Well as Dandy Don Meredith used to say at the end of pro football games, "turn out the lights, the party's over." It certainly is for Mitt Romney. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars and the entire, corrosive, weight of the right wing propaganda machine he managed to blow a winnable election. Even though they are still counting ballots in Florida the deal is done. Barak Obama passed the magical 270 electoral vote plateau around 10:40 pm central time last night.
It was a result that made many FOX contributors look like fools. In fact Karl Rove was reduced to babbling idiocy on camera when told his own network was awarding Ohio and therefore the election to Obama. He ranted on and on about some mythical lead of a mere 900 plus votes when the graphic next to him clearly showed the president pulling away with a two to three thousand vote lead. It was a display that left Chris Wallace sitting in stunned embarrassment and led one analyst to mutter, "well, that was awkward." Indeed, you can spew all the bullshit numbers you want before people start to actually tabulate the vote, however it is another matter entirely when you become clearly delusional on national TV and deny hard data. Obviously the man was deep in the throes of an acid flashback and believed himself to be looking at the early 2000 Florida results.
So, as they say, how did we get here? The speculation is flying. Some have written that the GOP's fealty to the tea party mob finally caught up to them. The theory is Romney sold out to the extremists so early and often to guarantee himself the nomination he couldn't effectively back away from their lunacy. That, in the end, he painted himself into a corner and moderate independents and conservative democrats became scared his administration would be held hostage by the "chock full o nuts" wing.
Others, including Politico, blamed it on the blunt reality that the current GOP, as they put it, "is too old, too white, and too male." It is a theory which might have more than just a little validity. As this blog pointed out after both conventions the camera shots of the those in attendance were a stunning picture in racial contrast. The hall in Tampa was an almost unbroken sea of white faces. The crowd in Charlotte was a patchwork of every racial group found in the country.
The brutal new truth that the republicans found out yesterday is that you can't win with only white folks any more. Early demographic breakdowns show Barack Obama won a mere 39% of the white vote. Unfortunately for Mitt, the president won 93% of the African American electorate, 71% of the Latinos and 70% of the Asians. In addition he won among all women by 11%. His total among unmarried women skyrocketed to 67% and when it came to the 18 to 29 year old age group he won 60% of the vote. That Ward and June Cleaver United States just doesn't exist anymore.
The country is growing more diverse every year and the Anglo-European population is shrinking in comparison to the rest of the nation. If the GOP won't or can't recognize that and accept it they are going the way of the Whig party in the next couple of decades.
As with everything it is no doubt a combination of factors that led to Mr. Romney's defeat. I personally like to think a major contributing factor was that surreptitious video of him speaking to his big dollar donors in Boca Raton. In truth, as he stood there in front of his kind of people, the extremely wealthy country club crowd, he seemed for the only time in the entire campaign relaxed and comfortable. He was, for that terribly fatal moment, the real Mitt Romney. And the real Mitt, while human at last, was an arrogant bastard that most of us would rather avoid.
Reaction from the lunatic fringe has been sparse, but ugly. Rush Limbaugh was on the air raving about the U.S. now having to welcome with open arms every illegal immigrant in the world. Donald Trump tweeted something about us needing a revolution, then quickly deleted the post, no doubt after one of his legal staff pointed out the definition of the word sedition to him.
Meanwhile the republican establishment, if there is such a thing anymore, is desperately looking for an answer to the most basic question. How do we attract people of color and different ethnic backgrounds to the party? That one will be a tough nut to crack given the current policies and platform of the GOP. Ultimately if they want that to happen they must, as the Lord said, "be born again."
The next four years will be a struggle. The republicans couldn't unseat the president and were beaten like gongs in senate races they thought they'd win. However, they still have a firm grip on the house. Hopefully they will finally see the reality of the situation and begin to work with this administration to cure the lingering ills of the economy.
Only two things are certain at this point. Right now the republican house is facing a chief executive who doesn't have to worry about re-election. When they push he will shove back without hesitation. And, somewhere in this fair land, in a dark little print shop, someone is cranking out "Hillary in 2016" bumper stickers.