This week, the news of course has been dominated by the elections, and the pundits are concerned with the future of the nation and the political parties.
But from a LOT of people, I am hearing new, louder, and more bitter grumblings: too many of those grumblings are based on fantasy of what “could have been,” and too many are STILL based on the idea that if “we” just do “this” or “that” some magic will happen. It is easy to get discouraged, even depressed.
The stock market news is certainly promoting that attitude: The S&P index had its steepest decline of the year in the last two days. It was the biggest drop in the two days following a presidential election since 1896 (because Bloomberg’s records don’t go back any farther). McDonald’s has reported its first monthly slump in sales since 2003. (clip from http://politicaloutcast.com/2012/11/the-obama-economy-starts-to-show-again/) This could be due to many things, but the election campaign and the election results have a lot to do with it, I’m sure. Two of the few stocks to show life this week are Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger. Gee, I wonder why?
Debby sent me a map which I think originally came from CNN or some other news service, showing the gradations of the vote on Tuesday for presidential electors. The subtle nuances that can’t be seen in a state-by-state summary are very visible, and it is both encouraging and scary.
First, look at the West Coast. All three states went Blue, but NONE of WA and OR east of the mountains did so. Northern California (except the coastal counties, heavily impacted by carpetbaggers from the Bay area) was also Red. Nevada is Red EXCEPT Reno and Las Vegas: the two major population centers. That all makes sense to most people.
But now lets look at the Rockies and Plains: Idaho had two counties: BOTH Indian Reservations, go blue. Montana had SEVEN counties go blue: Missoula (a university town) and the Indian Reservations. In Wyoming, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho seem to have gone red along with the rest of the state, the only exception being Teton County, or Jackson Hole: LOTS of rich carpetbaggers and of course a lot of government employees. And Albany County (home of Laramie and University of Wyoming) was pink: academia and liberalism. Utah had NOT ONE COUNTY go blue: its two pink areas are the Rez and the carpetbagger ski enclave around Park City. Arizona looks like a lot of blue, but those consist of two areas: Liberal Tuscon and the Reservations.
It is in Colorado and New Mexico that we see the split very well: In New Mexico, which went blue overall, the blue counties are the urban and reservation areas: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and the areas around El Paso. The reddest is Catron County, that infamously rebellious county bordering Arizona, filled with mean, nasty ranchers and such. New Mexico’s urban areas (despite strong military presence and influence) are hotbeds of blue-ness: new Hispanic migrants, Indians off the Rez, and New Age and wealthy retirees make it difficult. Colorado, shows even a more definite split, if you know the geography and demographics. You have the big urban mess of the Front Range, where Metro Denver and Boulder and Fort Collins all helped take the state, and you have the poor and Hispanic counties and the old industrial city of Pueblo in the south. But the darkest blue is one dirt-poor county in the San Luis Valley and San Miguel County in the southwest. Why San Miguel? It is the home of Telluride: where the “poor rich” that can’t afford to live in Aspen or Vail come to live and ski. That is why you see that strip of blue in the Western Slope: Steamboat Springs, Vail, Aspen, Gunnison, and Durango: big ski resorts with lots of wealthy and wanna-be wealthy plutocrats, and large hispanic and collegiate “servant” populations providing service and skiing. The anger this brings to the majority of people on the Western Slope and the Eastern Plains, as well as the conservative religious-military culture of El Paso County (Colorado Springs) is immense.
The Great Plains, on the other hand, is an enormous swath of red: the blue areas are easy to pick out. In Oklahoma, like Utah, NADA. In Kansas, a single county: home of the University of Kansas. In Nebraska, a single county: home of two Indian Reservations. In Texas, the bluest are the heavily-immigrant occupied Hispanic areas along the Rio Grande, from El Paso on the west to Brownsville on the east. The others stand out pretty strongly: Houston and Dallas and San Antonio are Texas’ shame: urban areas. Austin is the core, though: government and academia and hippieville all rolled into one. Texans need to reclaim their own capital from those who are, indeed, Anti-Texan as well as against liberty.
The Dakotas, of course, I know best, and EVERY one of the blue counties except one lone one in East River North Dakota are the Indian Reservations, who still refuse to understand that the Democratic Party has been using and abusing them for more than a century, and buy into liberal lies that they aren’t as hated by people with (D) after their name as they are by those with (R).
The states along the Mississippi repeat the West Coast mantra: urban and reservation areas are blue, most rural areas are red: the big exception is eastern Iowa, where urban and university and strong ties to the industrial cities (and probably a lot of farmers who like ethanol subsidies) all combined to give the state to the blue. In Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, despite the blue urban areas, conservatism won out – misguided though that conservative vote was in voting for Romney.
Much has been made of the evils of the Deep South – the media all seem to agree that racial hatred kept those states red. The county map may actually provide some support for that claim, but more likely for claims of reverse racism: that Romney failed to make his case to conservative black voters. The counties that went blue in an arc stretching from the Mississippi to southern Virginia are those with the largest black populations, plus the usual urban and academic area. In Florida, it is more clearly an urban (retiree carpetbaggers from the North) versus rural (crackers and military) split. Tennessee and Kentucky, once strong Democratic states, have only spits of blue; West Virginia, home of Robert Byrd, has NO blue: his legacy is dead (at least for now).
Now we come to the “Old Union” – a far nastier place than the “Old Confederacy” – the evils of Abe Lincoln (who would be a Democrat if not a Socialist today) have seeped into the water and the soil: But here, in the Rust Belt, we see that West Coast, Mississippi Valley thing: the blue are found in the urban areas: Madison (also academia), Chicago, East St. Louis, Indianapolis, the urban archipelago of Ohio, and of course Detroit and its ‘burbs. Pennsylvania is similar: Philly, Pittsburgh, Scranton-Wilkes-barre and Harrisburg, especially that part of PA that is in the great Atlantic Seaboard BosWash complex, dragged the rest of the state to the Blue. As happened in Virginia, where the combination of the Northern Virginia beltway bandits and the urban (and heavily black) populations of Richmond and Hampton Roads took the state for the Blue.
It is only the Northeast: the Mid-Atlantic States and New England; where the county map is really tinged blue: people there have forgotten what their ancestors bled and died for, and escaped from across the Atlantic. And the margins were tight even in many of those states, outside the big cities.
So what happened? Here are my thoughts:
(1) The GOP had it to lose, and they did, just as happened when Clinton won his second term against Dole in 1996. They hired a liberal-moderate instead of a conservative, trying to appeal to the middle, and in doing so alienated their right: the Goldwater-Paul followers.
(2) They wimped out on their platform, and on their failure to address essential problems: spending and borrowing and the deficit, taxation, regulation, and military adventures overseas.
(3) Therefore, they drove a lot of voters away: people just didn’t VOTE: they still buy into the “lesser of two evils” and “not wasting your vote” by not voting for a third-party candidate, but decided that there was so little difference between Romney and the current resident of 1600 that they decided to vote “none of the above” in the only way it can be done most places: by not voting.
(4) The Frankenstorm, Sandy, did not help at all because the GOP didn’t try to use it and the Dems did: they used it to castigate Romney, and at the same time, a lot of people figured that they had better things to do than vote.
(5) We will never know if the hacking of ballots and voter fraud ever really were involved, because when votes are relatively lopsided, no one fights to find the truth. But with the Dems controlling more and more State Secretary of State positions, if not through the elected official then through the employees, it would not surprise me that voter fraud and hacking are the reason the vote total came out as lopsided as it did.
Will the GOP learn? Probably not: look at the record: Ford, Bush I, Dole, McCain, Bush II, Romney: not a real conservative in the lot of them. The one exception is Reagan, and he was seen as NOT being as conservative as he was, because of his past in Hollywood and as a defector from the Democratic Party. The Dems are not repeating that mistake.
A lot of rank-and-file GOP types that I’ve talked to are VERY angry – not that they weren’t in 2008, 2010, and during the primary season this year. But they are learning, and now have bitter experience: they know that the elites have once again sold them out. Tea party movement or not, these people are getting older and wiser and plan to rip the party apart. And more than one has said that just might happen: ripping the party in two or even three pieces.
What about the rest of us? I will have to cover that in a separate commentary, as this is long enough. But as I told people on the night of the election, they put their hope into the wrong people, and Romney was no more capable of dealing with this nation’s problems than the current regime.