Political Victories and Losses
Winners on the 4th:
- Pres.-elect Barack Obama & VP-elect Joe Biden
- DNC Chair Howard Dean’s 50-state strategy which was much opposed by the Clintonistas but embraced by team Obama and the Netroots–and led to increased Democratic Party victories in ’06 and ’08, though falling short of the goal of 60 Senate seats (unless a miracle happens in the all 3 elections still out–Alaska, Minnesota, & the run-off in Georgia).
- Democracy–a higher U.S. turnout than any presidential election since 1920, the year women’s suffrage became enshrined in our national Constitution.
- A somewhat better context for those of us who work for peace and justice–though how much so is yet to be seen
- Equal Opportunity
- Latinos-Black relations (one of the underreported stories behind the Obama success is that all those pundits who said that Obama could not win Latinos were wrong–He got 67% of the Latino vote and that made the difference in AT LEAST the following states: New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, New Jersey, and even Virginia).
- Women–The McCain people expected women to vote for them because of Sarah Palin. Instead, they voted for the team that put women’s rights and concerns as a major priority.
- Grassroot empowerment and community organizing.
- A chance for progressive moves in healthcare, the environment, labor, education, employment, sensible economic regulation and competence in government.
- Sadly, one of the big losers on Tuesday were Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons and those of us who are their friends, family and allies. The silver lining in this cloud is that anti-gay ballot measures and rhetoric WAS NOT able (unlike in ’04) to be used as a successful “wedge issue” to ensure progressive defeats. Nevertheless, Arizona and Florida amended their state constitutions to ban same sex marriages and California actually voted to do the same–tacking AWAY the right to marry that the CA Supreme Court had just granted only several months earlier. And another state banned adoptions by gay couples. Truly sad and it shows how far we have to go for justice on these matters.
- The “Southern Strategy” of Nixon & Reagan to use racist whites to win presidential elections.
- Tom Delay’s dream of a “permanent Republican majority” (although Dems would be foolish to believe in the same type of fantasy. There are no permanent majorities in democratic politics–thank God).
- The Religious Right. It is far from dead, but it’s influence took a major beating. Progressive faith groups and defenders of religious liberty for all and church-state separation made progress, though this struggle is far from over.
- The politics of fearmongering and smears.
- Rightwing radio and TV demagogues–as their every prediction proved false.
- The divisions that began in the late ’60s (as opposed to the promise of the early ’60s). McCain was the 3rd Vietnam Veteran in a row to lose the presidency (VP and Nobel Peace Laureate Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) were the other two–both opposed the war but, coming from families of privilege, decided to serve rather than let others be drafted in their place). The two Baby Boomers who dodged the Vietnam War (Bill Clinton and George W. Bush), one who opposed it and the other who supported it as long he didn’t have to fight it, won the presidency but had difficulty governing and increased national polarization. The chance to heal comes with the first post-Boomer presidency, the first 21st C. presidency.
- Voter apathy.
- Apathy and cynicism among the young.
- Free market fundamentalism.
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