Tuesday night Barack Obama – who had led Mitt Romney in most Electoral
College projections every single day of this race – won the election
that he was supposed to. But that win represented so much more than a
victory for a moderate Democrat. We hear that every election is the most
important election of our lives -- it's a cliché. This year, it may
well prove to be true.
The diverse, creative, younger coalition
that propelled the first black president – a guy whose middle name is
Hussein – to the presidency, beat back what may well have been the last
stand of Ronald Reagan's coalition of plutocrats, white working-class
men and religious conservatives. The Republican party, with its
deep-pocketed donors and extensive network of supportive media and
think-tanks remains viable for the immediate future – thanks in part to
some dramatic gerrymandering in 2010 – but the demographic head winds it
faces will soon be too powerful to overcome. The GOP's most reliable
supporters remain white, married couples who identify themselves as Christians
, a group that continues its sharp decline in numbers.
especially unmarried women, delivered a sharp blow to those “limited
government” conservative men who feel entitled to regulate their
reproductive choices and are intent on making them miserable – with
waiting periods and vaginal probes and the forced consumption of
anti-abortion propaganda – if they make a choice that conflicts with the
beliefs of the religious right.
A fifth hard-right justice won't
be seated on the Supreme Court for the next four years -- a lost
opportunity for the Chamber of Commerce and a potential victory for Roe v Wade,
the Voting Rights Act and a slew of other key precedents.
it's unlikely that the war is over, the politics of playing on white
racial anxiety lost a major battle on Tuesday night as well. The Romney
campaign, as my colleague Adele Stan wrote
“pushed the boundaries of 'acceptable racism' to extremes.” The
dog-whistles from the conservative media went far beyond, yet it wasn't
enough to win it for Romney.
Tens of millions of Americans who
were priced out of the insurance market won big on Tuesday. Rather than
seeing a concerted effort to strangle “Obamacare” in its cradle, the
administration's signature achievement will be fully implemented, and
hopefully then built upon and improved in the same way Social Security
and Medicare were. Millions of poor people will get tax-funded,
single-payer healthcare through an expanded Medicaid program and tens of
millions more will come to realize that there are no death panels, but
there are subsidies for small businesses to provide insurance for their
workers, and more subsidies for middle-class families that have been
getting squeezed to death by the growing burden of their heal-care
costs. Watch the popularity of Obama's health-care reforms rise over the
next four years. That will also be a victory over the right's almost
religious belief that “the market” can cure all our ills.
and election protection activists scored a very hard-fought win over
those who believe that some Americans have a greater right to vote than
others. Efforts to suppress the vote among typically Democratic-leaning
groups was flagrant and widespread. But Americans waited in the cold on
those 6-hour lines, they got the right ID and jumped through whatever
hoops they had to. And the lawyers blocked or blunted many of the worst
restrictions on our right to vote. Small-d democracy won on Tuesday.
Karl Rove, with his plan to use the concocted specter of voter fraud to
gain a structural advantage lost.
A unified America was a winner
as well. It's likely that most voters didn't grasp just how reactionary
the Romney-Ryan agenda really was. They would have turned vast swaths of
our already threadbare social safety-net over to the states to
administer, making deep cuts in the process. As a result, people living
in “blue” and “red” states would have effectively become citizens of
different countries. The poor and working class in those red states
would have been eligible for far fewer public benefits. The disparities
that now exist in funding education, job training and the like would
have become far more pronounced. We would have no longer been citizens
of the United States who happen to live in Alabama or Vermont; we would
become Alabamians and Vermonters, citizens of states with markedly
different philosophies of government.
Gays and lesbians emerged
victorious on Tuesday. Not only did the first president to come out in
support of marriage equality win – one whose administration has worked
tirelessly, often below the radar
to advance LGBT rights – but Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin will also be
seated as the first openly gay senator in the history of the United
States. As of this writing, marriage equality passed by a popular vote
for the first and second times in history – in Maryland and Maine. A
third ballot initiative recognizing marriage equality is ahead in
Washington State; a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex
marriage is trailing in Minnesota.
After the running the most
opaque and mendacious campaign in memory, “post-truth politics” lost on
Tuesday. Never again will a candidate think he or she can promise to
reveal his or her plans after the election and hope it will fly with the
Fat-cat, right-wing donors spent billions for nothing. As Paul Blumenthal notes
, Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson went 0-5 in campaigns in which he invested over $50 million. As much as $6 billion
was spent in an election that returned the same Speaker of the House
and Senate Majority Leader, and the same man in the Oval Office.
analysis, personified by nerdy number-cruncher Nate Silver, landed a
devastating blow to a legion of lazy pundits who make their living
relaying what their guts are telling them. Who's got “the MoJo” -- who's
winning the soccer mom vote or the waitress vote or white working class
men – is now an irrelevance, trivia.
The Tea Party lost again.
Two years after they pushed Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell to
victory in Republican primaries, only to see them beaten by mainstream
candidates, history repeated itself. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock went
down in flames, giving the Democrats four senate seats that they should
Now, for progressive America, the fight turns. We can
savor a victory over those who would take us back to an earlier time,
but only briefly. Now we have to organize, and turn our energy to
pressuring the Democrats to fight for our ideals. We now have a
progressive coalition in the United States that can win against steep
odds. That coalition is ultimately the big winner of the 2012 election.
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