October has come and gone and there has been no surprise. For all of the hemming and hawing over the volatility and uncertainty surrounding the 2012 election, not much has actually changed since the conventions began in late August. Barack Obama is still a slim favorite in the national popular vote and has established a modest, but statistically significant edge in Electoral College projections due to his steady leads over GOP challenger Mitt Romney in 9 of the 11key swing states. Since the Republican National Convention kicked off in late August, the President’s polling averages among those states that are still deemed to be in play for either candidate has decreased a whole .2%, slipping from 2.4% to 2.2% over the course of the past two months. Despite the leaking of Romney’s 47% video and Obama’s comatose debate performance in Denver, the race has not shifted in any fundamental way.
One of the things that this latest election cycle has made painfully clear is that, in this age of omnipresent media and vacuous, ratings-driven TV reporting, the half-life for outrage and critique has shrunk. Remember way back in July and August when everyone was clamoring for more than two years of tax returns from Mitt Romney? Or, what about after every single debate when Romney/Ryan ticket was pressed for anything resembling a concrete plan for overhauling the economy? Well, it’s T-minus 3 days until the election and the American public is still stuck with just 2 years of Mitt’s tax returns and nothing beyond a platitude-ridden and economically impossible 5-point plan for reviving America’s economy that hasn’t so much as a toe within the bounds of reality. At this late stage of the game, it seems as if the we know all we’re going to know about the candidates in this year’s presidential and congressional races, which—admittedly—isn’t much. With that said, there are a few truths that we’ve learned over the course of the past 4 months that will play prominent roles in determining way this whole thing turns out on Tuesday:
- Rape is a bipartisan no-fly zone: If there was any doubt where America’s line in the sand is when it comes to the battle over abortion, it’s safe to say that Todd Akin and Dick Mourdock clarified things quite nicely this year. It is one thing to defend fetal rights and promote the idea that life begins at conception, but is another thing to insist that a woman who didn’t choose to be sexually violated be denied the choice of aborting her rapist’s unborn child. The American people made it quite clear that, save the most bible-thumpingest, pinheaded of fundamentalists, they did not think it was OK to claim that women had magic, rape-sperm deflecting vaginas or that God intended for pregnant victims to give birth. In voicing their displeasure with their candidates’ profound ignorance, the women (and men) of Missouri and Indiana have flipped two senate races on their heads, all but assuring that their states will split the ticket with Romney at the top and a Democratic senator at the bottom. With Mourdock and Akin headed for defeat, it is more than likely that GOP will fail in their bid to gain control of the senate in an election where it was theirs for the taking.
- Race Matters… A lot: While billed as the President who would usher us into a new, “post-racial” society, Barack Obama’s first term in office has actually seen America’s race relations regress significantly. A recent study1 shows that anti-black sentiment has increased over the past four years, with implicit racist attitudes jumping up from 49.3% of the population in 2008 to 55.7% in 2012. Even more frightening is that fact that 79% of self-identified Republicans openly expressed anti-black beliefs, serving to highlight the demographic shift in the party’s membership. What was once the party of abolitionists like Abraham Lincoln and moderates like Nelson Rockefeller has become the province of present-day Dixiecrats and fundamentalist bile. There is no denying the fact that a great deal of the vitriol aimed at Obama over the past 4 years has been the result of his ethnicity and not his policies. It remains to be seen how that prejudice manifests itself at the polls.
- The Romney/Ryan Ticket is Playing “Let’s Make a Deal”: This is the Romney/Ryan plan to create 12 million new jobs: 1) “energy independence on this continent by 2020”. 2) “trade that works”. 3) “provide Americans with the skills to succeed” via education & job training. 4) “cut the deficit”. 5) “champion small business”. All of these things are very laudable goals, but Romney and Ryan have given no specifics as to how they plan to do these things. They want to reduce income tax rates across the board by 20% while keeping dividends and capital gains taxes as is and reducing the corporate income tax rate. And, they’re going to do all this while reducing the deficit and not cutting money-hungry entitlements like social security and medicare. As long as your promising shit without any tangible, economically feasible plan, why not go all out? Guarantee to get unemployment below 4% and cut every single government agency not associated with defense spending by 2016. Tell the American people that you can lower the price of gas to $.75 a gallon. Hell, join 3rd party candidate Vermin Supreme in promising every American a pony! As long as you don’t give us any specifics on how you’re going to do what you say you are, all you’re giving us is Obama’s policies versus the mystery box behind Door #2. Show some creativity Mitt.
Categories: US Politics