Post-Election 2012 Thoughts

  • The math was right.  Sam Wang and Nate Silver called the election correctly in every single state—well, if you consider that both of them had Florida as the only tossup in the final hours.  Wang ultimately thought it was leaning Republican and Silver gave it a slight Democratic edge (of less than .02 percentage points!!), and it still hasn’t been called, so we’ll see which statistician prevails.  But either way, I like to think that math was the big winner last night.  Ha!
  • Maine, Maryland, and (probably) Washington passed same-sex marriage initiatives (happiness!).  California had rejected it in 2008.
  • Colorado and Washington passed measures legalizing marijuana.  California had rejected it in 2010.
  • Seriously, Republicans think we’re some kind of bastion of liberalism?
  • California passed Prop 30, which allowed Governor Brown to cut $6 billion to schools and then force voters to raise taxes to get it back.
  • On the other hand, the money Colorado raises from the legalization and taxation of pot is going to go to schools.  This is the most brilliant thing I’ve ever heard.  CALIFORNIA, GET WITH THE PROGRAM.
  • Los Angeles County passed Proposition B, which requires condoms and health inspections in the adult film industry.  This was a terrible, terrible idea from the outset.  I know people who work in adult (I work in mainstream Hollywood, but there’s some crossover of people who do both—after all, a job’s a job), and the adult industry has always been very, very good at policing itself health-wise (and they were all against this, performers and production both).  With this new measure passed, the word on the street is that the adult industry is going to leave California and move its operations to Vegas.  No matter what you may think of porn, that is a huge economic loss for an already-strapped LA County.  I don’t think people realize how many people the adult industry employs.
  • Back on the national stage, I was amused by how many reporters (and not just conservative ones) seemed to show a slight surprise that minority and women voters can be deciding factors in an election.  It’s like some of them think that white men are the whole country and “pandering” to women and minorities is an afterthought, and how is it possible the President could be winning that way, that’s cheating!  (Cuz women and minorities aren’t “Real Americans,” right?)
  • The scrambling is going on in conservative corners, with everyone declaring with definitive, 20/20 hindsight why Romney lost the election.  It’s too bad they weren’t so certain about all of these weaknesses a few days ago, when conservatives were all still predicting sure victory . . . despite the math.  Romney didn’t even write a concession speech.  (Math has a well-known liberal bias, didn’t you know!)
  • The conservative punditry is ranging from, “Oh noes! We need to find a way to appeal to Hispanic voters and women!” (how about sensible policies?) to, “Romney was the wrong man to run!  He couldn’t shore up the base enough!” (Romney won his base, you nitwits; he just lost in the rest of America, which I remind you again also exists).
  • In general, some people are wondering whether the Republican party needs to reevaluate itself seriously (YES PLEASE, stop being the party of idiots and liars and start being the party of small government and sound fiscal policy you say you are!), or whether it needs to run farther into the conservative religious right (OH DEAR GOD NO).  Speaking as an independent, the Republican party wouldn’t have to work that hard to get my vote in a lot of elections, and I like having two good choices.  But the conservatives seem to be re-branding themselves as increasingly anti-woman, anti-gay, and anti-science, none of which I can vote for.
  • Speaking of anti-science, Phil Plait has a good rundown of how well Science! fared in the congressional races.
  • And speaking of congressional races, the “rape caucus” lost across the board.  WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT.  Thank you, voters, for having sense.  (Again, in the Republican surprise of the night, it turns out that women have had the right to vote since 1920!)
  • Voters had good sense in general this election, which gives me some hope.  In the coverage we watched, exit polls showed voters were pretty on the mark in knowing which of the candidates’ claims and ads were truthful and which weren’t (on both sides).  Kudos to the American electorate.
  • We now have a record number of women in the Senate (eighteen) and also a record number of Senators who identify as gay (one).  These are still pathetic numbers demographically, but it’s . . . a step in the right direction.
  • New Hampshire now has an all-female congressional delegation and also a female governor.  Probabilistically, you’d expect this to happen occasionally, given that women are, you know, half the population.  I’m glad it does now.
  • The reporters were pretty good at saying “percentage points” instead of “percent,” but a couple of them slipped a few times, leading me to yell at the television—”Percentage points!  You mean percentage points!  Percent is totally different!“  Ahem.
  • I was pleased to hear Joe Biden and his wife consistently (and with no fuss) introduced as “Vice President and Doctor Biden.”  It has struck me before that women with doctorates sometimes have their degrees passed over for a “Mrs.” when the news media deems the husband’s title is more important, and I was glad to see that not happen.
  • We mostly watched the election results on CBS, and were impressed by how factual and nonpartisan the coverage was.  We had our own opinions, of course, but we felt we were perfectly capable of looking at the results and then celebrating, rather than having the reporters tell us how to feel.  Numbers-based coverage for the win.
  • On the other hand, I hear Karl Rove argued with his own network’s forecasters when they called it for Obama, which is . . . sigh.  Ladies and gentlemen, the modern Republican Party, making it their platform to deny reality.  Please stop.
  • I thought the Romney campaign’s overconfidence (not having a concession speech, claiming their victory was a certainty) was in poor taste regardless of how the election turned out.  I much preferred the Obama campaign’s “we’re confident but it could go either way; we’ll see what the voters decide” attitude.  It’s just more polite.
  • Some of the Republican pundits seem to be blaming Sandy for Obama’s win, as if Romney was all-but-certain (not true) until Sandy swept in and foiled that flighty electorate into voting for Obama.  What none of them seem to remember is that if Obama had done a bad job handling Sandy, it would have hurt him instead of helping him.  It wasn’t Sandy that may (or may not) have given Obama a boost at the end, it was the fact that he did a good job handling Sandy.  Come on, people.   The President deserved that bump.
  • I’m surprised and impressed with how much coverage I’m seeing of Gary Johnson.  Not much, to be sure, but he won enough of the vote that people are mentioning his name a lot.  It makes me wonder if it wouldn’t do the Republican Party more good to start going in the Libertarian direction (or die out and let the Libertarians replace them).  I think there’s only a slim chance of that happening—too much of the GOP is entrenched in overly-conservative religion to embrace the social freedoms the Libertarians endorse—but I can dream.
  • I saw lots of tales of hijinks happening at voting places, which is BAD.  Still, we managed to get through a contentious election relatively peacefully and with, it seems, minimal voter interference in the big picture (or at least, voter interference that does not seem to have affected the outcome), which I guess says something good about the country.
  • My favorite (for some values of “favorite”) instance of polling-place shenanigans was a woman wearing an MIT shirt being barred from voting in Boca Raton, Florida, because they thought she was advertising for Mitt Romney.  “[A]n election supervisor at the polling place ultimately realized that MIT stands for ‘Massachusetts Institute of Technology’—a school where students tend to know how to spell,” said Boca News Now.  I’m swinging back and forth between laughing hysterically at this and feeling personally offended someone could confuse my alma mater with a candidate who was so bad at math.
  • Did I mention that math won last night?  Yes, I’m quite happy about that.

2 thoughts on “Post-Election 2012 Thoughts

  1. InMyBook

    Loved your election day coverage, and while I could not stop laughing at your humorous analysis, I also cannot agree with you more.

    It is satisfying how math won out over the “gut instincts” of certain pundits.

    Hilarious story about the MIT shirt being mistaken for an attempt to campaign for Mitt Romney.

    The financial investment firm I work for in NJ now has nervous clients calling to see whether they should liquidate their portfolios. While the market did react negatively to the election results, it will swing back. I think people will find that the election results really are not going to matter in the long run.

    My family members in Ohio, members of the religious right, are in mourning right now. I love my family, but I do not talk politics with them. I have no patience for people who use the Bible to condemn gay rights. I am as anti-abortion as any of them, but I don’t believe in making abortions illegal. Criminalizing abortions did not stop them before Roe v Wade. Women desperate to end their pregnancies sought illegal abortions, which were unsafe. I would prefer to provide birth control and educate women on ways to prevent pregnancy, plus offer support services for women if an unwanted pregnancy occurs. But in the end, medically safe abortions have to be available.

  2. slhuang Post author

    Thanks!

    I agree that the Wall Street swing is temporary. Reversion to the mean, and all that. Statistics for the win again! I’m not worried.

    Thank you for such a reasonable stance on abortion. I think a lot of people (on both sides of the issue) refuse to acknowledge what a difficult and complicated issue the abortion debate is, and how personal a decision regarding an unwanted pregnancy is for an individual woman. I’m as pro-choice as they come, but I completely agree that both sides can find a huge area of common ground in looking for ways to work towards less abortions through sex ed and birth control (unfortunately, a lot of pro-life people are also anti-birth control, which I find frustrating). Ironically, Planned Parenthood is one of the top organizations helping prevent abortions through this kind of work, and most pro-lifers condemn them.

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