Archive for category US Politics
The Plan B pill is taken by women the morning after having sexual intercourse in order to avoid getting pregnant. Unfortunately for the Republicans and John Boehner, their plan B could not prevent the birth of a fiasco, meaning the Republicans are screwed.
After weeks of talks it was clear that there was no way Speaker John Boehner could get his party to support the kind of deal that he and President Obama were building to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The Republican leadership decided they needed a “plan B” to pressure the Democrats to make more concessions.
At first Plan B was simply to pass a higher tax rate on to millionaires, with rates staying the same for everyone else. Boehner’s argument: ”I’ve now shown I’m willing to accept a tax rate increase. That’s what the President has wanted from me. Now let’s see what he’ll give me in exchange.” If nothing, Boehner reasoned, the GOP would have some cover -rather than being seen as an intransigent party refusing any tax increase on the wealthy, they could say they had moved and the Democrats need to respond in good faith.
Only thing – Boehner had to get Plan B passed. At first he figured it should be easy. His party has the majority in the House, and back in 2011 many Democrats had suggested that raising rates on millionaires would be enough – Boehner could throw their own words back at them. If it could get through the Senate with Democratic help, it would force Obama to veto the bill and make it look like he was blocking progress. Fearful of that happening, Obama would have to give the Republicans more of what they wanted.
It didn’t work.
First, Democrats were pretty united against it. What was said in 2011 is irrelevant; this is a new political reality. Given that, Boehner needed to have Republican unity to get it to at least pass the House. He failed. Too many conservatives had taken a career stand against EVER raising taxes, even on millionaires.
Boehner appealed to reason – the lower tax rates will expire on everyone on January 1. Then the House will be forced to pass a bill lowering taxes on those under $250,000, meaning rates will go up on a lot more people. ”I need this for my negotiations,” Boehner said - for leverage, it’s not actually going to become law!
Nope. The hard right, already angry that some of its members had committee assignments plucked away from them for their disloyalty, dug in. So Boehner added budget cuts to the mix – cuts that meant that any chance that the Democrats could support it withered. He didn’t care, he was desperate. He had to pass something in the House. ANYTHING.
After a tense meeting on the evening of Thursday December 20, the Republicans managed to impale themselves. The far right accepted nothing, the Speaker’s leadership was rejected, and the party was split. Conservatives were gleeful about the separation, believing they had gotten revenge on the Speaker and had stood on principle. But it’s a Pyrrhic victory.
In the headlines the story is clear: Boehner’s efforts to compromise even a bit were shot down by extremists in his own party. Any effort to shift blame to the Democrats or show that the Republicans were negotiating in good faith fell apart. Any deal that gets passed will be a Democratic agreement — the President and Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) will craft a proposal that can pass the Senate and the House, appealing to at least enough Republicans to get it through.
Moreover, this will likely happen after New Year’s, meaning that the Republicans might lose the President’s offer to raise rates only on those earning $400,000 and higher.
Conservatives say fine – make the Democrats own what is passed. Make them responsible for tax increases, make them responsible for any cuts that are made. Rather than governing, which is what legislative bodies are supposed to do, they want to make stands on “principle.” But principles are always simplified rules of thumb, inapplicable across all contexts. Sticking to simple principles is for the simple minded – reality is far more complex.
Governance is about compromise and problem solving. John Boehner understands that; too many in his party do not.
So now what? The Republicans are in disarray, still fighting over the lessons of 2012, even as a recent CNN poll shows that 53% of Americans consider the GOP too extremist while 57% consider the Democrats mainstream. They may hope that 2014 is 2010 redux — another off year election — but the mood of the country is much different.
Simply, they are seeing their “conservative revolution” die. The country is moving slightly center-left, with pragmatism trumping ideology. The Grover Norquist types are 20th century relics, whose politics are poison today. The tea party was the last gasp of this movement, reacting in horror to the election of man they couldn’t imagine as President. But it was an illusion, they won in 2010 because of the economy and the fact the voters thought it would facilitate compromise. It wasn’t a popular conservative rebellion against Obama.
2012 may be seen as the election that solidified a move to the left that started in 2006, and was interrupted by the 2010 elections. If that’s the case, the Republican party is going to have to go through a kind of reconstruction, rethinking how their principles and beliefs apply in the 21st Century. They’ll need to look at other successful conservative parties in Europe, and most of all recognize that the world today is not the same as it was thirty years ago.
Perhaps its fitting that a party that has been fighting against contraception insurance with no co-pays for all women should have its Plan B fail. The party has reached rock bottom, there is no place to go but up. Will it be a Rubio uniting the conservatives with a more moderate message? Perhaps Chris Christie’s gruff style can be a pragmatism conservatives embrace? Right now the Republicans are down and out, but the future is pregnant with possibilities.
With all due respect to those of you out there named Sandy, the destruction of hurricane Sandy and the trauma of the Sandy Hook shootings cause me to think maybe “Sandy” should become a word to embrace. The “spirit of Sandy” should be a call to action in defiance of the odds, a motivation to make fundamental changes to our world to make it a better place.
“Sandy” may seem like a nominal link between two tragedies, best left unnoticed. I disagree, I propose to turn it into a word of change and transformation. For example, the “spirit of Sandy” is seen in the actions of Sandy Hook teacher Vicki Soto, who died while trying to save her students from the crazed killer. She had told friends the day before she loved her 16 “angels.” On the day of the killing she hid them in the closets and told the gunman her kids were having class in the gym. He shot and killed her. Her angels survived.
These tragedies point to two issues that threaten our children’s future: climate change and violence. I’m not ready to make Sandy Hook primarily about guns. Yes, our level of gun violence is so much higher than any other industrialized state that anyone saying guns aren’t a cause can’t be taken seriously. We also have high levels of accidental gun death, recently I read about a three year old shooting himself.
Yet here in Maine we have lots and lots of guns. We are very safe. If I forget to lock the door, I don’t worry. If I see a guy with a rifle walking along the road, chances are he’s clothed in orange and looking for deer or whatever is in season. It’s about the kind of weapons available, and also about mental health, our culture, and our attitudes. To turn this into a question of gun control is to belittle it. We need to look more fully at what kind of society we have become.
We need to embrace the spirit of Sandy. (Hey, Steven Colbert started a word with Truthiness, maybe I can do this with “the spirit of Sandy”!) Ask difficult questions, change course, try to bring our culture to a better place. Compromise on gun control, improve mental health awareness and support, and display the “spirit of Sandy” with acts of kindness.
Hurricane Sandy needs to open our eyes to the real problem of climate change. There is every reason to do something. While the US has dithered, the Europeans have not only met the Kyoto Accord targets, but proved that it not only didn’t hurt their economy to do so, but it gave them a leap forward on green technology.
Climate change is real. Islands in the South Pacific are sinking, some are signing agreements for population transfers in the coming years. Yet in the US big money wants to try to obfuscate, hide the science, raise questions, and stymie political action.
Sandy must mean courage – we need the “spirit of Sandy” to recognize that the world we give our children requires on making wise and courageous judgments today.
The “spirit of Sandy” must entail the courage to confront issues that were deemed too hard or controversial. Not to choose the path of least resistance, but the path of change and transformation.
We’re on the edge of a new century. Technology is changing rapidly, our world is in motion. The problems that confront us can’t be solved with the old thinking of self interest, us vs. them, and fear of difference. The spirit of Sandy is to embrace new thinking: us with them, and an embrace of difference!
The tragedies that came in the latter half of 2012 don’t have to be seen as meaningless. These can awaken us to a better future. Change is difficult. Transformation requires sacrifice. But with the “spirit of Sandy” we can work towards a better future for our children.
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC said that many on the far right are getting rich on “impotent rage,” firing up their listeners to be angry about Obama’s re-election but unable to do anything about it. Well, you might say, that’s Maddow, she always chastises conservatives. Yet conservatives William Kristol and Joe Scarborough have also decried the way some on the right — talk radio, especially — are getting rich off a style that pushes for an uncompromising and unrealistic stand on absolutist “principles.”
The problem in the GOP is that the reasonable people of the party are having to deal with a large, media savvy group of conservatives who have fostered a cult like thinking.
That is not only un-American, it is also un-Conservative and irrational.
It is un-American because our system is based on the idea that no individual or group has an absolute claim on truth. Democracy is a way to get people to debate, learn from each other, and try to figure out the best compromise. We learn as we go based on what works and what does not. The idea that we should focus simply on ideology or principle would be foreign to the founders. Their principles were broad based and open to diverse ideas.
It is un-Conservative because conservatives value tradition, social stability and a sense of community. Conservatives have adopted a strong free market perspective but have always recognized that markets have limits and that the good of the country trumps any ideological stand point. And, given that tradition involves compromise and deliberation, the extremism of Neil Boortz and Rush Limbaugh is distinctly anti-conservative.
It is irrational because it focuses on pushing a party line with the vehemence of a religious extremist. The “true” conservative values are XY and Z. Those who seek compromise and moderation are “RINOs” (Republicans in name only). This desire for conservative purity has cost them the Senate. Ideology-based thinking leads them to embrace clearly false claims – that there is no human caused climate change, the earth is 9000 years old, women’s vaginas magically shut down the possibility of pregnancy when they are raped and other such non-sense. Truth is not based on science and evidence, but on what would be true if their ideology was infallible.
Here are some questions. Answer yes to any of them, and you just might be a conservative cultist:
1. Do you believe Obama has a secret agenda to push the US towards socialism and away from a market economy?
2. Do you believe that Obama hates America and wants to give our sovereignty to the UN?
3. Do you know who Alinsky is, and do you think somehow Obama is following some kind of plot of his making?
4. Are you convinced that the Democrats simply try to buy votes by giving people stuff?
5. Do you secretly (or even openly) wish women couldn’t vote because they aren’t truly rational?
6. Do you think votes should be weighted by wealth, since the poor have ‘no skin’ in the game?
7. Do you believe that Obama is an incompetent narcissist who has no leadership capacity?
8. Do you believe there is a nefarious “agenda” out there that gays, internationalists, liberals and other types are following, which would stab America in the back and move us away from our core values?
9. Do you think the country is on the road to collapse, and figure the GOP should just let Obama have his way so the Republicans aren’t co-responsible – the “let it burn” argument?
If you said yes to more than one of these, you just might be a member of a cult!
I’ve even read blogs where someone seriously posts that people should keep any pledge they have made (meaning the Norquist pledge) no matter what, because you never break a pledge. However, what if they decide that under current conditions the Norquist pledge would lead them to actions that do harm to the country? Should our elected representatives really be more concerned about keeping a pledge than doing what’s right? Or is Peter Parker aka Spiderman right – sometimes the best promises are those we are willing to break? After all, many German soldiers didn’t turn on Hitler even when they saw what was happening because they took an oath to Hitler. I think its simple minded blindness to keep an oath just because you took it, no matter what.
True conservatives won’t play that game. They recognize that they have something to bring to the table and they can force Obama to compromise (and Obama has shown a willingness to compromise). They don’t demand strict adherence to “principles.” An uncompromising devotion to absolute principles is for the narrow minded. Principles are simplified general ideals, but in the real world those simplification break down. Blind adherence to principle is the mark of someone unwilling to embrace real world complexity – a cultist, in other words.
You see it on blogs and talk radio especially. I’ve been in many debates, sometimes heated, with conservatives. But usually we don’t take it personally, nor do we ridicule each other and say the other person is somehow evil or bad. In fact in most cases we find we agree on core values — Americans are more united than divided. Go to a cultist blog and try going against their party line and they respond with ridicule and personal abuse (and yes there are cultists on the left too). That’s how cultists protect their message, they don’t allow it to be questioned, especially not by people who may have good arguments.
Republicans have tolerated the cultists because they brought energy and a solid voting block to the party. As long as party leaders (whom cultists deride as the hated “Republican establishment”) could control the real policy actions of the party, the cultists were an asset. But in 2010 they crossed that line.
The most recent example – rejection of the UN People with Disabilities treaty even as John McCain gave his support and Bob Dole was on hand to persuade skeptics to vote for it. Senators who recently supported it voted no, fearful that the cultists would put up hard core conservative primary opposition.
Republicans need to purge the cultists from their ranks, or at least render them ineffective. They inspire rage, but a rage that cannot win – you’ll never have a pure Demint style conservative government any more than you’ll ever have a pure Kucinich style liberal government. Or if we do it’ll only be a gradual change reflecting the whole culture. Our system is designed to avoid sudden lurches to such extremes. It’s designed for compromise and loyal opposition.
Warnings are everywhere that we must avoid the fiscal cliff or else face recession. The fiscal cliff is a series of tax hikes and spending cuts resulting from an inability to achieve targets on deficit reduction set in 2011. The spending cuts hit 1000 government programs, touching ones dear to both Republicans (military spending) and Democrats (Medicare).
Most of the cliff involves repeal of the payroll tax cut (which expires in December) and the Bush tax cuts (which expire January 1). The argument is that the mix of tax increases and spending cuts will seriously damage the economy and cause growth rates to plummet into recessionary territory.
All this is set up by the negotiations around the debt ceiling back in 2011. The Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling unless budget cuts were made to halt the increase in the deficit. President Obama entered into negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner to try to reach a grand bargain to do just that. The talks failed. The “grand bargain” that the Republicans walked away from would have been about 85% spending cuts and 15% tax increases.
Republicans rejected any tax increase, making a deal all but impossible to reach. 236 of the 242 House Republicans, and 40 of the 47 Republican Senators have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist’s “Americans for Tax Reform” organization promising not to raise taxes ever. Many Republicans figured that if they held out they could take the Presidency and Senate in 2012 and then craft their own measure with no need to compromise or raise taxes.
At the time people thought the Republicans had bested the President. He was ridiculed by progressives as having been naive, willing to bargain with Republicans when their goal was to do whatever they could to defeat him in 2012. He was called spineless for not invoking the 14th amendment to circumvent Congress and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. Obama’s lowest ratings were in the wake of the breakdown of those talks. In retrospect Obama looks like a strategic genius – the Democrats have set up a situation where they hold the best cards, thanks to the sequestration deal and the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
So will the fiscal cliff cause a recession? Perhaps, but the damage will be limited. A couple charts:
Beyond that, growth after 2013 is robust, even if we go over the cliff:
Going over the cliff could enforce a kind of restraint that would yield long term benefits. At the very least it would unclog the gridlock preventing real solutions to the budgetary and economic crises. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire would render the pledge to Norquist meaningless — taxes would go up automatically and any agreement to cut taxes to the middle class would be a tax cut, not a tax increase.
So why all the alarm?
Besides the fact that the slow down in 2013 would be real, there is concern about the cuts themselves. Many important government programs will be cut, angering the left. Defense spending will be cut, angering the right. Good! This will force them into meaningful negotiations.
The Republicans essentially demanded no tax increases or defense cuts, but steep cuts to entitlements, social welfare programs, education and programs Republicans disliked (such as PBS). In the heady days after the 2010 election that might have seemed feasible, especially if they were going to win back the Presidency and Senate. Now it’s a pipe dream.
President Obama was re-elected, the Democrats remarkably gained two Senate seats and even though the Republicans still hold the House, the majority is smaller and overall Democratic candidates for the House received more votes than did the Republicans. The Democrats have every incentive to make a deal now, while the Republicans would prefer to come up with a piecemeal deal to push the issue down the road to when political conditions are more favorable. The farther they can get from the 2012 election the better it will be for them.
If we go off the fiscal cliff, the GOP will be forced to deal quickly. To prevent tax increases on the middle class there may be a will to increase capital gains taxes – something that could raise significant money. Those low tax rates are why Warren Buffet pays a lower rate than his Secretary and why Governor Romney thought it more harmful to release his tax returns than to keep them secret.
Nothing should be off the table. Each side could recover from political hits by the 2014 election, better to act sooner rather than later. Going over the cliff will make both sides eager to reach a deal.
The danger in that is that the Democrats could make the mistake the Republicans did and overplay their hand. In 2014 it is unlikely the Democrats will gain the House, and if this deal goes bad due to Democratic intransigence the Republicans could have another big off year election. The Republicans blew it by not making a deal when they were in a position of strength, the Democrats can’t afford to make the same mistake.
It could be that the cliff is the only thing that will force both sides to actually make structural reforms that can lead to a sustainable budget. It’s not just about the money. The Democrats can “give” on issues like taxes and defense in part in exchange for tougher regulations on Wall Street and less resistance on appointments to agencies like the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency).
Ultimately we all lose if there isn’t bold action as quickly as possible to get the government to a sustainable budget with a modicum of bipartisan support. Fear of the cliff stands in the way of making bold choices and creates the danger of kicking the can down the road to deal with at a later date. Go off the cliff. Face reality. A sharp down turn will be short and followed by growth. The pain will be limited, and it just might force the politicians to make difficult choices.
The re-election of President Obama was not unexpected. In fact, having followed the polls and Nate Silver’s modeling of the election it played out almost as if scripted, with no surprises. In my predictions I got only two races wrong, and I knew each was a long shot (NC for Obama, Carmona for AZ Senate). Usually elections hold surprises, this one did not.
At least, not for those of us who believed that the pollsters knew their business and someone with Nate Silver’s track record should be taken seriously. On the far right there was shock, indignation and collective anger and dismay. How could this happen? (Note: I use the term “far right” to differentiate them from average, reasonable Republicans and Romney supporters.)
Many bemoaned the fact that the country “is no longer center-right,” and talked openly about the inevitable decline of the United States. A few on the fringes hoped for a quick decline, with talk about “going Galt” and stocking up on ammo and supplies. Glenn Beck urged people to buy farm land, get as far from the East coast as they could so they can be around “like minded” people and keep the kids away from public schools! The country cannot survive an Obama victory, Beck prophesied. After the heady high of 2010 many found the results of the 2012 election simply impossible to accept.
Two things are happening. Some on the far right are stuck in their own parallel universe. They read each other’s blogs, watch FOX news and listen to talk radio, creating a sense that their own view is far more widespread than it is. Groupthink of this sort isn’t rational, it’s more like a feeling, something “in the air.”
Moreover part of groupthink is to see your opponents as less intelligent, moral or rational than yourself. That the left is “falling for Nate Silver’s statistical mumbo jumbo” or “believing obviously skewed state polls” becomes viewed as self-evidently true. They reinforced each other’s certainty that the left was deluded. Some even fantasized that the left would riot and burn cities if Obama wasn’t re-elected!
That brings me to their second error : a caricatured and completely over the top misguided view of the left. To them the left loves big government and has a victim mentality that rationalizes taking from the rich. The right, in this odd perspective, represents hard working Americans who take responsibility for their success and want personal initiative rewarded. The right is steadfast, rational, ethical, and responsible. The left is wobbly, emotional, greedy and jealous of success.
That explains the level of intense emotion and anger on the right. They have constructed a straw man adversary who represents the worst character traits humans have: greedy, lazy, wanting to steal from others, irrational, unethical, and jealous of success. To them the left is a group of slack jawed moochers relying government to rob from the job creators to give them their flat screen TVs, dependent on a sinister government who trades this ‘free stuff’ for votes. If they truly believe all that it’s understandable how righteous rage, indignation and even resignation come from this election.
The reality is that virtually no one on the left believes people should see themselves as victims. Indeed the key to success in life is personal initiative, a willingness to work hard, and an acceptance that each individual is responsible for their own success in life. The only sense of entitlement is that military service entitles veterans to basic support when they come back, and that after a life of work the elderly are entitled to a basic standard of living and health care.
Moreover, the views of the left are rooted in a sense of liberty that can be traced back to thinkers like John Stuart Mill in Great Britain. Mill noted in mid-19th Century Great Britain leaving the market to its own devices had led to horrific results. The economy was growing, but the workers lived in squalor, working class children weren’t educated, health care depended on wealth, and that social status at birth determined life success, not hard work and personal initiative.
Capitalism and markets are good, but we can use the state to assure that all people have true opportunity. In trying to make sure that people aren’t condemned by status at birth to a life of grueling labor and poverty, the goal is to expand liberty. Create real opportunities for everyone to succeed. Make sure that hard work and initiative determine success, not simply status at birth or how much you inherit.
The left in the US embraces the notion of wealth as a reward for success. Why are so many millionaires Democrats? They don’t hate success or think being wealthy is bad. Rather, the goal is to make sure that if you’re poor you still have the opportunity to become wealthy – that the deck isn’t stacked against you. Again, that’s an expanse of liberty, in line with American values.
The debate should be about how to work towards real opportunity without stifling economic growth and development. What role should government programs play, and are they effective? How do we prioritize dealing with the debt and deficit, how do we restructure our economy to fit the changes of the 21st Century?
So with all due respect to those on the far right freaking out: chill. It’s OK. Democrats don’t want to overturn capitalism, create a country of dependent moochers, or punish success. Indeed no Democratic plan would even raise tax rates close to the levels they were under Reagan. Democrats are open to making reforms of what isn’t working, they want government programs to create opportunity for people to help themselves, not build a dependent class.
It’s emotionally satisfying to imagine the other side as more menacing and less rational than they are — the left does that to the right as well. But ultimately Americans come together and solve problems. Americans recognize that disagreement is an essential aspect of our system — we learn by debating differences and exploring compromise.
Ideology can be comforting – many use it as a way to try to find certainty in an uncertain world – but it’s based on delusion. No simplified model of reality can really capture the complexity of the economic and political realities we face; rather, we have to work to solve problems and be practical and patient. As the President noted, what unites us is far stronger than what divides us. As Governor Romney noted in his gracious acceptance speech, it’s time to put the partisan bitterness and division behind us. Time to get to work!
While courts and state legislatures have legalized same sex marriage in the past, whenever the issue came before the people in a referendum it failed — 32 times in all. Here in Maine the legislature approved same sex marriage in 2009, only to have it overturned by a people’s veto that November by a margin of 53 to 47. At that time I wrote that same sex marriage had been “postponed.” Social conservatives complained that the courts and legislatures were responding to special interests while the people clearly opposed giving marriage rights to gays.
On November 6, 2012 the tide turned.
In Maine, Maryland and Washington State voters approved legalizing same sex marriage by votes of 53-47 in Maine and 52-48 in both Maryland and Washington. An effort to pass a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage failed in Minnesota 48-51. Beyond that Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin to the US Senate. She will be the first openly gay Senator. It does not appear that her sexuality was an issue in the contest.
To be sure, in much of the country approval of gay marriage would have no chance. However the writing is on the wall – it’s only a matter of time until gay marriage is as controversial as interracial marriage. It’s a true sign that tolerance is on the rise in America; one of the last groups to suffer legal and accepted bigotry and discrimination are finally being recognized as equal.
Thinking back, it’s amazing how different things are now than from when I was in college. The first time I recall encountering someone who I knew was gay was in German class in high school. He was obviously a character (his name was Randy, I can’t recall his last name) and he had spent time in Germany. He helped me ask a girl to the prom by distracting the girl’s twin sister. The girl turned me down and Randy seemed genuinely disappointed. Although he never openly said he was gay, we’d chat all the time in German class and I was pretty sure he was “one of those.”
Any doubts I had about his sexuality were put aside the next year when Walter Cronkite reported that my old high school had made the national news by having a gay couple attend prom. I quickly recognized that it was Randy from my German class and while a lot of people were appalled (they needed police protection due to threats), I thought it was a cool way for Sioux Falls Lincoln to make the news. Would a gay couple going to a high school dance get reported on the national media these days (I mean, that was Walter Cronkite!)?
When the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared same sex marriage legal in 2003, many people were shocked. Social conservatives were convinced that there would be mass outrage. In an on line discussion board one argued that if this wasn’t stopped there would be a Constitutional Amendment within a year to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. He couldn’t comprehend that “normal” folk would stand for such a thing.
Yet slowly other courts and some state legislatures followed suit. Still it remained an issue that couldn’t win a public referendum. Even with polls showing a radical increase in acceptance of gay marriage to well over 50%, opposition played on fears and got people to the polls to stymie efforts to either pass gay marriage rights, or at times to overturn those passed by the legislature.
In 2012 that changed. A look at demographics suggest the change will continue. In Maryland, exit polls showed 70% of people under age 29 supported gay marriage. For age 30 to 44 it was 60%. People over 45 narrowly opposed it, and those over 65 voted against it by two to one. Simply, opposition to gay marriage is doomed to die out. Today’s youth don’t view homosexuality the same way as their elders.
It will take awhile for this to spread throughout the US. After all, in parts of the deep south interracial marriage is still seen as something unnatural and unholy. Once whites and blacks could marry, they argued, it wouldn’t be long until people started marrying animals. But people with signs yelling “perversion, bestiality, and sodomy” at gays get rolling eyes from youth and are seen as the functional equivalent of knights of the Ku Klux Klan – a sad group of bigots who fear people who are different than themselves.
Those who once saw this as a threat to societal norms are slowly realizing that allowing gays to marry expands family values and reasserts the importance of a committed relationship. The youth of today, connected via social media and the internet, already are comfortable with difference. The idea that a couple can not marry because of their sexuality is seen as being as irrational as not allowing marriage between red heads and blonds.
Marriage as an institution has constantly been redefined through the millennia. There is no age old standard definition; the idea that it is primarily about love is relatively recent. Marriage is a social construct, defined to reflect the customs and norms of the culture in which it is found. Expanding marriage rights to gays shows that our culture is becoming more tolerant and acceptant of difference.
There is still a long way to go, but the elections of 2012 mark an important step on the road to increased liberty and tolerance. That is worth celebrating. That this happens the same year an African American gets re-elected President in a contest against a Mormon in which neither race nor religion are prominent issues is something we can be proud of!
Yesterday I predicted Obama would win the election Tuesday, based on data from polls, early voting and voter turnout projections. It does not appear likely that state pollsters were statistically biased or that voter turnout will go significantly below 2004 – 2008 levels. Moreover, late polls seem to be breaking for the President. It is still close, but the evidence points to an Obama win.
Caveat: While the headline prediction looks excellent for the President, it’s based on four states that literally could go either way: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and New Hampshire. If they go for Romney, then he’s within 16 votes of the Presidency — Ohio would give the election to Romney. The data suggests to me that Obama is favored in each, but not heavily. The election could still go either way.
Predicting which states he’ll win and what his electoral vote total will be is difficult. I’ve been pouring over information about early voting stats in Florida and North Carolina (my two hardest calls), reading different prognostications and trying to figure out my own best guess. So here goes. First, a number of seats are not competitive:
SAFE ROMNEY SAFE OBAMA
Alabama (9) California (55)
Alaska (3) Connecticut (7)
Arkansas (6) Delaware (3)
Georgia (16) District of Columbia (3)
Idaho (4) Hawaii (4)
Kansas (6) Illinois (20)
Kentucky (8) Maryland (10)
Louisiana (8) Massachusetts (11)
Mississippi (6) New Jersey (14)
Nebraska (5) New Mexico (5)
North Dakota (3) New York (29)
Oklahoma (7) Oregon (7)
Tennessee (11) Rhode Island (4)
Texas (38) Vermont (3)
Utah (6) Washington (12)
West Virginia (5)
VALUE: 144 EV VALUE: 187 EV
A number of other states will only be competitive if there is some dramatic twist in the election. I’ll just list these, giving electoral vote values.
Likely Romney: Indiana (11), Montana (3), Missouri (10), South Carolina (9) South Dakota (3)
Likely Obama: Minnesota (10), Maine (3)* (Maine divides its EV by Congressional district and the 2nd district is only leans Obama)
Total safe and likely Romney EV: 180 Obama EV: 200
And now my state by state predictions for the rest, with explanation where warranted, in alphabetical order:
Arizona (11): Romney: Soon Arizona may join Nevada and New Mexico as swing states or even Democratic leaning if the Latino population in the US continues to predominately support Democrats. It is possible that a surprising uptick in Latino votes could push Arizona into Obama’s column — that’s why it’s listed out here. The polls suggest that strong white support for Romney will keep Arizonia with the Republicans.
Colorado (9): Obama: This was a hard state to call. It’s been at times in the polls for Obama, and at times for Romney. Republicans are doing well in early voting. A strong Latino vote and late polls that leaned Obama cause me to award it to the President. Also today reports are that the Romney camp is down on Colorado due to internal polling.
Florida (29): Obama: I thought as late as yesterday that I’d guess Romney on this one. But the early voting was phenomenal given the shortened time period (near equal to 2008), and a backlash against attempts to limit early voting might work against Romney and the Republicans. Also, I think polls might be underestimating Latino votes (note – as becomes clear, this may be an election Obama owes to Latinos). I think voter turnout will be high, and Obama will pull it off.
Iowa (6): Obama: Obama hit this state hard at the end, and most polls showed him pulling away, though not to the extent they did in other swing states. Still, this is where it started for him, he’s winning the early vote big time, and recent polls have looked strong.
Maine 2nd Dist. (1): Obama: I live here, and it’s definitely the rural/conservative portion of Maine. Still, both polls I’ve seen suggest Obama has a decent lead, and I expect he’ll take the district. I wouldn’t be shocked if Romney got this EV, but the election doesn’t seem to be trending this way.
Michigan (16): Obama: Pretty easy call, though some late ad buys and a couple close polls made it at least conceivable Romney could do well. Most polls show an easy Obama win, especially given the auto bail out.
Nevada (6): Obama: This one is closer, but most polls show Obama with a decent lead of about 4%, and Romney stopped really competing for it in the last week. This suggests that they consider it out of reach and in Obama’s camp.
New Hampshire (4): Obama: Polls have varied widely for New Hampshire, and this is a state that likes to defy expectations, whether in primaries or general elections. It’s often forgotten that if New Hampshire had gone for Gore in 2000 Florida would have been irrelevant – Gore would have won. I was very close to giving this to Romney, but some huge rallies, good late polls and lots of effort by Obama there towards the end suggests that they’ll have the momentum to pull it off.
North Carolina (15): Obama: North Carolina is another that had me switching sides — first I thought Obama should take it, then new polls and the very narrow margin of 2008 made me lean Romney. After all, nobody expects Obama to do as well in 2012 as in 2008, do they? So I’ve been reading about early voting results, the mood in North Carolina, and watching what the campaigns are doing. Since I think this election is breaking towards Obama, I decided, perhaps more from the heart than the head, to give this to Obama. I was about to call it for Romney but when I saw that early voting increased over 2008 I decided to take a bet that this means very heavy turnout. Still, I’m sticking my neck out here!
Ohio (18): Obama: Ohio has been polled more than any other state, it seems, and the polls are overwhelming in favor of Obama, some late polls by a solid margin. Early voting has also been strong in Ohio, and I read reports that Republicans were alarmed by the level of early voting in Democratic counties over the final weekend (the weekend where the Legislature and Governor didn’t want anyone but military families to be able to vote early, until overruled by the courts). So everything points to a clear Obama win here. If Ohio is really close, that could be a sign that the Romney team’s assumptions about this race were accurate after all – an important state!
Pennsylvania (20): Obama: Late ad buys and a final appearance by Romney cause many to think that the GOP considers Pennsylvania winnable. John McCain made a similar effort in 2008. Yet Obama has had pretty consistent leads in most polls (and those that show otherwise tended to be outliers or partisan). With 20 electoral votes, Pennsylvania is a real prize. If you have to gamble, this is the place to do it. But Obama should win by at least 5.
Virginia (13): Obama: Until a few days ago I was leaning Romney on this one, but late polls seem to be breaking for Obama. Virginia does not have no excuse early voting, which is one reason I thought Romney might pull it out, especially if Democratic enthusiasm is even a bit down. Still, given the late polls I end up giving it to Obama. Not as hard a call as North Carolina, but this could go either way.
Wisconsin (10): Obama: Wisconsin was to be in play with the choice of Paul Ryan of Janesville as Romney’s VP candidate, but all signs are that Obama is finishing strong here. On Monday Bruce Springsteen opened for Obama in Madison. How many people can say that they’ve had Springsteen as their opening act?
So, add all these together and the result is:
OBAMA: 347 EV ROMNEY: 191 EV
Popular Vote: National polls have moved to give Obama a one or two point lead. They now seem in line with the state polls. I don’t expect Obama to win the electoral college and lose the popular vote, in part because the small states that go red tend to have smaller population to EV ratios. I’ll predict Obama 50.8 Romney 48.2.
The House of Representatives: I have not been following the House races closely enough to make an informed prediction. In 2010 I paid more attention and the best I could do was to pick a range of Democratic loses from 29 to 69 – it’s hard to miss with that kind of range! All I can do this year is say that I think the Democrats will gain at least ten. If things really break their way they could take the House back, but from what I can tell even Democratic optimists doubt that.
Same Sex Marriage: It looks very much like it should pass here in Maine — it was close in 2009, and that was an off year election which allowed the evangelicals of the state to have a stronger impact. I’m not sure about Minnesota, Washington state and Maryland. Polls in three of the states show about 52 – 45 in favor of same sex marriage (not sure about Washington state’s polling). Polls tend to overstate support, so it will likely be much closer. If it were to pass in all four states this would be a watershed, perhaps the most historic aspect of the 2012 election cycle. Even if only one state supports same sex marriage this will mark its first success in a referendum, and that would be a big deal.
So it comes down to tomorrow! However it turns out, this has definitely been one of the more topsy turvy and interesting general elections in recent history. It’s been fun to watch! Don’t forget to vote!
The election seems to breaking President Obama’s way. A tweet from Nate Silver put it this way: ”Sample average of national polls released Thursday Obama +0.9, Friday Obama +1.2, Saturday Obama +1.3, Today so far Obama +1.4″
The veritable Pew Research Group, which had Romney up four after the first debate, found them even after the second, and on Sunday found Obama leading 50-47. The national numbers finally seem in line with the state numbers.
Still, I’ve been struggling with this prediction. The national polls remain close. Team Romney wants to claim that this means the election will entail a razor thin victory which could go either way. That sounds very plausible. Yet the state polls have shown a convincing lead for Obama, though greater in breadth than depth. Moreover Republicans have argued that the polls are wrong because they are making false assumptions about voter turn out or purposely skewed to support Obama.
Whose assumptions are right — those expecting a close race and lower Democratic enthusiasm, or those believing Obama is on track to win?
Here are my assumptions:
1) Voter turnout will be roughly in line with 2004 and 2008, with Latino vote increasing.
2) While early voting won’t be dominated by the Democrats this time (after 2008 there was no way the GOP would punt on that the way McCain had), the increase of GOP voters doesn’t mean a large increase in Republican votes. That’s because Republicans are very likely to vote anyway. It just shows that both parties recognize the importance of early voting and are making it a priority.
3) The polling this cycle is not off base or skewed. Blaming the pollsters is common for the side that’s behind.
Dr. Michael McDonald predicts a turn out of 60-61%, and he specializes in making such calls. That’s in line with 2004 and 2008. Moreover, 2008 was not a year where voter turnout increased massively due to Obama’s “hope and change.” To expect a decline in turnout in a hotly contested election in which billions were spent doesn’t make sense. Finally, in surveys Latinos and blacks show intense enthusiasm for the election, even though Republicans claim their voter share will go down.
In many states efforts to pass voter ID laws and limit early voting may in fact be spurring on minority turnout. It’s not just about President Obama, it’s personal. “Governor Rick Scott would prefer I don’t vote,” one black man said. ”I’m not going to let him win.” Indeed, the so-called “voter suppression efforts” of this election cycle may backfire.
Going over the polls from each day over the last month, the election has followed a clear if often tumultuous path.
After the two conventions it seemed President Obama was on a roll. The GOP convention had sounded bitter and pessimistic while the Democrats beat an optimistic drum. Just when Obama’s convention bounce started to fade the “47%” tape came out. Romney seemed a caricature and Obama supporters like myself started to think this could be a landslide.
Everything changed on October 3. It wasn’t that Obama was so flat it was that Romney was so different than his image. Rather than barking out a desire for massive tax and spending cuts with disdain for government, he came off as a reasonable moderate. He was nothing like the Mitt Romney of the GOP primary season, nor did he sound like the plutocrat dissing the “47%.” He was reasonable, clever and made the President look ordinary.
The President’s support had been soft, based on a strong negative view of Governor Romney. Public perception of changed. He caught up to Obama within days, and by the time of the second Presidential debate had opened up a 3 point lead. The campaign was slipping away from the President. He was still ahead in most swing state polls, but it was clear that the firewall he constructed in September was a Maginot line — a defense Romney could circumvent and overcome.
While Vice President Biden’s defeat of Paul Ryan energized Democrats, it was the second Presidential debate that stopped the bleeding for Obama. He was perceived as having won the debate by putting Romney on the defense and turning potential problems (like Libya) into strengths.
The third Presidential debate saw an inverse of the first. This time Governor Romney, believing momentum on his side, sat on the lead, hoping to look Presidential and undercut any image of him as a war monger. He was docile, agreed with the President, and polls gave Obama a victory by about the same proportion they gave it to Romney in debate one.
Since then there has been a slow, steady drift back to the President Moreover, Governor Romney never sealed the deal after the first debate. He showed that he could be moderate and pragmatic but never gave people a true reason to vote for him.
Until the last few days I was not confident that Obama was going to pull this out. It “felt” like Obama was winning, but intuition is a dangerous indicator. Bias is driven by intuition and hunch. If it “feels” like the race is going the way you want it to, it’s probably because you want it to! Bias can blind people to the obvious.
I look over at right-leaning blogs and note that their belief Romney will win tends to be driven by conspiracy theories (the polls are purposely skewed in some vast left wing conspiracy to demoralize Republicans) or scenarios not justified by data (there will be very low turnout from minorities and Democrats or people are sick of Obama and will make up their minds late to make a change).
The evidence suggests Obama is heading towards victory. Not a sure thing, but I think Nate Silver’s 85% odds are on track.
Monday I’ll post my predictions on how the states will go as well as some thoughts about the House and the three same sex marriage ballot initiatives which may end up making this an historic election. Two more days!
My prediction: The next Senate will be Democrats 56 Republicans 44 (D + 3). The Democratic numbers include two independents expected to caucus with the Democrats. If I had made this prediction a year ago it would have been laughed at as utterly insane. As it is, I’m predicting two to four more Democratic seats than do most pundits. The RCP “no tossups” map shows the Democrats up 54 – 46.
Going into 2012 it looked certain that the Republicans would gain the majority in the Senate. Math was on their side – Democrats had 23 seats to defend, the Republicans only 10. This was the result of the skewed wave election of 2006, when anti-war sentiment led voters to give Democrats a huge midterm victory. With the Senate at 53 to 47 the GOP needs to pick up only four to have a majority (or three should Governor Romney win the Presidency).
Safe seats: Each party has a number of “safe seats.”
Republican safe: Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Mississippi, Tennesse (5)
Democratic safe: Washington, Minnesota, California, Michigan, West Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia and Delaware. (11)
That leaves 17 “real” races out there. If they were split 50-50 the GOP would gain three to four seats and yield a 50-50 Senate or even a Republican majority. However, the Democrats look to outperform expectations actually pick up seats in a year that had looked disastrous to them. State by State:
Likely Democratic Holds
NEW MEXICO: At one point Heather Wilson looked to mount a strong challenge to Democrat Martin Heinrich for the seat being vacated by Democrat Jeff Bingaman. Although one poll shows her down in the high double digits to Heinrich, most show Heinrich leading comfortably. Given Obama’s popularity and the likelihood of high Latino turnout, I call this for Heinrich.
FLORIDA: Bill Nelson was seen by many as likely to fall to Connie Mack this year, as Nelson suffered low job approval and doesn’t appear a “natural” politician. Connie Mack seemed more charismatic and energized. Nelson has managed to lead most polls, often in the double digits. Nelson should hold his seat.
Toss up states likely to stay Democratic:
CONNECTICUT: At one point Linda McMahon hoped to use her wealth along with experience from her narrow 2010 defeat to overwhelm Democrat Chris Murphy. However, Murphy has shown a steady 4 to 6 point lead in the polls, and despite a self-financed last minute ad-blitz by McMahon, Murphy looks likely to win this seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman.
MISSOURI: Although I’m not certain Akin won’t come back — a lot of late money has flowed into this race — Republican Todd Akin, a tea party favorite who defeated moderates Sarah Steelman and John Brunner in the primary, is consistently down in the polls by 4 to 5 points. This was an easy GOP pick up for anyone by Akin. If he hadn’t made his controversial comments about “legitimate rape,” causing a queasy GOP to abandon him (at least until near the end), he’d have won. His rape comments, however, now make it probable McCaskill will hold her seat.
MONTANA: This race has bounced back and forth, and Democratic incumbent Jon Tester appears slightly up against Denny Rehberg. It could go either way, but I think late momentum is with Tester and he’ll pull it off. This is a state Republicans really hope to pick up. I struggled with this pick.
NORTH DAKOTA: Late polls show this race a toss up, and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp seems to have momentum. That said, Republican Rick Berg has had consistent leads of about 5 points. I think Heitkamp plays well to the independent Dakota mentality and I predict she’ll pull it off, holding for the Democrats the seat vacated with Kent Conrad’s retirement.
OHIO: Incumbent Sherrod Brown has suffered low approval ratings and a genuine decline in popularity, and if he had been on the ballot in 2010, he’d surely have lost. Republicans thought they had a very good shot at this, but so far Josh Mandel seems to be falling short. Brown should hold his seat.
PENNSYLVANIA: Bob Casey is a new deal liberal Democrat who many considered very vulnerable in this election cycle. Lately challenger Tom Smith has been closing the gap and I’m not as convinced now as I was two weeks ago that Casey will win. He remains the favorite.
VIRGINIA: This is a very close race, both in the polling and due to the fact there are two popular candidates. Tim Kaine has polled better in the more reputable polls than Republican George Allen. They are contesting the seat Democrat Jim Webb decided to abandon after one term. Very close, but Kaine should win.
WISCONSIN: This seat looked to be trending strongly towards Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who emerged as a surprisingly strong contender against former Governor Tommy Thompson. Thompson was rusty on the campaign trail and seemed to lack the energy for a tough fight. Lately Thompson has been closing in and polls vary. Baldwin seems to be holding her slight lead, and so I predict she’ll keep Democratic the seat open due to the retirement of Herb Kohl.
Toss up states likely to stay Republican
NEVADA: Dean Heller was appointed to replace scandal ridden Senator John Ensign. Shelly Berkley has mounted a decent challenge, but has not performed as well as Democrats hoped. Still, it remains close. In 2010 polls had Sharon Angle at a similar advantage over incumbent Harry Reid, but Reid prevailed due to strong Latino turnout. It might happen again, though I suspect pollsters have learned there lesson. Heller’s small lead has been consistent.
Predicted Democratic pickups
ARIZONA: This is my long shot pick, Democrat Richard Carmona upending Congressman Jeff Flake. Carmona, Attorney General under President Bush, has mounted a behind the scenes insurgency to catch up to Flake. This race got no notice until a few weeks ago when Carmona zoomed ahead in some polls. Though the Republicans have responded with lots of money and support, Carmona could be bolstered by a better than expected Hispanic turnout. I’m going to bet Carmona here – it just feels like he’s going to emerge on top.
INDIANA: This was the safest Republican seat in the country (other than Maine) going into the election cycle. Richard Lugar’s re-election was assured. Then tea partier Richard Mourdock upended Lugar in the primary to face conservative Democrat Joe Donnelly. Like Akin, Mourdock tripped over comments about rape and women’s rights, and now appears unlikely to win. Surprisingly, Indiana should be the most easy Democratic pick up this cycle.
MAINE: Maine was also a sure bet for the Republicans before Senator Olympia Snowe announced her retirement. At first people expected a hotly contested race, but then two things happened. First, Independent former Governor Angus King got in the race, and second very liberal Cynthia Dill won the Democratic primary. This has assured that King will retain solid Democratic support. Though coy on which party he’ll caucus with, King will be unlikely to embrace a Republican party that has viciously attacked him throughout the campaign. Maine and Indiana will be two Democratic pick ups, both unthinkable two years ago, but now close to sure things.
MASSACHUSETTS: Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s seat back in 2010 and despite being a tea party favorite at the time, he’s been a traditional New England Republican – moderate and reasonable. Despite amassing a fortune for this contest, Elizabeth Warren has bested him in debates and appears poised to take back the seat for the Democrats. Ted Kennedy would be pleased.
Predicted Republican Pickups:
NEBRASKA: Up until a couple weeks ago this was a no brainer. Bob Kerrey as an elder statesman no longer had the appeal he had when he was Nebraska’s favorite son twenty years ago. He’s lived too long outside the state and was no match for Republican Deb Fischer. Recently some polls showed the contest tightening to within 3 to 5 points (others see Fischer retaining her lead). Chuck Hagel and Joe Lieberman have endorsed Kerrey. Some Democrats are hopeful, especially given Kerrey’s history of late minute comebacks. But it is a tough task – Fischer should win, a GOP pick up of the seat being vacated by Democrat Ben Nelson.
Analysis: It could have been even much rosier for the GOP. If the Republicans had chosen the moderate, establishment Senate candidates in Colorado, Nevada and Delaware in 2010, the Senate would be sitting at 50-50 right now. In this cycle extreme candidates threaten a GOP seat in Indiana and could squander the best Republican pick up opportunity of the year in Missouri. Given that partisanship led Olympia Snowe to retire and give up her safe Republican seat in Maine, between 2010 and 2012 six seats that would be certain Republican are now possible or probable Democrat — all because the GOP chose to go with ideologues over moderates.
In any event, the idea that the Democrats could emerge from this election cycle remaining in control of the Senate, let alone potentially gaining seats, is perhaps the most amazing story from this election cycle. The races are close enough that the Republicans could still gain a majority — but unless the polls are way off, that’s unlikely.
Hubert Humphrey was known in the Senate and as both Vice President and a Presidential contender as the “happy warrior,” someone who fought with unbounded energy and drive for equality and social justice, but without the bitterness that infects some activists.
As we near an election with the country divided, Humphrey should stand out as a model. Whether your side wins or loses, there is no cause for bitterness. Keep fighting for what you believe in, but not out of anger or resentment.
I like to live by what I call the “reality principle.” Reality is what it is. Getting mad or upset about things that can’t be changed is foolish and self-defeating. If on November 6th President Obama is defeated my preferred candidate will have lost. If I let that affect my mood and happiness, however, I’ll be acting irrationally. I can’t give the American electorate power over my personal sense of happiness.
At base, the reality principle is simple (my version of it, not Freud’s!) Adapt to reality. Accept the world as it is, and don’t let the world’s injustices and problems cause personal pain and dismay. Instead, observe with equanimity what the world offers, work hard to change what you think is wrong, and don’t get angry or upset by the things beyond your capacity to change. Those must be accepted.
For many activists and believers of social justice, this is very, very hard to do. One sees a world with a $30 billion sex trade industry with young girls having their lives ripped apart by evil pimps who want to use them simply to make money. We see children being turned to warriors fighting conflicts in Africa, often having their arms scrapped open so cocaine can be rubbed directly into their bloodstream. On the African continent nearly half the children are chronically malnourished, with little likelihood of a prosperous future.
Meanwhile we live in material opulence, taking for granted a level of comfort and ease that surpasses what most people have enjoyed throughout human history. Even the poor live with a level of convenience and plenty that most of the world and most people throughout time lack. Wicked men and women play with lives in order to try to control oil, resources and vast corporate empires, feeding their own psychological pathologies at the expense of others. Many people simply partake in mindless distractions, oblivious to the good they could or should be doing.
Given all of that, the relative importance of whether Mitt Romney or Barack Obama is elected President next week seems diminished. Moreover, the next election cycle comes in 2014 and then for President in 2016. The game continues to be played.
Yet many on the left and right view the election through emotional partisan lenses, absolutely convinced that the election of the ‘other guy’ would be devastating for the country. Mitt Romney made the absurd statement that if Barack Obama is elected he would guarantee that America’s best days are behind us. The Obama campaign states Romney’s plans will drive the US back into the economic abyss. The reality is that each will have to compromise with the other side to get anything done. Obama has proven himself a centrist establishment Democrat while Romney is by all accounts a centrist establishment Republican. The world will not drift towards destruction if either one of them is elected.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m not downplaying the importance of the election. If Al Gore had gotten 600 more votes in Florida in 2000 we may not have gone to war in Iraq and might not have had exploding deficits in the 00′s. We don’t know. Perhaps the real estate bubble wouldn’t have happened and we’d be much better off economically – elections can make a big difference. We’ll never know for sure what would be different – one could argue we’d be worse off without the Iraq war – but elections matter.
Yet once the election is over, that’s reality. It should not cause anger, despair or resentment. Reality is as it is, it has to be accepted. Instead, following Humphrey, people who take the issues seriously should throw themselves in to doing whatever they can to promote their cause. Not out cynical bitterness but as “happy warriors,” delighted that they have the opportunity to participate in trying to make the world a better place, recognizing that small actions can have huge long term ripple effects.
Success is not defined by achieving the ideal world, but by moving a little closer to it in the course of ones’ life. The results of our acts are not visible to us. We have to have faith that if we act on good will and give our effort into creating a better world we do make a difference. We don’t need to see results or know the future to validate that faith. We need to recognize that it’s how the world works.
So my hope is that people work hard to support the causes and people they think will make choices to improve the country and build a better future. Those efforts are more important than who wins or loses on election day, and our work to build a better future cannot be tied to election cycles. But we should never give others in the world power over our own happiness.
To much to ask? Well, when reality really hits hard we often need time to grieve. Go through the stages of grief, but don’t wallow there. It’s not a fun place to be.
Hubert Humphrey lost a very close election in 1968, and his record as Vice President was marred by the Vietnam war. Yet he never gave into bitterness or anger, got along with folk on both sides of the aisle, and remains a political icon. Even those who disagree with his principles respect his energy, integrity and ability to be a ‘happy warrior.’ Ultimately that brings more satisfaction than giving in to the bile and anger that too often infects American politics.