Thursday, November 29, 2012

What the 2012 Election did (and didn't) Tell Us

Welcome to Tony Island blog!

Just another post in a series of occasional analyses of the 2012 Presidential election. Here, I want to highlight some things that were made evident by the final results.

In no particular order -

1) There is no mandate - Every victor claims a mandate, even when there isn't one. And this is a case of "there isn't one". Obama's popular vote numbers and electoral votes were down from 2008. How could there be a mandate? The Democrats successfully demonized "the rich" and tarred and feathered Romney with that evil moniker. Since the economic meltdown was caused by Wall Street, anything touching Wall Street (however remotely) was deemed bad.

In reality, it's tough to change horses mid-stream. The electorate didn't quite like the alternative enough and thus stuck with the devil they know.

2) The Republican Party isn't dead - despite grave dancing by Progressives, the Republican party is far from dead. Republican Governorships are at an all time high of 30. They successfully held onto the House (some minor seats changed party) and held steady in the Senate for the most part. The American electorate is split and thus handed the country the same messy Congress and President as before the election. So there's hope for Republicans yet.

2a) The Tea Party movement isn't dead - Yes, there were some setbacks for the Tea Party this election cycle. I think any group that is born of a furor of energy will eventually peter out. The Tea Party's energy was spent quite a bit in 2010 and there wasn't much left in the tank for 2012. As the economy continues to tread water and taxes begin their inevitable hike along with the messiness of Obamacare, the Tea Party will refocus and become a force again in 2016 (though I think 2014 will be a key milestone in determining the movement's future)

3) Women are the swing voters - When it's all said and done, I believe that women will be the key to Republican success. While everyone is busy pandering to Latinos or other "important demographic" groups, it's women who should be pandered to. While there was recognition of this fact at the Convention, there didn't seem to be enough penetration of the women's vote to make a difference. Republicans should continue to respect the sanctity of life and be against abortion, but the issue shouldn't become a political wedge to separate the party from women. Life should be celebrated, women's role in creating life should be revered, but not to an extreme that women feel threatened if Republicans are in charge. We also need to balance women's concerns with business needs.

4) The 2016 field will be deep & wide - The only silver lining to Obama's re-election is the vast field of candidates on tap from both parties in 2016. I believe that the Republican crop will be especially deep if such up  and coming luminaries as Rubio, Martinez and Haley, among others, run. They are all true conservatives with vibrant personalities who will ignite a spark in the Republican party.

5) Obama will continue to lie - I have to actually give Obama some credit as he will finally meet with Romney on November 29. Obama had told his supporters on election night that he would meet with Romney and then "forgot" until asked by a reporter in a press conference a week after the election. But that one "truth" doesn't justify all the lies he's told these past four years. And all the lies he will tell in the coming four.

6) Obama will over reach in his 2nd Term - despite reassurances following his re-election that he "understands" the history of 2nd term Presidential failures, I believe Obama's super-ego is too large not to attempt an over reach and it won't be pretty when it happens. I can't quite put my finger on what he will do, but rest assured he will do something stupid. He's no smarter than Clinton and look at that fiasco.

7) The parties are even - if you look at the 56 year time span (1960 - 2016) of modern politics, you find that both parties controlled the Presidency for exactly 28 years each (Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton; Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, Bush). So it's quite silly for any one side to claim superiority in the Presidential arena. Yes demographics are changing, perhaps to the Democrats favor, but not all is lost. Bold moves by Republicans in economic theory and social issues, similar to what elected Reagan for two terms, will have the party back in full swing with REAL mandates for change. Unless Democrats continually nominate black men, they won't have a lock on minority votes. And eventually you run out of special interest groups or their requests become too big and you have nothing else to offer.

That's it for now. What do YOU think the election told us? Let us know by leaving come comments below.

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