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Politics

November 7, 2012
 

The Meaning Of Obama’s Victory

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Written by: Kelly Virella
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Mitt Romney and Ann Romney wave to supporters attending one of their campaign’s last rallies. Photo courtesy of Flickr/PoliticalActivityLaw.com

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clear sign that the Republican Party is doomed came last night as the networks began to announce that Obama had won re-election. Fox News anchorman Shepard Smith sat at a roundtable in his station’s studio parsing Obama’s victory, when he asked his guests one of the most incredibly clueless questions I’ve ever heard: “Should the Republican Party go to the right?” The answer he got from Republican political operative Ed Rollins was even more ridiculous than the question. Rollins basically said a rightward-turn might be a good idea, that it might save the party. Another conservative pundit at the table, A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hillconcurred, suggesting that the flip-flopping of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the problem. The implication: had he been a more staunch conservative, he would have won.

With 303 electoral votes to Romney’s 206, Obama trounced Romney so thoroughly that even Romney — so confident in his victory that he failed to prepare a concession speech — had to concede that no amount of lawyering up and Supreme Court manipulation of the results could put him in the White House. You’d think the decisive defeat — he lost the vaunted popular vote too by about 2.7 million votes — would be the handwriting on the wall for Republican extremism. After all, didn’t they try every cooky far right position possible during the campaign?

I mean they came out against a woman’s right to use birth control and to terminate a pregnancy in case of rape. Mitt Romney painted 47 percent of Americans as welfare queens. He promised that he would make the lives of undocumented workers so miserable that they would “self-deport.” Donald Trump held press conferences demanding to see the President’s birth certificates and college transcripts. In short, the party did everything it could to alienate upwards of 75 percent of Americans. Yet, they were shocked they lost and are looking to place blame somewhere. Bill O’Reilly delineated the broad outlines of their emerging fault-finding mission when he said last night: “Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.”

This line of argument is already taking hold on Internet message boards, where someone wrote:

[A]merica is racist. They vote for a black man because hes [sic] the underdog, not because of his experience or goals. He failed, lied about everything, but still won. Watching the news now and people continue to say that a black man in the whitehouse is historic? Why, cause hes [sic] black? Who cares about his race? Only racists. Latinos, blacks and women are the most racist people because they are the ones voting for him.

I fully expect the GOP to launch a PR campaign today that attributes Obama’s victory to affirmative action, food stamps, and black people’s electoral incompetence. And you know what? Yawn. I don’t care if they do.

For decades, the strongest political weapon that Republicans had was the Southern strategy, their practiceof winning elections by appealing to the racial hostility of some white working class southerners.

In an astoundingly candid 1970 New York Times article, Kevin Phillips — a political strategist for Richard Nixon — explained their rationale this way:

From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.

And how could we forget Lee Atwater’s explanation of the strategy in a 1981 interview with a






 
 


About the Author

Kelly Virella
Kelly Virella lives in an East Harlem walk-up with her husband, her bicycle and her books. She's worked as a journalist for 11 years and started this website during the summer of 2011. She fell in love with New York City during her first visit here as a 16-year-old and finally made good on her promise to move here in April 2010.



 
 

 
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