Thursday, November 8, 2012

Post-Election Commentary: History Turning a Corner with the New America

This morning, a selection of post-election commentary from the last two days that, to my mind, makes valuable points and raises interesting questions: the following all focus on the new America that one commentator after another sees expressing its political will in the 2012 elections, in which a record number of Latino voters voted, in which the gender gap nationwide was 18 points, in which significant numbers of progressive young voters made a powerful difference at the polls, in which 77% of gay voters backed Obama, and in which black voters responded to ugly, raw GOP attempts to suppress their vote by turning out in droves to exercise the right to vote:

National Catholic Reporter editorial, "Election Results Show We Live in a New America":

Welcome to the new America, in which a black man wins a second term as president, in which it is no longer possible to pile up enough of a lead among whites to assure victory, in which the fastest-growing minority, Latinos (overwhelmingly Catholic), vote for their most pressing interests, ignoring the warnings by some Catholic bishops that they were endangering their very souls. 
President Barack Obama's impressive win, in which he captured all but two of the states he won four years ago, was accomplished with a broad coalition of minorities, including Hispanics, Asians, women and young voters.

Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, "Can Republicans Adapt?":

America is changing. After this election, a record 20 senators will be women, almost all of them Democrats. Opposition to same-sex marriage used to be a way for Republicans to trumpet their morality; now it’s seen as highlighting their bigotry. 
An astonishing 45 percent of Obama voters were members of minority groups, according to The Times’s Nate Silver. Many others were women or young people. That’s the future of America, and if the Republican Party remains a purist cohort built around grumpy old white men, it is committing suicide. That’s bad not just for conservatives, but for our entire country.

Bill Boyarsky at Truthdig, "How Could the Republicans Have Been So Stupid?":

What was so striking about this election was the nation’s rejection of the Republican attacks, both open and subtle, against ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians and all women. 
In giving President Barack Obama a second term, the country has spurned Republican lies, protection of the rich and scorn for Latinos and African-Americans. Instead, the election assured a continuation of decent health care, fair taxation and protection of the rights of immigrants.

Morna Murray at National Catholic Reporter, "Hope and History Turn a Corner":

All those things aside, I believe what we witnessed last night was hope turning a page. I have been a supporter of Obama, even through his toughest times. But what I saw last night was a majority of this country, despite having endured extremely difficult times -- and disappointment -- seeing the light ahead. And in doing so, they have come to realize what a difficult job this president has had and how steadfastly he has held the course and rejected cynicism. It is hope grown up.

And a not-to-be-missed resource chock-full of more valuable commentary arranged around the twin themes of election winners and losers: Fred Clark at Slacktivist--winners and losers.

The graphic is from WRDBNR, via Christopher Donohue.

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