November 7, 2012 Leave a comment
John Cassidy in the New Yorker:
Hang on a minute, y’all. Who knows what the future holds? For now, let’s take the measure of what has happened, which is historic enough. For the fifth time in the past six Presidential elections, the Democrats have won the popular vote. For the second time in succession, Americans have elected a black man, the same black man, as President. Throughout the country, Republican extremists like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock have been repudiated. Residents of Maryland and Maine (and probably Washington state, too) have voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The United States of 2012 hasn’t turned into Scandinavia, but it isn’t the United States of 2010 and the Tea Party either. To the extent that the election was about anything more than negative advertising and relentless micro-targeting, it was a triumph of moderation over extremism, tolerance over intolerance, and the polyglot future over the monochrome past.
The exit poll largely told the story. In the nineteen-to-twenty-nine age group, Obama won sixty per cent of the vote. He got ninety-three per cent of the black vote, seventy per cent of the hispanic vote, and seventy-five per cent of the Asian vote. Fifty-six per cent of women voted for him, as did sixty-three per cent of unmarried people, two-thirds of secular voters, and about four-fifths of gays and lesbians. Romney carried fifty-nine per cent of white voters (male and female); a majority of all Americans aged forty-five or over; and fifty-seven per cent of married people. In ideological terms, Obama forged a liberal-moderate course to victory. Despite his post-Convention lurch to the center, Romney couldn’t win over enough self-identified moderates. In that group, Obama took fifty-seven per cent of the vote…
Now, the American public has rendered a judgement. By a small but significant majority, it has rejected the insular, backward-looking, feed-the-rich, extremism of today’s G.O.P., even when that extremism has a standard bearer who is relatively moderate—or, at least, flexible. It has reëlected to office a President who, for all his failings, tried during his first term to address some of the biggest problems facing the country, and did so in a spirit of pragmatism and civility that the Mitt Romney who governed Massachusetts would have appreciated.