Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election 2012 recap: Obligatory Victory Lap Post

By Nathan Rothwell

I remember like it was yesterday thirty years ago.

It was late 2011, and I was writing a political column for a small community college newspaper. The Republican presidential primaries were just on the horizon, meaning that political pundits and the blogosphere at large was about to turn its primary focus to pontification about who would challenge President Obama for his job in less than a year. And I was somewhat lamenting having to write about it.

I was not looking forward to spending months speculating who would win the presidency when I was already convinced how it would unfold. At the time, I made the following three predictions to just about anyone who would listen:

  • Mitt Romney would win the Republican primary and earn the presidential nomination
  • Romney would eventually select Governor Chris Christie as his running mate
  • The Romney/Christie ticket would go on to lose to Obama in November 2012.

As it turns out, I just barely missed going three for three on my predictions. Paul Ryan would ultimately be selected to round out Romney’s losing ticket, but my other two predictions indeed proved true.

I’m sorry, I’ve put my horn away now – there will be no further tooting. I only bring this up to say that while I did expect Obama to defeat Romney for a good while, what I did not expect was the triumph of liberal candidates and ballot measures that would also earn clear victories last night.

Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first three states in the union to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, while Minnesota voters struck down a constitutional measure that would have defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. Washington also made news, along with Colorado, for ending 70 years of marijuana prohibition.

Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown to become the newest Senator from Massachusetts, earning a sweet revenge over the Republicans who blocked President Obama’s attempt to name her director of the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Tammy Baldwin became America’s first openly gay Senator by defeating Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin. And Republican senatorial candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, they who believed the rights of unborn cell clusters trumped those of rape victims, were soundly defeated by Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly, respectively.

Last night proved to be a night of clear victories for the left in America, which I hope will be remembered by the public and our media long after our post-election hangover. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show joked last night that after two years of campaigning and roughly $3 billion spent on the process, we’re right back where we started. 

To a large extent this is true; the House of Representatives remains in Republican control, while the Democratic majority in the Senate remains not enough to overcome the GOP’s blatant filibuster abuse and rampant obstructionism. So while Mitch McConnell’s dream of basing the entire Republican party platform on making Obama a one-term president has failed, there is little doubt that they will cling to these congressional numbers as an excuse to now make Obama a lame-duck president.

But for now, America appears to have made its choice. Obamacare lives. Rape apologists and “traditional marriage” proponents have been decidedly smacked down in the polls. Marijuana prohibition will soon earn its place alongside alcohol prohibition as one of the more bizarre chapters of American history. And Mitt Romney, assuming his wife’s words were true, will fade off into the political sunset forever.

Go ahead and enjoy your victory lap, Democrats. You’ve earned it. Just don’t forget that when you’ve finished, the Republicans will be waiting with an army of excuses and redoubled resolve in their obstructionism.

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