The New Electoral Landscape

On October 30, 2012 I made a prediction about the eventual outcome of the upcoming presidential election. I was wrong. I predicted that President Obama would take home 294 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 244 in a race that was too close for comfort. I shared my worry with friends and family that the election was just a few Tagg Romney owned voting machines and Rick Scott voter suppression initiatives away from going to the Republican, which would have been an absolute disaster.

As it turns out, the race was more “comfortably close” than too close for comfort. President Obama won every state he carried in 2008 except Indiana and North Carolina.

North Carolina very nearly fell into the Obama column with just a 2.2 percent Romney lead. Indiana is an inherently conservative state that went to the Democrats in 2008 mostly because George W. Bush was so universally hated. Indiana did select Joe Donnelly (D) as its US Senator over Dick “the creepy rape guy” Mourdock.

I was far too pessimistic. I thought suppression efforts would work and drive people away. More 10 million fewer people participated in 2012 than 2008 and Romney won more votes than Senator John McCain… and the Obama team still won running away.

BANG

Nate Silver was right. 

President Obama took home a 2.5 percent national margin; greater than Bush’s election led from 2004. Barack Obama is the first Democratic president since FDR to take home consecutive majorities of the electorate. His achievements will now become entrenched in history rather than dismantled and cast to the wayside.

It was easy to run against Obamacare in 2010. What will Republicans do in 2014 once it is in full effect and tens of millions of Americans have exactly one party, and one man in particular, to thank for their cheaper and easier access to medical care?

The knee jerk response from the Republican media, particularly Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, was that if only the party had promoted more of its minority members to front stage positions they could have won the election. With Hispanic voters shifting into the Democratic column Marco Rubio could have delivered Florida to Mitt Romney, or so they say.

Here’s the problem; even with Florida they still would have lost. Even with Ohio and Florida they still would have lost. Marco Rubio isn’t a guarantee of anything, and given the current rhetorical composition of some national-level members of the Republican Party, having a Hispanic running mate may have driven away as many white votes from Romney as it could have attracted Hispanic votes to him.

Hispanics aren’t voting for Democrats based on race issues – Barack Obama and Joe Biden fall far outside the “Latino” demographic. They are voting for Democrats based on every other issue. How can Republicans think that they can attack affirmative action all around the country hurting millions upon millions of minorities and then wash that away with a couple of race-based promotions?

If President Obama can hold the ship of state steady for four more years Republicans, assuming they have not completely overhauled the party, will face an electoral wreaking ball. Even if it is true that people seeking “hand outs” will always vote for Democrats, there is no way around the fact that people seeking “a hand up” are now voting for Democrats too.

The second group is what makes America great. The second group is what represents the hopes and dreams of the vast majority of us. The second group votes. And unless something fairly dramatic happens very soon, that group is going to continue voting for Democrats, for progress, and for a future in which the modern Republican Party is a rump.

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