Thursday, November 6, 2008

Post-Election Victories and Losses

I should happier about these elections, and I am happy to the extent that George Bush's elderly twin will not be piloting this ship into the ground and below the next four years (never mind his proposed replacement). And it is a sweet victory to the extent that I took some satisfaction in watching the people at Fox 'News' cry like newborns at the thought of their party losing (yes, I tuned in to Fox 'News' just to watch them whine).

And for those who said it could have been worse, do not kid yourselves. The Republican Party is on the cusp of making itself a minority party for the next generation, if it does not immediately turn around its fortunes. Outside of the Deep South, there was no region that voted in the majority for the GOP. There is not a single Republican member of the House of Representatives from the Northeast. Worse for them, they lost most of the Midwest (except the least populated western parts). Bush received over 60% of the vote in Indiana in 2004 (one of the most reliably Republican states in the non-western runs of the Midwest). McCain lost Indiana. He lost Ohio, a state no Republican has ever gone to the White House without winning (including Bush in '04).

Demographically, as aforementioned in an earlier post, the Republicans lost every major demographic, except whites and older voters. A party of old white people in a country that will be a minority-majority nation in forty years is not a recipe for success.

Even in the South, the GOP lost three ex-Confederate states (Virginia, Florida and, once the votes are counted, North Carolina). They nearly lost Georgia and were not far removed from losing South Carolina, either. This is something the GOP has to be worried about. They are on the verge of becoming regionally straddled to the Bible Belt, much in the same way the Democratic Party was after the Civil War (until the early 20th century).

As a pinko leftist, naturally, I should be rejoiced, but I am not overly excited because I know that this is the Democratic Party, the party of Bill Clinton, Grover Cleveland, a party that (with the exception of FDR) has never produced a genuine progressive President. Maybe I am wrong about Obama. Maybe he will bring forth a new New Deal. I sincerely hope so, as it would mean that I did not waste my vote, but just the thought of a troglodyte like Lawrence Summers handling this country's finances does not, shall we say, instill in me much confidence. Nevertheless, it is too early to tell. After all, if anyone had told me two years ago that a Republican President would support a near trillion dollar government takeover of our banking sector, I would have thought they were borderline insane.

There were defeats in this election, however. Not all of the worst in the Republican Party are gone. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, oh she of anyone who is liberal must be an un-American terrorist fame, won reelection, much to my chagrin. All of the gay marriage bans that were on the ballot throughout the country passed, again.

Worst of all, Proposition 8 in California passed. True, all of the other states that have proposed constitutional bans on gay marriage have passed over the years, but this is California, the most socially liberal state in the union. If there was one state where gay rights should have made a stand and won, this was it. It narrowly passed and passed with the support of African Americans and Latinos (in an election year that broke ground for the tearing down of racial barriers to the presidency). I understand the religious aspect of the gay marriage ban, but I cannot fathom how anyone can come from a historically oppressed community and support legally punishing another group because of who they are. It is hurtful, and we are all (white, black, brown, gay and straight) worse for it. Even if the courts overturn this ballot initiative, it will not erase the 52% who voted to treat gays and lesbians like second class people in one of the most liberal states in our country. This is something that impacts all of us, including someone like myself, as a straight white male living in the South, because the very notion of treating anyone as something less than a full citizen should offend us. If nothing else, it shows that gay rights as a movement still has a long ways to go, and we as supporters of this movement must do a better job of conveying the message of promoting equal treatment for all of our fellow citizens.

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