of voters said taxes should be increased on incomes over $250,000, as Obama has called for, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, told CNN:
“It’s very clear from the exit polling that a majority of Americans recognize that we need to share responsibility for reducing the deficit.”
Perhaps this hike in taxes upon citizens is what Obama meant in his victory speech when he said:
“The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.”
Why people would want to pay (in taxes) for government overspending (causing the enormous deficit) is beyond me. If the government has fiscal diarrhea, then the government needs to clean its own toilet, not the taxpayers.
Furthermore, Obama will divide some of his attention on critical foreign issues all around the world. From Russia—who Obama secretly said he would have “more flexibility” in his second term to do things—to Pakistan and Afghanistan—where Obama’s secret wars are still being waged behind the public hailing of the Iraqi withdrawal—to growing tension over Iran’s nuclear weapons labs, to the crisis in Syria and the growing republic of Islam in the Middle East as secular dictatorships fall, it will be interesting to see how Obama positions the United States globally in this second term.
And he’ll have to do all this with the bipartisanship that he failed to accomplish in his first term.
4. The nation appears to be trending more left on social issues
As popular culture and Hollywood continue to present only-favorable representations of gays while routinely mocking family values, when it comes to social issues, voter values will slowly shift more towards Democratic values.
We saw a bit of that with the gay marriage ballot initiatives that won last night—the first time gay marriage has won at the ballot box.
Furthermore, Obama has a vested interest in the immigration issue—particularly allowing as many Latinos into the country as possible since Latinos tend to be heavily Democratic voters due to government welfare programs.
For example, according to the Wall Street Journal, one policy decision that gave the White House one of its biggest electoral jolts was Obama’s June announcement of an executive action that would halt the deportation of many young illegal immigrants. It may not make fiscal sense but it sure makes great political sense—especially since the Latino community is growing in key battleground states like Florida, Nevada and Colorado.
And marijuana was approved for recreational use in two states—Washington and Colorado—on Tuesday.
Historically, the nation swings one way or another in different decades, so hopefully, things will eventually balance out over time and trend back to the right.
5. Paul Ryan did not contribute much to the Romney campaign
Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan had only two things on his to-do list once he accepted his vice-presidential nomination:
- Rout Joe Biden in their debate
- Bring Wisconsin under the Romney column
He did neither.
Though Ryan didn’t fail against a typically arrogant Biden in their debate, he didn’t expose Biden as the buffoon that he is—despite Biden giving him a few opportunities on a silver platter.
And Wisconsin was somewhat in play to the end, polls had generally shown the state going to Obama—which it eventually did.
Ryan also tried to assure seniors that Medicare was important to him, using his own mother as proof, but it’s uncertain whether voters believed that message.
Should Romney have picked Ohio Senator Rob Portman instead of Paul Ryan? Would Portman have helped Romney carry the crucial state of Ohio? We’ll never know.
But we do know that Ryan did not help the Romney campaign much—if at all.
6. Republicans do not need a more moderate candidate
Romney was as moderate as you can get. McCain before him was also known as an independent (remember McCain being labeled a “maverick”?).
So finding a centrist candidate isn’t the Republicans’ main problem. They’ve done that and failed.
Sad to say, I don’t think a Tea Party candidate is the answer either—at least not in the short-term, given the Tea Party candidates couldn’t even the primary election. Perhaps down the road when America starts to get fed up with liberal policies currently employed by Obama.
I’m not sure what the answer is but I don’t think it would hurt to have a younger candidate.
Romney is 65. John McCain was 72 when he ran.
In contrast, Obama was 47 when he first ran for president. Bill Clinton was 46 when he defeated incumbent then 64-year-old George H.W. Bush. George W. Bush was 56 when he barely beat 52-year-old Al Gore.
I’m not necessarily saying age is the trump card if all else is equal. But for all the political wisdom that elder statesmen like Newt Gingrich have, it may be possible that in this age of social networking dominated by younger voters, younger candidates have more appeal.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are not only young but they also represent minorities—two growing voting segments of our nation.
7. Many Democratic voters do not have any voting sense
The far-left liberals actually make sense when they vote b/c they are voting for their leftist social values.
But those voters who are not left-wing liberals but still vote Democrat? Them, I don’t get.
For example, on ABC’s Nightline, Terry Moran interviewed a guy in Wisconsin who said he lost his job three times in three years. Moran surmised, “You should be the perfect Romney voter.” Yet the voter insisted he was going to vote for Obama—the author of the economy that has failed to give this man a stable job!
Exit polls showed 60% of voters said the No. 1 issue they voted for in the election was the economy. Yet 50% of voters voted for Obama.
How can it be that a president who spends like there is no tomorrow—thus making the economy worse—still gets the vote of 50% of the the people?
That’s like sticking your finger in an electrical socket, saying safety is your No. 1 priority…and then sticking your finger in the socket again.
What’s more, there are a record number of people on food stamps. People may not know that the food stamp program was championed by Democrats, starting with Leonor Sullivan. Democratic President Kennedy initiated the first food stamp pilot programs. And Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson and House Democrats passed the Food Stamp Act of 1964.
Problem is that food stamps shackles poor people into a system that will forever imprison them in being poor.
Just this past Sunday, a very close friend of mine on food stamps encouraged me to sign up for food stamps. “Free money,” this person told me. “You’d be a fool not to take it.”
This is the legacy of Democrats. Yet voters don’t realize the sad irony of crying about being poor yet voting Democratic.
Here’s another example of nonsensical Democrat voters. In Illinois, U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. coasted to an easy win—despite not working for the past half year. Apparently, his constituents don’t care if anyone is actually doing anything for them.
Want another example of nonsensical Democrat voters? How about Derrick Smith? The former Illinois state representative was indicted, arrested and expelled from his seat due to a felony charge of accepting bribes. Yet Smith won easily (62%-38%) over an independent candidate endorsed by the governor and secretary of state.
I guess it’s not completely surprising given that, as one person on Facebook commented, these same people voted for Obama.
But seriously, some people just shouldn’t be allowed to vote.