To paraphrase R&B legend Billy Preston, the good guys win every once in a while and Barack Obama has been elected for a second term. The pleasure of seeing the continuation of the Obama legacy is countered by what seems to be a Teapublican death spiral. However, there are some lessons that the Republicans can learn from 11.6.12. Meanwhile Donald Trump and an assortment of Karnival Klowns simply refuse to let reality get in the way of a good rant. And finally, is it time for President Obama to make Africa a major agenda item during his second term?
Lessons to be Learned
While the supporters of Barack Obama start planning his second inauguration on January 21, 2013, the Teapublican Party leaders must be wondering what happened. Historically incumbent presidents with high unemployment rates don’t get reelected. Typically, presidential candidates with the most money almost always win. But Mitt Romney lost – and he lost in almost every state that he had to win in order to prevail on Election Day.
So what lessons can the Teapublicans learn while sorting through the ashes of defeat?
1. The Teapublican Party will almost certainly never win another national election by centering their focus on white men. The demographics are simply not there and there aren’t enough white men to provide victory except in the South.
2. Voter suppression is not such a hot idea. The blatant and transparently racist voter suppression tactics pursued by Teapublican governors and legislators throughout the country fired up minorities who were incensed by the notion that the government apparatus was being used to deny their right to vote. Right now David Axelrod is probably writing a thank you note to all the voter suppression advocates.
3. Treating women as stupid and compliant is not such a hot idea either. President Obama received 55% of the female vote and part of the reason had to be the Teapublican embrace of “forcible rape”, transvaginal wands, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and misogyny in general. The Teapublicans are learning, very slowly, that women are neither stupid nor compliant.
4. Money can buy a lot, but it is really hard to buy a national election. The Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court of the United States opened the money spigots for the 2012 campaign and the Koch brothers, Shelden Adelsen and other right wing billionaires did their very best to simply drown the Obama campaign in dollars. The thing is that in 1992 buying a million television ads might have worked. But in 2012 people receive their information not only from television but also from the social media. Guess the Teapublicans never got the memo.
There are many other lessons to be learned but it will be interesting to see if the Teapublicans double down on their right wing trajectory and end up in a museum display case right next to the Whigs.
Voices in the Asylum
One of the more interesting aspects of President Obama’s victory has been the response of Mitt Romney and his supporters. Governor Romney was actually gracious, graceful and pitch perfect in his concession speech. Indeed, if that Mitt Romney had been campaigning the election results might have been closer. But that Mitt Romney could never have secured the Teapublican Party nomination.
Even after CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times had declared Barack Obama as the winner on Tuesday evening, Karl Rove refused to accept the reality. He actually spent several hours awaiting some magical, mystical message from Ohio even after the Republican Secretary of State of Ohio confirmed the Obama victory and went home.
Sadly, Karl Rove reminded us of one of those legendary Japanese World War II soldiers who was left on a lonely Pacific Island continuing to fight a war that ended a long time ago.
Donald Trump went on a Twitter rant claiming that an Obama victory was a “travesty” and that it was time for a revolution. He then went on to call for a march on Washington.
As it turns out the only march on Washington coming up will be the thousands of Obama supporters coming for Barack Obama’s second inauguration.
Time for Africa?
Africa has an expanding economy. Democracy is taking root and flourishing in many countries. While challenges continue on the continent, there is no doubt that the countries of Africa represent one of the greatest market opportunities remaining on the planet and it is a market in which American companies are not full participants.
This week in an appearance on CNN Rowland Martin proposed that President Obama move Africa up on his second term agenda beginning with personal visits as well as serious policy initiatives. The American economy needs new markets, new customers and new opportunities.
The Chinese, Indian and European companies have already figured this out, but the American brand is still preferred.
Making Africa a trade priority is a great leadership opportunity for President Obama in his second term.
Its been a great week – Have a great weekend!