Barack Obama And The Death Of Normal

07 Nov
November 7, 2012

I was on an airplane last night as the election was decided. As the plane landed after midnight on the East Coast, I confess that my hand was shaking as I turned on my phone for the news. I did not want to see dishonesty and divisiveness and raw political hackery rewarded. It is hard enough for anyone to actually address the problems, to move this country forward, to make the intransigent American ruling class yield even a yard of the past to the inevitable future. But going backwards last night would have been devastating. I read the returns in silent elation; a business trip had me traveling in business class and the gnashing of corporate teeth all around precluded a full-throated huzzah on my part. I abhor a gloat.

But the country is changing. And this may be the last election in which anyone but a fool tries to play — on a national level, at least — the cards of racial exclusion, of immigrant fear, of the patronization of women and hegemony over their bodies, of self-righteous discrimination against homosexuals. Some in the Republican party and among the teabagged fringe will continue to play such losing hands for some time to come; this shit worked well in its day and distracted many from addressing any of our essential national issues. But again, if they play that weak-ass game past this point, they are fools.

America is different now, more so with every election cycle. Ronald Reagan won his mandate in an America in which 89 percent of the voters were white. That number is down to 72 percent and falling. Fifty thousand new Latino citizens achieve the voting age every month. America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.

You want to lead in America? Find a way to be entirely utilitarian — to address the most problems on behalf of the most possible citizens. That works. That matters. Last night, it mattered just enough to overcome the calcified political calculations of men who think that 47 percent will vote against them because they are victims, or that 53 percent are with them because the rest of us vote only from self-interest and without regard for the republic as a whole. It was a closer contest than common sense and the spirit of a truly great nation should dictate. But unless these white guys who have peddled “normal” for so long — normal as in racial majority, normal as in religious majority, normal as in sexual orientation — unless they have a hard moment of self-reflection and self-awareness, well, it will not be this close again.

Eighty years ago, the Democratic party became a national utilitarian enterprise, molding the immigrant waves of Irish and Italian and Jew into a voting bloc that stunned the political opposition and transformed American society, creating the world’s greatest economic engine in the form of a consumer class with vast discretionary income. The New Deal asserted for American progress — shaping and influencing administrations both Democratic and Republican — for three decades before running aground on the shoals of the civil rights movement, resulting racial fears and resentments, and, of course, the Southern strategy of political cynics.

Well, a new voting bloc as formidable as the New Deal coalition certainly isn’t yet complete, and the political results are still fitful. To be sure, venality has transformed the upper house of our national legislature into a paralytic failure, with a new standard of a filibuster-proof supermajority now the norm. The lower house of that legislature reflects less of any national consensus than it does the absurdity of post-census gerrymandering. Never mind Obama. If Romney had won this election, our government would be just as broken. It is the legislative branch that remains an epic systems failure.

For lost and fretful white men, unwilling to accept the terms of a new America, Congress is the last barricade against practical and inevitable change. But there, too, the demographic inevitabilities are all in play. All the gerrymandering in this world won’t make those other Americans, those different Americans, go away. And the tyranny of minority and lack of compromise that you employ to thwart progress now will likely breed an equal contempt when the demographics do indeed provide supermajorities.

Hard times are still to come for all of us. Rear guard actions will be fought at every political crossroad. But make no mistake: Change is a motherfucker when you run from it. And right now, the conservative movement in America is fleeing from dramatic change that is certain and immutable. A man of color is president for the second time, and this happened despite a struggling economic climate and a national spirit of general discontent. He has been returned to office over the specific objections of the mass of white men. He has instead been re-elected by women, by people of color, by homosexuals, by people of varying religions or no religion whatsoever. Behold the New Jerusalem. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a white man, of course. There’s nothing wrong with being anything. That’s the point.

This election marks a moment in which the racial and social hierarchy of America is upended forever. No longer will it mean more politically to be a white male than to be anything else. Evolve, or don’t. Swallow your resentments, or don’t. But the votes are going to be counted, more of them with each election. Arizona will soon be in play. And in a few cycles, even Texas. And those wishing to hold national office in these United States will find it increasingly useless to argue for normal, to attempt to play one minority against the next, to turn pluralities against the feared “other” of gays, or blacks, or immigrants, or, incredibly in this election cycle, our very wives and lovers and daughters, fellow citizens who demand to control their own bodies.

Regardless of what happens with his second term, Barack Obama’s great victory has already been won: We are all the other now, in some sense. Special interests? That term has no more meaning in the New America. We are all — all of us, every last American, even the whitest of white guys — special interests. And now, normal isn’t white or straight or Christian. There is no normal. That word, too, means less with every moment. And those who continue to argue for such retrograde notions as a political reality will become less germane and more ridiculous with every passing year.

Lots of waste and shouting and ignorance still to come, of course. But last night was a milestone.

 

743 replies
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  1. Vincent Chung says:

    Gosh, so much heavy lifting in the comments. Here, this on-topic Louis CK stand-up bit will ease the tension:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4f9zR5yzY

    Reply
  2. Calvin Dodge says:

    “That is hardly comparable to attempting to marginalize or even suppress voters who are not of the same race or religion or gender or sexual orientation as your base.”

    You’re referring to Voter ID, right? It’s funny how Democrats see ‘stopping illegal votes” as “suppressing our side”. Or are you seriously suggesting gays don’t know how to get drivers’ licenses?

    Meanwhile, kindly point us to the post expressing your outrage at the suppression of military voters, as state after state violated the law with regard to getting absentee ballots overseas in time for the election. I guess the evilness of “suppression” depends on who the voters in question are likely to choose.

    When you express outrage over a tactic because of the tactic, rather than whose ox is gored, I’ll pay attention to your complaints. Until then you’re simply another partisan hack who enables the lawlessness (encouraging violation of labor laws regarding layoff notices, illegally partisan hiring practices at the DOJ, running guns to Mexican drug cartels) of the Obama administration.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Please prove any evidence of a single event of widespread voter fraud over the past several election cycles. Every study of the issue indicates that the issue is a manufactured one.

      As to simplicity of merely providing a driver’s license or state ID, the actual practice of voter suppression involves the examination of required identification and then the false manufacture of unreasonable grounds by which to refuse such an ID or challenge a voter. This has been a routine tactic in voter suppression efforts.

      “This picture doesn’t look like you.”
      “I don’t think this address exists.”
      “Why aren’t you wearing glasses?”
      “What do you mean, you changed addresses a month ago. I have you listed two blocks away…”

      The use of IDs is not in all cases an innocent guard against fraudulent voters (who actually don’t exist in any number, according to recent studies) but instead a wedge that can be used to argue or intimidate voters out of their franchise. That’s the history. And in the present election, there were stories from several states about these precise tactics being employed.

      Reply
    • David Keeth says:

      There was no “suppression of military voters.” There was only a leveling of voting opportunities and limitations between civilian and military voters.

      Reply
  3. Bruce says:

    David.

    Do you really believe “There’s nothing wrong with being anything. That’s the point.”? After reading your essay, I just find it hard to believe that you could really listen to someone who disagrees with what appears to be your open-minded, “truth is what you want it to be” perspective. This is not a gotcha comment; I’m sincerely interested in your response. Tolerance today is most often defined as accepting all views as OK as long as those views are sincere — while tolerance is actually showing respect to someone (or group) even if you disagree with them. Someone once said that those who celebrate tolerance of other views always seem amazed that there are other views — where do you really stand?

    Thanks in advance for clarifying.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      In no way have I ever said that all views are okay. You said that. Those are your words.

      I have said nothing about the relative merits of opinions, some of which are certainly ludicrous, extreme and irrational. I’m pretty well known for advance views I think have merit and attacking those I with which I have little regard.

      I am saying that I believe in a society that not merely tolerates, but even welcomes the black and brown of people of color, the authority of women over their own bodies and life choices, the open homosexuality of gays and lesbians, as well as the aspirations of immigrants to achieve a better life as my neighbors. And further I am saying that I will vote for the political candidates and party that best exemplify that spirit and I will vote against those that do not. And even further in this essay, I am saying that the Republican Party, augmented by the tea drinkers, have been so deliberate in their opposition to these minority groups that they have successfully achieved a majority willing to vote as an emerging Democratic coalition.

      How does any of what I have said amount to tolerance for any and all views?

      Reply
      • Bruce says:

        Thanks for clarifying. I misunderstood your statement “there’s nothing wrong with being anything”; sounds like you were referring to skin color or ethnicity — not beliefs. In that sense, I understand. A final question: what if someone sincerely agrees with you on helping the poor — and also believes that abortion is murder? i.e., if you really care about the poorest of the poor, what about the very poorest among us (infants in the womb) that, more than any living poor person, can’t speak for themselves? I’m not suggesting you would ever get to agreement, but could you listen to them respectfully? I’m hoping yes, but not sure.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Actually, I believe it is entirely legitimate to believe that abortion is the killing of a human being. When life begins is an argument that well-meaning people can certainly have. But it is also an argument that well-meaning people can’t resolve. There is no definitive answer that is going to convince either pro-life or pro-choice Americans to abandon their position.

          If that is the case, then we — as a society, not as individuals — must somehow come to a plausible reckoning.

          If we outlaw abortion in this country, or we restrict its access based on class and economic opportunity, then affluent women will travel elsewhere for abortions and less affluent women will return to back alleys. The prohibition on abortion was untenable in the past and it will be no less brutalizing to the health of women in the future.

          The only and inevitable solution is for pro-life activists to continue to present their arguments in the context of social and religious settings — to bring their convictions to the marketplace of ideas, but to eschew any effort to legislate individual action. Women’s bodies belong to them, not to the society. A fundamental civil liberty is breached when the law and government interpose in what must be an intensely personal and fraught weighing of a decidedly personal issue.

          This can never be resolved as a legalism. It will only be resolved, frankly, by each and every woman confronted with choice. That pro-life advocates need to assert for their beliefs is understandable and inevitable, just as pro-choice advocates must do. But the debate cannot have a political or legal conclusion, because no such conclusion can ever actually function other than terrorize women and deny them control over their own bodies and lives.

          Reply
          • Alex says:

            David, that was the best response I’ve read to date re: pro-life v. pro-choice. Love your work, and thanks for responding to your readers’ questions through this medium. How soon can we get you back on Jason Whitlock’s podcast?

            Reply
          • SKPeterson says:

            But I guess any profits they make with those bodies they control don’t really belong to them do they? Society gets first dibs, right?

            And if those female bodies disagree, well we can send along some guys with guns to force them to comply with our desire to control the fruits of their labors.

            Reply
            • MDM says:

              What on earth are you talking about? Read your own comment out loud to yourself and ask yourself if it makes any sense whatsoever. I’m only 20% trying to insult you. The other 80% is simply very concerned.

              Reply
            • jon w says:

              Are you really saying profits and properties are extensions of our bodies?!

              That appears to be a testable hypothesis trivially proven false. So let’s not talk about it!

              Reply
            • Dude says:

              In what world is making money the equal of choosing whether or not to bring a pregnancy to term?

              Reply
          • Nokuchikushi says:

            I think it’s worth noting that there is a very real issue behind the abortion issue; that abortion is the beard for something else. It stands to reason that to be pro-life or anti-abortion, some solutions would be offered beyond closing down abortion clinics and putting the doctors involved on death row. A good argument could be made that the availability of contraceptives and sex education can do a lot to curb the need for abortion. I am sure there are studies suggesting exactly that. Yet, pro-lifers are not only opposed to abortion, they are opposed to contraception, to the day-after pill, to sex education. And they are strongly opposed; this is no mild disdain. So, then, what is this really about? The pro-life movement is in reality anti-sex. They can’t say that, of course, because a declaration decrying sex in general is not going to find as many devotees as pictures of aborted fetuses. But there it is. That is what the “pro-lifers” platform is really about. Sadly, they really don’t care all that much about abortions or aborted fetuses for that matter. Probably many of them could muster up a good argument in favor of the abortion of brown babies (especially if they could subsequently incarcerate the mother, of course). The underlying issue is they care about sex, and don’t want other people to have it – unless of course it’s between properly married white Christian men and women.

            Reply
          • Bruce says:

            I am encouraged to read that you support reasoned discussion…and a fair hearing for other points of view. Good for you — and hopefully discussions like the ones you describe will take place, and our country will benefit. I did not expect that after reading your description of the folks who voted against (or campaigned against) the President’s re-election. My challenge to you is to visit with folks who voted against Obama and see if the majority really fit the descriptions found in your essay.

            Reply
            • Obamney says:

              Bruce, I did not vote for Obama. I voted for Jill Stein. I have major problems with Obama’s performance to date: the NDAA, drones, raids on medical marijuana dispensaries to name just a few.

              As a woman, I would never feel welcomed in a party that tells me I don’t know what is best for me, medically. Period.

              Man, I would love a “like” or “dislike” button here! Some great comments.

              Reply
  4. Nilay says:

    In case you can’t hear it, I am applauding. Did you catch the voting map on nyt yesterday, though? It was an interesting visualization of how much of the country actually moved to the right this year. Mathematically, I think that’s just a product of how far left we moved four years ago, but that data does run counter to some of your conclusions. That said, yours is a spirited address, and one can’t deny that whether the sea change is happening now or soon, the rivers are flowing and the water is fine.

    Reply
  5. Doug Wareing says:

    You say in the comments that “What this essay says is that the political strategy of pitting your base of support against the external “other”…The strategy backfired and it will continue to do so, increasingly.”

    And yet, that’s exactly the same tactic employed by the Democrats. Obama attacked the rich for being too successful, attacked businesses for being too successful, attacked people who want self-determination over government “provision”, attacked people who want less tax penalties for personal success, attacked Catholics who want freedom of religion in their organizations, attacked people who think it’s normal to expect someone to pay for their own condoms, etc. Conservative values were constantly under attack, even though there are plenty of black, latino, women, and gays who share those values.

    Nobody played more character assassination cards this election than Obama’s campaign. And guess what: it totally worked.

    Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that your party is somehow clean on playing the FUD card and painting their opponents as evil boogeymen and women, as opposed to rational people with a different viewpoint. After all, “There’s nothing wrong with being anything. That’s the point.”

    Reply
  6. Doug Wareing says:

    You say in the comments that “What this essay says is that the political strategy of pitting your base of support against the external “other”…The strategy backfired and it will continue to do so, increasingly.”

    And yet, that’s exactly the same tactic employed by the Democrats. Obama attacked the rich for being too successful, attacked businesses for being too successful, attacked people who want self-determination over government “provision”, attacked people who want less tax penalties for personal success, attacked Catholics who want freedom of religion in their organizations, attacked people who think it’s normal to expect someone to pay for their own condoms, etc. Conservative values were constantly under attack, even though there are plenty of black, latino, women, and gays who share those values.

    Nobody played more character assassination cards this election than Obama’s campaign. And guess what: it totally worked.

    Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that your party is somehow clean on playing the FUD card and painting their opponents as evil boogeymen and women, as opposed to rational people with a different viewpoint. After all, “There’s nothing wrong with being anything. That’s the point.”

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      You are correct that all sorts of vilification of opponents occurs from all camps during an election cycle. The Dems do not have clean hands.

      But you have equivocated on the content of my essay.

      It is one thing to vilify Republicans, or conservatives or Wall Streeters or venture capitalists. It may be dishonest stereotyping and over-simplification, but these are political or economic cohorts. That is hardly comparable to attempting to marginalize or even suppress voters who are not of the same race or religion or gender or sexual orientation as your base. That is the critique.

      Reply
      • David says:

        In addition to what David said – I think that the first comment is a mischaracterization. Did Obama “attack the rich for being too successful.”

        I don’t remember him saying anything that attacked people for being “too successful. His critique is that successful people are able to be successful both through their own initiative but also through the amazing American infrastructure and that they should pay back into it.

        To characterize that as attacking people for being “too successful” is a big distortion. Nobody think somebody who is successful should be chided. That would be silly and petty. The critique was on how society can/should work with people who are successful to ensure continued success for all (including those already successful).

        Reply
        • jon w says:

          The fact is that successful people/business differ over whether paying more taxes constitutes any kind of “attack”. I think for those untinged by ideology, taxation is just part of the economic climate. It is bizarre and counterfactual to assume the things we LIKE about the economic climate (such as easy truck transport to all parts of the country) can be easily had without the things we may not (such as “higher” tax rate, even if they’re lower than other places, and lower than they’ve always been here until recently).

          Reply
        • Josh Schoenwald says:

          Not only did Obama not attack people for being “too successful”, but claiming that paying taxes is a penalty is a veiled commentary on the role of taxes and government.

          If you believe that the less taxes we pay, the better, then this “attack on success” argument holds water. But if you believe that taxes are actually awesome because they reduce or eliminate costs we would otherwise have to bear, then this argument is senseless. Taxes save you money.

          I’m not suggesting our tax code is perfect, but the idea that we can achieve more, better, and faster for more people without taxation is inarguably false. Paying no taxes sounds awesome until you realize you have no government, no infrastructure, no education, etc, and everything has to be financed by the private sector, which would yield untenable inequalities and a truly deplorable society.

          So rather than vilify the idea of taxation, let’s work to improve the value and benefits of it. That way, we can increase the benefit to those who pay.

          Reply
      • Brad says:

        It’s GREAT when my side says “He’s not one of us.” It’s BAD when they do it.

        Reply
    • DJ says:

      Amen to that, Doug.

      The smug moral superiority of leftists is getting increasingly infuriating. Which campaign was it who accused the other guy of being “Not One of Us”? Oh yeah, that’s right: Obama’s. Which campaign was it that constantly thrashed on about a bogus “war on women”? Oh, that’s right, Obama’s. Which campaign was it that consistently demonized rich people (because, heaven knows, they aren’t human or worthy of respect)? Oh, that’s right, Obama’s. Oh, and by the way, which mighty champion of the poor and scourge of the pampered rich was it who won EIGHTY PERCENT of the 10 richest counties in America? Oh yeah, that’s right. Obama.

      Show me one racially tinged thing the Romney campaign did. See how I cited specific examples up above? Give me just one. Give me one example of Romney playing the race card. You can’t, because he didn’t.

      Face it: you’re so damned reverse racist that you think anybody who has the temerity to run against your sainted Obama is inherently racist. That’s what it boils down to. You won’t see it. You won’t ever see it. But you infuriate and sadden me with your blindness and your holier-than-thou attitude.

      You think the vast majority of the Republican vote isn’t based on a sincere belief that borrowing more money and saddling our children with even more debt is a bad idea? You think the vast majority of prolifers are really people who are trying to keep women in chains? You don’t see even the *slight* possibility that someone might care as much about an unborn baby’s life as about, say, the life of the delta smelt that would be such a righteous cause for your side?

      You claim to be on the side of tolerance. You claim to be on the side of the open-minded. You claim to have righteousness on your side. You’re full of shit. You, and so many Hollywood liberals and media liberals, are the most intolerant people on the planet. You can’t abide that somebody *actually* might have a different view of the world, or a different opinion. So those who disagree have to be racists and sexists. They just HAVE to. There’s no other possible explanation of how anyone could disagree with your choice for president. Your side — even though examples of corruption and venal opportunism are evident everywhere — your side is the bringer of light and truth, to the exclusion of all others.

      And *we’re* the intolerant ones? Grow up, Simon. Grow up, all of Hollywood. Get a clue and get a grip. People who disagree with you aren’t evil. They think our problems should be solved in a different way.

      You can’t see that, because *you* are the one with entrenched, unthinking views. All of you supposedly independent-thinking liberals who went through colleges that brainwashed you into seeing sexism and racism at every turn — you think that the fact that you believe exactly what your professors told you to believe is the product of your brilliant minds coming together? Wake up and become truly independent thinkers and understand that people who disagree with you are not evil.

      God, I’m so tired of leftwing bullshit.

      Reply
      • Nathan Douglas says:

        >Show me one racially tinged thing the Romney campaign did. See how I cited specific examples up above? Give me just one. Give me one example of Romney playing the race card. You can’t, because he didn’t.

        http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-34222_162-57541013/sununu-suggests-colin-powells-obama-endorsement-racially-driven/

        Reply
        • DJ says:

          Well, I suppose your link does mention race as a factor in politics. So that gets you maybe 0.001% of the way to proving the point. If saying that the other side is motivated by racial concerns is “playing the race card,” then your side has done it a billion times more than the GOP ever did. Simon himself does it here. So that’s racism?

          What I was referring to, and I’m sure you knew this, was Simon’s mentioning “the cards of racial exclusion.” And it just didn’t happen. Imagine how ballistic you would have gone on racism charges if Romney had run the “Not One of Us” ad. YOUR side is the side of exclusion and making opponents “the other.”

          You guys have to convince yourselves that Romney, a man centrist enough to have been elected governor of true-blue Massachusetts, whose father was active in the Civil Rights movement, is somehow the epitome of racism in our society *simply because he ran as a Republican.* It’s hypocritical, it’s unthinking, it’s shameful, and it’s shameful.

          As is the comment on “hegemony over women’s bodies.” That’s not what the abortion debate is about, and Simon admits it elsewhere in the comments here. But liberals just have this knee-jerk response that any disagreement with your unexamined beliefs must be based on racism and sexism. I wish you could see yourselves in the mirror, but I know you never will.

          Reply
      • sugaredpeas says:

        Wow, DJ. That is a mighty strong reaction.

        *Mitt Romney* identified himself as not one of the “47%,” remember? Romney did, not Obama. Obama just underscored it. As well he should have.

        As for the racism. This is always a crazytown discussion to have, because now, apparently, the only thing that qualifies as “racist” for some is burning a cross on someone’s lawn. So rather than consider the history of racism in the US, and its use particularly within the Republican Party (from the Southern Strategy on), we pretend that calling black people “lazy” or not correcting your SURROGATES when they say Obama is “unAmerican”, or running ads that are patently false about Obama’s policies on welfare are just game on. Truth be told, from Trump to Sununu, those aren’t dog whistles. They are air raid sirens and we can all hear them. It is disingenuous, it seems to me, to assert otherwise. Or, as David Simon has articulated, it shows how unaware a portion of the population is of a vast amount of America, their histories and their experiences.

        That tin ear, it seems to me Simon is saying, is going to prove to be a political Titanic.

        Obama did not demonize the rich. You are laying out an untrue premise and then asking folks to “defend” a faulty and misleading characterization. I won’t be able to say this better than commenter David (not Simon) did earlier, so I’ll just quote him: “Did Obama “attack the rich for being too successful.” I don’t remember him saying anything that attacked people for being “too successful. His critique is that successful people are able to be successful both through their own initiative but also through the amazing American infrastructure and that they should pay back into it.” That is it. You benefit from the system, you support the system that helped make you a success.

        David also addressed your pro-life argument. Reasonable people can disagree on the question of life and the morality of abortion. However, those disagreements cannot be made law because the repercussions of mandating action in that regard are simply untenable. And yes, to make abortion illegal is, in fact, keeping women in chains. It would make a woman who had an abortion subject to jail time. Since that position was in the GOP platform this year and supported by Paul Ryan, that is not so much hyperbole.

        I can’t do a point-by-point rebuttal, but what I find really interesting about this response is that it fails completely to engage with the substance of the remarks. David is speaking totally about dealing with other viewpoints. He simply argues that the “other” viewpoint has to join a culture and world that is expanding and engage. The GOP isn’t just holding a different view of the world. It is standing for legislating and suppressing the people who hold those views.

        There just is no equivalence here. None.

        Reply
        • Nokuchikushi says:

          Excellent response, sugarpeas. How anyone can miss the blatant racism that republicans have bathed in ever since Ronald Reagan talked about the “welfare mother in a Cadillac” is beyond me. Everyone knows exactly what that sentence meant, and RR (the man who illegally sold guns to Iran BTW) rode that phrase to the presidency. They Republican party has been using some version of that slur ever since.

          Reply
      • Michael says:

        Is every Republican racist? Of course not. Is Mitt Romney racist? I doubt it.

        Does the overwhelming majority of racially insensitive rhetoric in American politics today come from the right? Yes.

        Pete Hoekstra’s superbowl ad. Rick Perry’s hunting grounds. Ron Paul’s newsletters. You are correct: most conservatives are not racist. So why are the people they choose to support?

        The same is true for sexism. Regardless of where you stand on abortion issues, Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments were indefensible. Republicans fiercely opposed the renewable of the Violence Against Women Act. Tom Smith equated pregnancy from rape with pregnancy out of wedlock.

        I have so far limited myself to candidates that the right has nominated for political office. If I were to descend into the darkness of conservative talk radio and online media, I’m sure it would not be difficult to find more striking examples.

        I am certain that these views are not representative of the majority of conservatives. So why do they continue to hold so much sway over Republican politics?

        Do you think this criticism is the result of “unthinking” views? I’m especially intrigued by the narrative of victimhood you cling to — as if being conservative has been the source of structural discrimination economically, politically, and socially. As if liberals have sole claim to “righteous,” “holier-than-thou” attitudes. As if believing that racism and sexism are persistent problems in America is the result of brainwashing and groupthink.

        I do not wish to demonize conservatism. Certainly I do not wish to predict conservatives’ quick fall to eternal damnation — as many on the right have done to homosexuals. I don’t think anyone thinks that wealthy individuals are not human, although I do believe that their interests do not always align with the rest of the electorate.

        You accuse liberals of uncritically lashing out at those who would attack Obama. Are you unaware of the often strident criticism he has received from many members of the left? Many are genuinely frightened by Obama’s exercises of executive power, including but not limited to the drastic expansion of targeted assassination programs.

        Finally, you accuse the left of intolerance. Who do you believe we do not tolerate? Calls for a solution to the debt crisis are often bipartisan — and the failure to resolve it is as well. Pro-life points of view are perfectly acceptable within the liberal mainstream, if somewhat frowned upon. What “different view of the world” do you believe liberalism excludes?

        If it is one that denies the existence of racism and sexism, that believes that homosexuality is a sin, that denies climate change as a hoax perpetrated by science, that maintains that intellectualism is effete, then yes, perhaps we can agree to disagree.

        Reply
      • DC says:

        DJ my friend, I couldn’t have crafted a better response to David Simon’s rant. You literally hit the nail on the head my friend. Oh, and just so I sound really cool – I’ll swear like Simon to get my point across – Fuckin A brother, fuckin A.

        Reply
      • K says:

        Romney is on tape from the same fundraiser the 47% comment came from saying he’d more likely to be elected president if he were Latino. I guess one could infer that this comment is saying that Latinos would vote for another Latino not based on record or merit but just by ethnicity. I do believe you have been watching too much Bill O’Reilly and perhaps have bought into the Fox campaign that ‘Obama hates white people.’ Wow.

        Reply
      • MDM says:

        DJ– while it is certainly true that members of any race (itself a completely invented construct, but that’s a whole other issue) can be prejudiced toward any other, there is simply no such thing as “reverse racism.” It’s nice, comforting thing that a lot of white folks tell themselves when someone calls them out for dickish or insensitive behavior, but it’s simply not true.

        Why? Because words actually have meaning, and prejudice does not equal racism. Racism is prejudice plus institutional (cultural, economic, political) power over the subjugated group. I, as a white man, am not part of a subjugated group. Can my feelings ever get hurt? Sure. But you can damn well be sure I’m not getting followed around your local convenience store when I go in to buy a soda. I can probably also squeak out of a minor drug offense without getting jail time. And when I wear a hoodie, I’m a hipster, not a “thug.”

        So suck it up, licked your wounded pride, and stop feeling like you’re a victim for being white. Because it is just silly.

        Reply
      • Jeff says:

        Oh yes, there was no racial subtext at all in those zillion welfare attack ads Romney ran in the late summer…you know the one’s where they basically said Obama was raiding medicare to pay for people to sit home and collect checks? Or that he had gutted the work requirements for welfare. Funny how the “hardworking Americans” in the ads were ALL white. Those were the ads that, after they were found to be complete garbage, people in the campaign said they weren’t going to let fact-checkers dictate their message. They proved that was the case tenfold.

        Reply
  7. Eileen says:

    David, I am crying as I read your posting. Why? because I have been discriminated against my whole life, disowned by my family. My tears are the emotion of years of frustration. My tears are the emotion of joy and hoping that the words you have written become the norm for this country. For now I will celebrate the election of a brilliant man of color who has an inclusive not exclusive heart. I am proud to be an American today and relieved that my fellow Americans understand what move forward means. Thanks for the tears, you have gained a fan and supporter of your writing. Thanks for making me feel good for today and filled with hope for tomorrow!!!

    Reply
  8. narommit says:

    White male here, eager to make my mark and be a job creator in the like of Mr. Simon.

    I’m thrilled with Tuesday night’s results. I enjoy, particularly, that Americans in states I enjoy are now supporting marriage equality and that all the “rape” guys got voted out.

    I’m a white male and I’m fine with the patina of that designation being worn. I’ll still get mine. I want to hastened the leveling of the playing field to the point where no one feels the need to apologize for success and just gets their work done. I recognize that, best case, this might only happen when I’m much older.

    I guess I’m just happy we’re getting somewhere. Next fight: fixing education (childless white male leans back, watches battle, eats popcorn– crunch).

    JIC Mr. Simon is reading: Having spent much time in Bal’more (north of Patterson Park) and New Orleans (7 Ward)– the places seem similar beyond their shared urban poverty and historic port culture. Any theory?

    Reply
  9. Stevie Nichts says:

    “I did not want to see dishonesty and divisiveness and raw political hackery rewarded.”

    But that’s exactly what you did see. Did you truly not hear The One’s “pants on fire” lies? The invented “war on women” that existed only in the minds of frightened liberals? Did you somehow miss his endless – divisive – class warfare? His “sheer political hackery” was legion. “Elections have consequences, and I won” is not a recipe for cooperation.

    Now he’ll be even more arrogant and dismissive of the Republicans – he’s vowed to veto any attempt to avoid the “fiscal cliff” unless the GOP kneels before him – and he’ll suffer no consequences for it. You’ve made your bed, champ. Now we’ll all fester in it.

    Reply
    • Casey says:

      >he’s vowed to veto any attempt to avoid the “fiscal cliff” unless the GOP kneels before >him

      Quote, please?

      Reply
    • jon w says:

      Have you forgotten that Boehner MADE a deal to avoid this fiscal-cliff crap, and then house republicans forced him to RENEGE? Down the memory hole with such facts?

      But the people haven’t forgotten.

      Reply
  10. Texan says:

    Texas *will* soon be in play. As a “normal” white lady, I can’t wait.

    Thank you for breaking it down so eloquently.

    This is indeed a milestone for America.

    Reply
    • Brad says:

      Texas went more for Romney than McCain. Evidence please?

      Reply
      • Jeff says:

        According to Rice University (and acknowledging that not all votes have been counted yet), the latino vote rose from 20 to 25% in this past election. Thus far, the President has netted almost 300,000 more votes from hispanics in 2012 as compared to ’08. Even with conservative growth in 2016, as well as the likelihood of a major female candidate running for the Democrats (and we know what kind of support Hilary Clinton garnered in Texas in the 2008 primary), the numbers start to get interesting.

        It’s not completely out the question that we see Democrats campaigning in Texas, or at least spending money there, especially before the election cycle really starts going.

        Nobody has to point this out, but I will anyway…if the Democrats managed to flip Texas to even a tossup state…you’re talking about essentially half the electoral votes needed to win a Presidential election coming from just four states – Texas, New York, California, and Massachusetts. You throw in Arizona to go along with Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, etc, and few paths would then exists for the GOP to reach 270.

        Reply
  11. You R. Tiresome says:

    “A national political party can’t manufacture angry white men fast enough to triumph,”
    ***
    Why the characterization of white men as “angry”? Cannot white men have legitimate, fundamental differences of opinion with other groups or does it by definition always have to stem from “anger”? I would say they can. Would that label be politically correct were it hung on some other group(s)? I would say not. Hell, you cannot even describe a black man as “clean,” like Biden did of Obama once.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Well, because I keep listening to the words that come out of their mouths when they are talking about the issues affecting my country.

      Reply
      • Brad says:

        Like what? The only anger I hear is from liberals after they just won an election. I think it’s in your head. Or a stereotype that has no basis in fact.

        Reply
        • Vincent Chung says:

          (I know, I know, indulging a troll)

          Bill O’Reilly and David Simon made similar post-election acknowledgements on race hegemony: this post and O’Reilly on Fox News, which is far more petulant, divisive, and angry:

          “The white establishment is now the minority, and the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things? The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore.”

          For sheer, insubstantial anger, I could put up some of my future father-in-law’s Facebook posts. The liberal stereotype of religious fundamentalist conservatives is certainly comical, but the man certainly lives up — and exceeds — them.

          Reply
    • Jeff says:

      You don’t consider Sean Hannity angry? The man is seething. When the country doesn’t share his bizarre view of this country, he is absolutely baffled – as are, by the way, most of Hannity’s viewers…who are so completely isolated inside the Fox News bubble that they simply can’t accept any other explanation for this election result other than the one Hannity (and O’Reilly and Limbaugh, and Coulter, etc. ) handed them – which is that all of Obama’s voters, a majority of Americans, just want handouts.

      This notion is ridiculous, of course, and to a certain extent, it’s just a reactionary statement based on emotion. But yes, these people are angry.

      They are angry that science disputes their ridiculous assertions about climate change, and female defense mechanisms that prevent pregnancy during “legitimate rape”. These people are angry that as a country, we are no longer interested in having religious views, or someone else’s “morality” forced on us, where women who, God forbid, want to control the medications they use instead of having to clear it with their employers, are called “sluts”.

      If you don’t think Rush Limbaugh is angry, you’re too far inside the Fox News bubble yourself.

      The Department of Labor job statistics don’t look good — must be the President is fixing the numbers. You don’t like a woman standing up and saying no, women should not have to have approval for contraception through their employer, she must be a slut. Climate change? that’s not real. The scientists are just leftwing nuts who are simply engaging in another form of class warfare against successful corporations. Independant organizations claim Romney’s tax plan would increase the burden on the middle class? Well, they’re clearly biased because no objective organization would say such a thing!

      I’m a polling nerd, and a huge fan of Nate Silver of the NY Times. I’ve been reading his stuff since his work with Baseball Prospectus in 2003. The guy developed his model, using polling data as well as other elements, in an attempt to estimate probabilities during elections. And he’s nailed both elections Obama’s been a part of.

      Because his numbers this year didn’t look good for Romney, he was attacked mercilessly…his numbers were clearly not right because he’s gay, or efffeminate, etc…and then, when he didn’t rise to the bait, the new argument came out of the Fox News bubble, what John Stewart calls Bullshit Mountain….ALL the polls that showed the President winning the swing states by a modest but comfortable number (polls which turned out to be almost right on the nose) were incorrect because they were “biased in favor of Obama” and “oversampled” Democrats. Nevermind the fact that while there are biased polling organizations, they are few in number, and usually favor the Republican (Rasmussen, for example…as well as Gallup this cycle)…these organizations don’t pre-determine what their sample is supposed to look like. You call 35,000 people. 3000 respond, and if the number is Democrats +7, then that’s the number…it’s not fudged or fixed. But the Republicans didnt’ want to hear it. Then the election happens, pretty much mirroring the polling numbers, well, it just doesn’t make sense!

      Why? Because it’s not what the people inside the Fox News bubble told them. It didnt fit in with the Fox narrative of “Republicans are enthused…Romney’s got momentum (he had it for roughly a week, based on numbers), Democrats are not enthusiastic and will not show up”…etc.

      Oh yes, they’re angry. The country has changed. You either accept it or you don’t.

      Reply
  12. Bob says:

    The author seems to take pride in categorizing people by their gender, sexual orientation, country of origin and skin color.

    Personally, I place no regard on such matters. What I do find important is the undeniable fact that socialism is a bankrupt philosophy that has failed in every attempt. The Utopia of liberalism would seem to dictate that success be averaged down: no one should succeed too much at life so that no one should ever fail. The end result of course is that the entirety of society can never escape mediocrity.

    So here we find ourselves. We ask the government spend endlessly, borrow deeply, and tax more, so that no one is denied what they could earn on their own. Here is free housing. Free food. Free medical care. Free cell phones. Subsidized of course by the despised “successful” among us. How long until the successful are insufficient in numbers to provide for those in need? And what, pray tell, happens then?

    Reply
  13. spirilis says:

    I’m richer than you. I have enough and am not adjectively challenged. Everyone pays taxes or fees. Some don’t pay Federal Income Taxes. You are only fooling yourself.

    Reply
  14. davel says:

    It is interesting that a blog posting against racism can be so racist.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Unless you really don’t understand the term. In which case, it’s not very interesting at all.

      Reply
    • You R. Tiresome says:

      Exactly.

      Reply
    • Quint says:

      That sure doesn’t make much sense, Davel.

      Reply
    • Jess says:

      DAVEL, what’s racist about it? That it recognizes that different races and types of people exist, and that it speaks to the actions of white men over the years? He didn’t say every white man was fighting progress–I’m a white man, and I’m happy to see these changes happening–but the core group of those trying to hang on to the past is comprised of straight white men, just as he said. What’s racist about recognizing that, as well as recognizing that the demographics of this country are changing, further building upon the melting pot so many say is the core of our strength but some really don’t respect?

      Reply
      • davel says:

        @jess

        The author makes many criticisms of a section of society that finds its home in the republican party. However if you read the post the tone is one that seems to extend these sentiments to the broader community as a whole.

        I am not saying those sentiments do not exist. Racism exists in virtually every community on Earth.

        I live in NYC and while most people I run into are tolerant of others to one degree or another there are those who hate one group or another for whatever reason.

        My point with the comment above is his criticisms of elements of the republican party are valid. He makes some good points about the changing of demographics in America. However his comments are couched in anger and hate. He comes very close in almost all cases with articulating the thought that the white man is bad.

        In case anyone wasn’t paying attention there are republicans who are not white. Some prominent ones are even female and not white, like Condoleezza Rice.

        The republican party is currently way too radical and too rigid. The last republican to win the presidency seemed like a nice guy. He appointed a varied cabinet and spoke some spanish. However in his campaign he dabbled in race bating because there are certain members of the party that like that.

        I think Romney lost mostly because of some bad gaffes late in the cycle that did not give him time to recover from and the fact that he moved to the right during the nomination process and then shifted to the left during the general election cycle. The disparity was too great for reasonable people paying attention to ignore.

        There are many people in this country who hate the president because of his skin color. They need to get over it. Some won’t. Obama broke the race barrier and I applaud him for it.

        Who we vote for as president should be based on character and vision and ideas. Their religion, race or anything else incidental to the job are irrelevant.

        Reply
  15. Miki says:

    I found your article very interesting. It has already appeared a number of times on my news feed on Facebook.

    I agree with your premise that this was the most racially polarizing election in modern history. I would actually state in the history of the United States. But while you see a sea-change, I see something equally unsustainable for either side.

    There is no mistake that the Republicans were courting the white vote. Karl Rove and Newt Gingeridge (sp?) have both stated this, Newt applying regret at the “miscalculation”. It was a specific strategy started by GW Bush when his father was running for president, to court the white evangelical vote and added to the Southern strategy that started with Nixon. And as a result, 60% of that group went handily for Romney. The result being, as you noted, that everyone else bailed on the Republicans and voted for Obama or other because of the disenfranchisement of their campaign. As NPR has noted, they are courting a shirking portion of the electorate.

    My hope from this election (and unfortunately the “conservatives” in this thread are dashing these hopes as trolls) is that the Republican party can have a come-to-Jesus conference about their policies and rhetoric regarding social issues. I am a Democrat, but I have voted for Republicans in the past. I have voted for those Republicans, because there are ideas on the Republican side of the aisle that I agree need to be moved forward and add value to Democrat ideas–fiscal responsibility, smaller more efficient government, and the creation of a environment that is more pro-small business. Here is the problem. While these candidates get up there any spout all of this and say this is what they believe, when they actually get into office they seem to forget all of these core values and go for social re-engineering and conflict with Democrats and borrowing money instead of figuring out ways to pay for their policies. Oh to have a Republican party that didn’t live in a fantastical world of hypocrisy and rose-colored glasses. That would be a candidate that I could actually get behind.

    The numbers were right there in front of the Republicans the entire time. Nathan Silver’s model as well as others continued to produce a win for Obama over and over and over again. Even Real Clear Politics’s polls were showing a likely win for Obama. While race does play a role in this election, the Republicans counted on the down economy and voter suppression in the form of ID cards, threats of violent revolution (still haven’t seen any of the riots that were promised if Obama won), and other tactics to win. They continue to live in their little Fox News world where of course they were going to win, because that is what they were telling themselves, rather than looking at the real numbers placed in front of their faces. According to Silver’s model the night before the election, Obama had a 73% chance of winning. His numbers never went lower than 65% throughout the entire campaign cycle. Throughout the campaign anytime the polls came back and favored Obama, the right shouted louder that the polls were int he tank for Obama. No, the polls were showing you what was going to happen. You were just not willing to accept it and do something about it.

    Now, here is the unsustainable part for the Democrats. The Republicans are in a good position to lick their wounds and rebound from this. They are pros at reinvention. They will most likely turn and look at the numbers. I think Karl Rove being handed his own ego on national television when he tried to call the numbers guys to task for calling Ohio for Obama will never ignore numbers again. They are going to reinvent themselves. They are going to court the Latino vote like no tomorrow. They will stumble at first, because they don’t have a natural ability to speak to non-whites right now (hence the make-up debacle with Romney on Univision), but that won’t last for long, and there are a number of prominent Latinos in the Republican party to help them through the hurtles. (It will be interesting to see how the racists in the GOP react to this new move, but I think the numbers might convince them that this is do or die time).

    Democrats are still in a good position to court the minority communities in this country, but the next group of candidates are not Obama. Obama is in a unique position to take advantage of these demographics because he is from a single-mom, middle-income, mixed-race family that struggled to survive at times. His appeal is broad and transcends a number of barriers that usually exsist for any candidate. Clinton and Biden can easily be identified by some, but certain not to the breath of Obama. Clinton will probably be able to garner the women’s vote (no one can say that she is anti-abortion, contraception, or believes women should be in the kitchen while men bring home the bacon). Biden will be able to appeal to the white, working class men. However, I think that both of them are going to have a harder time appealing in the way that Obama did to the minority groups and energizing that electorate. While minority groups traditionally, over the last few decades, have voted Democrat the numbers have been low until Obama–a candidate they can identify visually and emotionally.

    The only way the Democrats are going to win the white house and most of congress over the next 4 years is with a couple of milestones that will HAVE to take place:

    1. Economy has to turn around. Period. Otherwise the Democrats will then officially own it as a failure. They don’t right now, which is why the economy-stupid argument didn’t work. Many people thought that Obama hadn’t had enough time to turn it around and the downturn was still owned by Bush.

    2. The Dream Act has to pass and some form of legislation on immigration that includes a road to citizenship for the 15 million illegal immigrants that are here and contributing to the economy has to take place or at least look like it is moving forward.

    3. The Obama ground game needs to transform into a community outreach organization where people can visibly see Democrats fighting for their needs in their communities. I think this is probably the easiest of all of these needs. I would love to see Michelle ditch her food crusade and start spearheading this. She is perfect for it.

    Republicans have an easier road to winning, than the Democrats. All they have to do is continue to block every economy saving bill as they have been doing over the past 2 years and continue to blame it on Obama not being able to work with them. Seemed to work very well for the white electorate, but eventually more and more will grow tired of the grid lock and just vote Republicans in to get something done or not vote at all (more likely) because they fail to see the point. The other thing that Republicans need to do and can do is court the Latino vote. This is a traditionally Catholic community and thus conservative community by nature. If they can drop the anti-immigrant all non-whites equal violent criminals out to destroy America diatribe they have been spouting for almost a decade now, and pull in a good number of those that actually vote in that community, then the Dems will lose the edge that gave them this election.

    So, sea-change, yes, but not one that is cemented to either party right now in my view. Republicans still have a chance, but only if they really are willing to accept change on day one.

    Reply
    • Calvin Dodge says:

      “Republicans have an easier road to winning, than the Democrats.”

      I suggest you visit any serious conservative web site which is discussing “lessons learned” before you spout more nonsense like that.

      “All they have to do is continue to block every economy saving bill as they have been doing over the past 2 years and continue to blame it on Obama not being able to work with them.”

      That worked so well this time, didn’t it? As the MSM consistently blamed Republicans only for every failed legislative attempt, not even addressing the fact that Harry Reid has been violating the law for over 3 years (you know, the law that says he has to produce a budget).

      Reply
  16. Kevin says:

    David,

    I’m not going to say your ideals are wrong. (Yeah that but is coming.) When you look at successes in life, you see people from all races, walks of life, social classes, you see a diverse group of people. So I know just from experience that success is truly colorblind and non-discriminating. Anyone can find their space in life and move up and stand out for their expertise/talent in those spaces.

    And here comes the but. If you simply wanted a diverse group of “leaders,” those who are not white – You got it. Bravo you won. But what does that mean without vision or leadership? I’m not going to even come close to say that all these people are not leaders or do not have vision, but because they are simply not white does not mean they are such.

    The problem is when you boil down political attacks they don’t answer any real questions, they are pure marketing and cheap social engineering. For example, the attack on Colleen Lachowicz over WOW was a simple example of my issues with this country. On one side we have a group of politicians who thinks making an issue of WOW to be the best way to prove someone is out of touch. On the other side the response is “Look how many people play video games.” In the end all i see is one side being out of touch and the other side shares a hobby I like to partake in. I don’t know anything about her or the other party, other then they love red herrings.

    And there’s my issue – This election, and for a long time, is one of red herrings. All I learned from the debates is that I need Big Bird as my president, but only if he doesn’t carry binders. I don’t know anything more about Romney, nor was I convinced Obama was a good choice for President. I’m left with people who are great at making political ploys and pleads, but don’t see a single vision or leader in the group. And that doesn’t mean they don’t exist but I didn’t see it.

    Tell me if I’m wrong, but you write that by breaking down “white” rule and voting diversity we all win. I would agree if that breaking down involved people who were leaders and visionaries. Now time will tell if that does happen, but your writing doesn’t concern any of this. And so the country might sink, but you’re okay as long as the boat was made up of a diverse people, none of which who can actually save the ship.

    We have real issues coming up, very soon, and I have no confidence (yet) that this group who we just elected have the skills to solve them. Going back to what I said first, knowing what I know vision and leadership is like success, it truly is colorblind. The problem is I didn’t see it in this election and have yet to see it in this group we just elected.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Brother,

      You seem sincere. But let’s ignore Obama and Romney and who each of us thinks the better choice. Leave that aside.

      What this essay says is that the political strategy of pitting your base of support against the external “other”: The immigrant hordes illegally bum rushing our borders, the imagined welfare queens and Willie Hortons who represent black America to some good portion of your resentful base, the women who — though they they are in fact your very wives and lovers and sisters and daughters — you presume to dictate legal terms by which they address their own bodies, the homosexual community by which you presume to judge their capacity for the shared responsibilities and meaning of monogamous love, and so forth.

      This shit has been a GOP trope, a Rovian masterstroke of sorts, for a series of election cycles. The currency is fear, the metric is voter resentment and election-day turnout. And now, increasingly, the cumulative other is so aliented and so statistically significant as to make create its own magnificent blowback. The strategy backfired and it will continue to do so, increasingly.

      Too many of us are the other. And coupled with those minority of white males who won’t play the Rovian game, that multitude was invigorated to vote against Mr. Romney and for Mr. Obama.

      Let’s break it down to the GOP and Democratic behavior pattern on a single — and signal — matter: Alleged voter fraud or, from the opposite view, voter suppression. All evidence points to the fundamental fact that voter fraud is a ripe allegation that is utterly unproven and that no occurrences of widespread voter fraud have been documented anywhere in the country. Yet in full view of the black and Latino communities, the GOP went into fulminant disorder at the imagined and manufactured threat and sought to pass any number of fresh laws creating new impediments to voting. Voter lists were purged in some jurisdictions. Registered, longtime minority voters were challenged on their way to the polls.

      Do you think it worked as a strategy? I don’t believe it prevented fraudulent voters from the polls because I don’t think such creatures exist in any meaningful number. But how many legitimate votes for the opposition did those actions suppress. And how many more minority voters were confirmed in their desire to endure and vote against Mr. Romney?

      The old ways are dying. And for the good.

      Whether Mr. Obama is the worst choice and Mr. Romney the best that we’ve ever been offered for president — this essay isn’t about that. It’s about demographics. And process. And inclusion versus exclusion. And all of that will remain true going forward, regardless of who is running against whom.

      Reply
    • Miki says:

      The problem with your premise, Kevin is that you are in fact stating that the Obama administration either has vision or leadership. I totally disagree with this premise first off. You can couch it by stating that success is color blind, but this is really the root of your argument.

      To the point that Obama lacks leadership. It took enormous courage and leadership to stall the impending doom that was the banking failure in this country. For the first 2 years of his administration the banks weren’t lending to anyone and they only started to be able to lend again because of the bail out they received from the only institution that could and was willing to lend money, the federal government. Thanks to those moves, we are now seeing a rebound in the housing market and the business sector is able to pay their workers and hire new ones again. That takes leadership and is a success. When he came to office we were losing 700,000 job a month. A MONTH. Now we have over a year and half of positive job growth. I wish it was more, so does everyone, but to say that isn’t a success is foolish. Would you really rather opposite. That didn’t have to do with the color of Obama’s skin. That didn’t have to do with minority turn out. That took vision and leadership dealing with hard issues.

      As far as a plan of action, he has had a plan of action since day one of 2009. Since taking hold of office many of the proposal to help the economy have been blocked in congress. Republicans have used the filibuster more over the course of his term in office than all other uses in the history of the filibuster combined. This is the same party that when it office wanted to abolish this practice. Instead they have used it to stall economic policies that could very well have further boosted growth. I hope and pray that the Republicans stop stalling legislation and start compromising for the sake of the country. There are some good ideas. I don’t agree with the Ryan proposal, frankly I think that put in place as is it would destroy the economy and decimate the middle-class creating a poverty class that would take half a century to recover or more.

      But! There are some really good ideas in his proposal that I think if paired with some balance from the left could end up a net plus for both the Democrats and the Republicans.

      The tribal approach to politics needs to end in this country. The Republicans need to stop being the Party of No, and start being the party of compromise. You know, be adults and talk instead of scream. There are good ideas on both sides. Liberals are not unAmerican and Republicans are not all racists misogynist bigots.

      The real that I voted for Obama in 2008 and then again this year is because I see a men with real vision. A man that really wants America to prosper and is willing to listen to all sides for good ideas. I think his plan of investment in education and research and development as primary to his overall economic recovery has visionary, forward-thinking, and big picture thinking. We are NOT number 1 when it comes to education and that is killing us in the global market. When I go to large companies and the majority of the engineers are from foreign countries, that says a lot. It isn’t an instant solve, but it is a long-term solution. Giving up on the Public education system, as the republicans have been doing since I was a little girl, has only hurt this country. I wonder what America would look like if both Republicans and Democrats saw education is a primary investment and not the first thing to cut from budgets. Education lead the golden age of the middle class during the 1950s, Republicans want to get back to that golden age so badly… hey invest in education and they just might get their wish.

      Another bit of leadership, Obama ended the war in Iraq and is winding down the war in Afghanistan. Osama Bin Ladin is dead. Bush had 7 years to do it and numerous times that his military commanders told him they had opportunity and he nixed all of them. So, there was some leadership at play there, no matter what the nay sayers say.

      We are moving to a leadership position on clean energy investment, research and development and new technologies. While the healthcae bill is debated by many, I am completely grateful for it. When I was out of work and could for the fist time get an individual plan (created because of Obamacare, because the insurance companies had to having these products available) and my kids could get on the plan without regard to their preexisitng conditions, that was a HUGE change from when my only option for health care under Bush was COBRA and I had to be 102% of the premium amount, which I couldn’t afford. Ultimately, I think that people will be grateful for Obamacare once it is in place, because they will not be tied to any one company and so reliant on their employment for health insurance. I see this as a win for the entrepreneurial spirit in America. You too can be healthy and start a business without fear of getting sick and going bankrupt. Did you America is still the only country in the world where people go bankrupt over the cost of health? That isn’t freedom, and it is sure less freedom than being told you have to have insurance and if you can’t afford it the government will help you pay for it.

      i don’t know if any of this has helped resolve your fears of leadership, but just know. There is a man in the white house right now that has your best interest and the best interest for America at heart and mind.

      Reply
  17. You R. Tiresome says:

    “But let’s not forget that states like Arizona that use their laws to discriminate against non-white people, period, no matter legal or illegal, black, asian or Hispanic.”
    ***
    Really? Can you point to any links where officers have been convicted of doing so since the enactment of the new Arizona “show me your papers” laws?

    The convenient fact a lot of people tend to ignore is that a lot of the people “asking for papers” are themselves in fact, minorities (mostly Hispanic), or do you think only white people live in Arizona?

    The fact is, if there is evidence of discrimination, there are plenty of laws on the books to deal with those responsible and they should go to jail. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Well, let’s put aside the questions of legality and return to the question of voting and demographics, which is what the essay was about. Certainly, Latino Americans are extremely unhappy with the Arizona efforts, are they not? And certainly, Latino voting patterns were a key part of the coaliton that led to Republican defeat.

      So to return to the theme. A national political party can’t manufacture angry white men fast enough to triumph, given that they are rigorously alienating ever larger numbers of women, blacks, Latinos, gays. Mr. Romney only carried white male voters. Mr. Obama ran the table with everyone else. And your point is what? That the decidedly white male concerns about immigration are anything but a political anvil? And to what end? Is Arizona actually addressing the real dynamics of a broken immigration policy that Republicans will not address nationally? Nope.

      But they gave this election away. Fer sure.

      Reply
      • Krav says:

        I’m not sure that Romney carried white male voters either.

        While he did have pretty much just white males voting for him, I’m kind of insulted to be included with those who would have voted for him. Not because i dislike him, but because I’m for the same things the gays, women, blacks and Latinos are for. It’s more that Republicans are alienating more and more people, not just those groups (although those groups are alienated more than my demographic)

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Exit polling suggests that the GOP got 63-64 percent of white men who voted. Could be off by a bit, but that is the current assessment.

          Reply
  18. You R. Tiresome says:

    1. “But hypocrisy is always notable.”
    Yes, it is. Like yours. Reagan certainly increased the budget deficit. He also brought about the second longest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history, reduced unemployment as well as the crippling interest rates another Democratic President, Carter helped create. So yeah, he got an airport. At least he did not get a Nobel Peace Prize for doing… NOTHING.

    2. “based on the assessments of most major economists ”
    Economists are so so about figuring out past economic events. They are horrible about predicting future ones. Economics is at least as much an art as science at this point. I took economics in college actually, Macro and Micro. Name dropping economists (who I’ve read actually) does not impress me.

    As for Clinton, he was lucky the dot.com/Internet boom happened while he was President. Note, however, that is not something he created. Rather, he was the beneficiary of it. Bush II got 9/11 AND, since you like economists so much, a failing economy from Clinton (most economists agree the economy was on the way down during Clinton’s last year). He also helped tank it himself by fighting expensive wars. Obama has “ended the war in Iraq” plus poured in stimulus money. Why is the economy still horrible then? After all, he put himself on the clock. HE said 4 years. Should we just ignore such statements and if so, why make them then?

    3. Say what you will but Democrats uniformly mis-characterize Republicans are anti-immigrant when they know full well Republicans are anti-illegal alien. The fact most Hispanics have bought into this Big Lie is obviously beneficial to the Democrats.

    “you really pissed off with all that self-deport talk, and that Minuteman nonsense and lets-build-a-fence-so-high-and-far-that-Mexico-will-be-out-of-mind-and-sight-both.”
    ***
    So why shouldn’t Hispanic immigrants have to follow our immigration laws? ~4 million people around the world are in a virtual queue doing so, trying to come here LEGALLY. Why should they bother when all they really need to do is hop across the border and wait for amnesty then vote Democrat? You make those people look like fools for following our laws.

    “You aren’t convincing anyone who really matters that you are pro-immigrant in your rhetoric, despite how reasoned you seem to think yourself”
    ***
    See, blurring… The people who matter to ME, know my position. But for your own edification, I’m married to a former immigrant who was on an F-1 student visa when she first came over. She followed our immigration laws. When we married, we filled out 1.5 INCHES of forms, paid INS about $2K, had to provide tax, bank and utility records. They asked her if she was a prostitute. She had to get a medical exam, finger print and criminal background check as well as be photographed. They asked us to draw our apartment at the time including the locations of pictures on the walls and asked us several personal questions to validate it was not a sham marriage. She was adjusted to a temporary Green Card, then a permanent one and then eventually she became a Naturalized Citizen.

    So forgive me if I am not impressed with your credentials on immigration.

    She should have just walked across the border.

    Now, regarding the person above who tries to imply some sort of racial bias in the term “alien,” the word is a pretty standard word in most countries to describe anyone who is not a citizen. In fact the term long predates our current immigration debates:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_and_Sedition_Acts

    All immigrants technically, legal or illegal, are aliens whether they are from Sweden or Mexico. Race has nothing to do with it. Pick up a book sometime.

    On a personal note David, I loved your book “Homicide.” But being a shill for the Democratic Part does not suit you. You think I am a Republican but I’m not. I have in fact NEVER registered for the Republican OR Democratic parties. I never want any party to be able to just “count on” my vote. I’m socially pretty liberal, fiscally conservative but even within those two categories there are ranges. For me, it depends on the issue, and the proposed solution. Take Obamacare. I think it is crap. It is a patchwork quilt of rules and laws that does nothing to control costs and improve quality. So I am not for it. On the other hand, if you going to build an actual SYSTEM that controls costs and improves quality like the Japanese and Taiwanese models here, then I can go for that.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

    Allegiance to a political party is at best foolish, at worst dangerous.

    Reply
    • Jason says:

      “Allegiance to a political party is at best foolish, at worst dangerous”… freakin brilliant, sir.

      Being an economics major, there are two quotes that have always stuck with me thru the Greenspan & now Bernanke yrs at the Fed. It was written by someone a lot smarter then all of us on the subject.

      “Capitalism and socialism are two distinct patterns of social organization. Private control of the means of production and public control are contradictory notions and not merely contrary notions. There is no such thing as a mixed economy, a system that would stand midway between capitalism and socialism” ~ Ludwig von Mises

      “There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” ~ Ludwig von Mises

      Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Ah, Ronald Reagan. That is a topic for another longer thread one day. What is credited to that man is astonishing. And what actually bears the marks of his real influence on American life is lugubrious indeed. But there, we must disagree except to point out that you were indeed hypocritical when you cited deficits as being the economic metric on which Mr. Obama — who entered office amid far greater financial turmoil than Mr. Reagan ever ever confronted — needs to be judged. If deficits are the paradigm than Mr. Reagan and the latter Mr. Bush ought to be shamed as well.

      Now, you cite other metrics to avoid the initial hypocrisy. Well, even doing so, let us then credit Mr. Clinton, who presided over one of the most extraordinary periods of economic growth AND balanced the budget — something that eluded your vaunted Mr. Reagan. But no matter, you like who you like and you will not be moved. None of this is on point to the original essay. But again, I’m not worried about Mr. Obama’s deficits in the same way that conservatives worried so little about Mr. Reagan’s six-hundred-ship Navy or Mr. Bush’s war of choice. I believe — and despite your sneer at economic literacy, many of the best economic voices in our country believe — that the recession would be deeper and unemployment higher without Keynesian spending at the moment when credit markets froze and Wall Street was near its self-induced collapse. That is an argument for the ages and for another place, I suppose.

      On the matter of immigration: Despite all your grand defense of Arizona’s efforts, the growing mass of Latino American voters view Democrats as vastly more amenable to immigration than the alternative. It’s they who are necessary for political victory and it’s they who are unconvinced of anything beyond Republican cynicism and malevolence on issues that matter to them.

      I have no blind loyalty to the Democratic Party. I’ve voted Republican in certain state and local races, and for independent candidates in others. But when it comes to the demographic time-bomb that is ticking against the Republican political futures, it’s not really about me. And this essay isn’t me. Or Mr. Obama. Or Mr. Romney. It’s about exclusion and inclusion and what the Rovian maneuvers have finally wrought.

      Defending the Arizona law is fine if you think it necessary and worthy. But then expecting any outcome but the growing contempt of Latinos who will read of fellow citizens being detained and having their identities demanded in ways that white voters are not? Really? You can follow your xenophobic bliss for all I care. But to then expect the largest growing population of voters to flock to your banner as well? Okay. Good luck with that, my brother.

      Reply
      • You R. Tiresome says:

        “But then expecting any outcome but the growing contempt of Latinos ”
        ***
        Actually, I don’t expect any other outcome. After all, the majority of these newly minted voters come from countries where “rule of law” is a joke, so why should they behave any differently here when they are constantly told by you and others of your ilk that any such attempt to enforce our laws must be fundamentally flawed because they just have to be rooted in downright racism. And that is how contempt for the law and those who believe in it develops… A a new Democrat is born.

        “You can follow your xenophobic bliss for all I care.”
        ***
        I was wondering how long it would take you to trot this tired or cliché out. What’s next, a Hitler comparison LOL
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

        *sigh* And you were doing, SO well…

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          You are so righteous. And the mob around you just grows and grows. And you expect so little of those who aren’t like you.

          It’s almost like an opera.

          Reply
          • You R. Tiresome says:

            Why thank you!

            And “mob”… What an interesting, yet apt choice of words to describe you and your compatriot’s views. “You either believe what we want you to believe or else!”

            Yes, mob is definitely the correct word.

            On another note, now that “gay marriage” is pretty well becoming normal as you noted, would you be in favor or against any of these?

            Polygamous Marriage
            Group Marriage
            Incestuous Marriage

            You may presume all are consenting adults.

            Reply
            • David Simon says:

              Congratulations, you have reached the confirmed status of troll. You were always borderline, but unlike one of our major political denominations, I try to remain inclusive for as long as humanly possible.

              Webmistress, escort Mr. Tiresome to the frontiers of the website.

              And as a parting matter, I am in favor of whatever marriage makes you the most happy, Mr. Tiresome. And if you are cohabitated, then my regards and admiration for whomsoever happens to be your stalwart and enduring partner on life’s journey. She is, I am sure, a remarkable woman.

              Reply
            • inurashii says:

              As someone who has aspirations toward the first two of your three bogeymen:

              Yes. Marriage is changing. We’re coming for you, friend. We are your children and neighbors.

              We are the future of America. Hi.

              😉

              Reply
  19. Alvin Thompson says:

    Whoops, it looks like it was Readability that deserves the credit.

    Reply
  20. Alvin Thompson says:

    What impressed me the most about this piece is your stubborn refusal to give up that extra space between sentences in the face of insurmountable pressure in the form of the internet. Keep it up, brother!

    Oh, and the opinion was pretty good as well.

    Reply
    • webmistress says:

      A note from the webmistress: This is clearly off topic, but extra spaces between sentences was only ever necessary with monospaced fonts used on typewriters. Any means of writing that includes letterspacing that is customized to each letter’s need for space, does not require that extra space. This does not just include the internet: it also includes any kind of quality printing going back to Gutenberg’s time. It is not used in newspapers or books. It should not be used on computers. It’s a difficult thing to stop doing once you have learned it, though, and try as he might, David has a hard time giving it up, having edited his first high school and college papers on Royal typewriters. The internet, though, is not the insurmountable pressure here; good typography, going back to the very first printing press, is the insurmountable pressure. So when those spaces disappear from David’s writing, blame me, because it just means I had time to get rid of them for him.

      Reply
      • What A Crock says:

        I’m so tired of that supposed historical argument from designer types who apparently can’t see very well. It reads so much smoother with the extra space. It lets the sentences breath.

        Reply
        • Nokuchikushi says:

          This is a joke, right?… I thought the webmistress was being cheeky. HTML does not recognize two spaces, or three or four or a hundred. No matter how many spaces you put between words, it appears on the printed page as one space.

          Reply
    • David Simon says:

      I know, I know.

      My day job is writing teleplays and screenplays. Formatted style for such is to have two spaces after sentences of dialogue. Helps the actors see the individual sentences when they read, or so I am told.

      If I make myself a better blogger, I do harm to the other endeavor. Apologies.

      Reply
  21. Lesley says:

    Interesting and thought provoking commentary. I think it is right on the mark. Sharing the link with my husband, a white male in his 50s who is a banker (not Wall Street) and who voted for the second time for Obama, even though the majority of those he associates with did not.

    One extra note from this white, female “get your hands off my body” and allow ALL my friend to marry voter… Those who want to succeed in this changing world need to remember one of the basic premises of business: Evolve or Die. The white male businessmen better wake up and realize that in order to survive in this changing climate, they better open their eyes and understand the demographic realities and embrace them. The need to understand it isn’t a “us v. them” society. It’s an “us” society. Wonder how many of them will join in…

    Reply
    • Stacey says:

      The need to understand it isn’t a “us v. them” society. It’s an “us” society. Wonder how many of them will join in…

      THERE IS NO US AND THEM. So, how can “they” join in. Unity starts with individuals — WE (females, in my case) have to believe the white male businessman isn’t a “them”, too.

      Reply
  22. Modemocrat says:

    The GOP primary candidates constituted a clown show, and Mitt Romney was shunted along a priority lane past the other clowns to stand as the nominee.

    For some incredible reason, no one stopped to ask whether a nominee so viscerally out of touch with 99.9% of the U.S.A. was the best bet this cycle.
    No one questioned the wisdom of picking a candidate who hid his tax returns, when his father made it policy to display them.
    No one paused to consider whether a man who had made a fortune outsourcing jobs to China was the right man to convince American workers he’d get their back.
    No one found cause to disqualify Romney following disclosure of his many foreign bank accounts and money maneuvers.
    And no one said, following a most basic vetting of Romney’s past, that he’s just not acceptable.

    Instead, it was expected that partisan fervor would override all these negatives (a modest picking among this candidate’s many failings.)
    Instead, Romney was applauded as the apotheosis of the GOP, as the best its philosophy could offer, which proves what a failure the GOP philosophy of pandering to the corpocracy is.

    Time for the GOP to rediscover that conservative means – it’s not prostituting oneself for one’s paymasters.

    The greatest irony – or instant karma, if you will – was the fact that there is now a Senator Elizabeth Warren. Whose candidacy for consumer advocacy was sabotaged by the GOP, and who is now going to Washington D.C., to pile glowing coals under the feet of the doofuses whose heads are in the 19th century and looking in the wrong direction.

    Reply
    • Obiwan says:

      “No one paused to consider whether a man who had made a fortune outsourcing jobs to China was the right man to convince American workers he’d get their back.”

      Probably because it wasn’t true, and just another lie from the Obama camp.

      http://factcheck.org/2012/06/obamas-outsourcer-overreach/

      Have fun with high unemployment, high gas prices, and declining incomes.

      Reply
      • MDM says:

        Hi gas prices will get higher because there will be less and less oil in the world.

        Hi unemployment will result if the GOP is successful in preventing tax rates from going up for the wealthy. Because a secure middle class buys things, which means there is demand that needs to be met to satisfy those consumers. Which means that employers then need to hire more people. Shrink the middle class and funnel all the money up to the 2% and they just buy more yachts and stash their extra money in the Caymans (or waste it on ill-fated, hacky campaigns).

        Declining incomes are because even though the stock market has gone up 4 thousand points since Obama first took office, and corporations have seen record profits, they often refuse to pay dignified and commensurate wages to their employees. And this kind of hoarding is further celebrated by the political right as being the mighty triumph of the invisible hand of the market. Wages are depressed by the businesses themselves.

        But good luck with your talking points!

        Reply
        • Avi Marranazo says:

          Wages are depressed by cheap Third World immigration–the new people elected by the Cultural Marxists who couldn’t sell their ideology to the traditional American people. Gas is expensive because of the Federal Reserve’s debasing the currency. In gold terms, a barrel of oil costs what it cost 50 years ago.

          Reply
  23. Ben Lemieux says:

    I think a lot of discussion in this forum has spiralled off course. Mr. Simon’s post was not about the economy, health care, or energy policy. It was about an ongoing paradigm shift in the United States and the political cost of ignoring it.

    There are broad policy ideas in the Republican Party worthy of consideration. Being socially liberal and supporting strong centralised government are not antithetical, for instance. I reckon there is a large segment of the socially liberal American youth that also embraces economic conservativism, but these people are without a voice nowadays.

    In the closing weekend of campaigning, Paul Ryan played the Judeo-Christian card – effectively the last nail in the lid of the Republican coffin. Desperate, last-ditch appeals to the far right are no longer effective. The political discourse is too heterogeneous for these tactics anymore. Only by being a reasonable centrist (a position that Obama has adopted and a once-moderate Romney only recently abandoned) can a national candidate be elected in present-day America. That was the overarching point of Mr. Simon’s post, I believe.

    I have long been looking forward to a time when the US could become a nation governed by ideas, not ideologies. Based upon these election results, and the points Mr. Simon has mentioned, I feel we are moving in this direction, at last.?

    – B. Lemieux

    Reply
  24. Adrian Parke says:

    David, I’m new to this.

    Before I take part can I just double check:

    a) How long do I need to spend twisting your words and misrepresenting what you write into what I want you to write?

    b) Do I have to think for myself or can I use soundbites a as reflex response (We’re in a recession you know. Who has time to think in a recession?)? And it hurts my head.

    ps You socialist son of a bitch – who do you think you are, going off and considering the needs and liberty of others? Look where that type of tolerance got Snot Boogey.

    Reply
  25. Helpusall says:

    I’m white, rich, and don’t give a damn who is president.

    I have benefited enormously from the last 4 years of fiscal stimulus propping the stock market, while eroding the economy. The President’s policies have helped secure my financial future, but have put most everyone else’s at risk.

    I can choose to check out, join the non-working elite, pay no taxes, and starve government of the tax income I have willingly contributed for the past 35 years. I don’t have to be the cash cow for agendas I don’t support.

    The 1% funds this country. And the1% has flexibility to watch from the sidelines for the next 4 -30 years if they choose.

    Best of luck to the 99% as the 1% decides it’s time to check out.

    Reply
    • Ben Lemieux says:

      This is, again, off-topic. See my above comment. Your economic discussion belongs in another thread.

      Reply
    • DoUsAllAFavor says:

      The door’s open; don’t let it hit you on the way out. Wealth plus low-information is a bad combination. Somehow I feel we’ll be better off..

      Reply
    • Hugely says:

      with any luck the 1% will continue to fund the country at more appropriate levels – pasta willing. Where do you think you are going Singapore? Somalia?

      Reply
    • Vikkie T. says:

      And there it is!!! Your assumption that the rest of us can’t make it with out you is what REALLY got you in trouble in the first place…

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

      Reply
  26. Me says:

    Or there is a NEW normal, one that includes us all but is based on our compassion.

    Reply
  27. BenJAMMIN says:

    David, I commend you with handling these trolls that are misconstruing and attempting to spin their ideology or feelings on the quite simple fact the demographics are changing. That’s it. Not only did the article make my (late) night more enjoyable but seeing the haters vehemently express their opinions about off-topic nonsense and you defending the thesis of the article time after time actually made me laugh out loud a few times at the cost of your eye-rolling and frustration I’m sure.

    This is the first time I’ve been on your website, and will recommend your material to friends and foes alike. Have you ever considered doing a reddit AMA?

    Reply
  28. quin says:

    The arrogance and self righteousness of the left is amazing to witness, with the solutions to the countries problems being to vilify the white male, if only we could have purged this country of the white man 200 years ago it might have turned out to be a decent place to live.

    Reply
  29. JLT says:

    Isn’t it a bit too soon to tell that this election signifies ‘death of the normal’? Let’s see what 2016 brings and who the GOP nominates, whether hiser narrative changes from the old standard rhetoric of the right.

    Reply
  30. ShanghaiJax says:

    David,
    A brilliant article. I have to write to thank you for putting into incisive prose exactly what over the past 24 hours many of us have been thinking, and writing and posting in our small circles of newish media. We believe you are exactly right, and you’re doing the right thing by sticking up for it and calling out the trolls on their troglodocity; like Nate Silver, you will be proven correct, as “it’s arithmetic, stupid”. You’ve written some very popular stuff but to my knowledge I’ve never seen anything you wrote before now (I’ve never seen any episodes of The Wire, but think I should probably check it out); just know this article has gained you yet another over-educated white American male fan.
    “The New Jerusalem.” Hosannah, Hallelujah and pass the fuckin goldfish.

    Reply
  31. laner says:

    Writing as an outsider (a South African), I want to offer a slightly different perspective to those who are against Obama’s re-election. A lot of you are saying that the squishy liberals are gloating and rubbing in your face the fact that ‘we’ won and now you have to do what ‘we’ say.
    Not right.
    “One True Way”? C’mon! What the squishy liberals are saying, and what is the real victory here (nevermind taxation, health, war, economy), is that you can do what you want, as long as I can do what I want too. We’re all different, and that’s ok. It’s more than ok – it’s awesome. And it is precisely why the USA will be ok for a while.

    Reply
  32. builder says:

    Whoa I am feeling kinda left out here!! I am a white man over the age of 29 & I also voted for Obama for my own reasons. I don’t like being cast as a stereotypical racist white man because I am far from that!!! In your entire rant you did not add native Americans of white folks so I am feeling a bit discriminated against :)
    I agree the United States are changing and we need to change with it but I am an American citizen and will stand firm in my convictions. I believe in America, the land of opportunity, freedom, and equality.
    I believe we need to stop the bickering and work together to get our economy back on the right track.

    Reply
  33. Barbara Saunders says:

    Whatever happened to “tolerance for ambiguity”? There are not just two choices: “race card” or “race blind.” Race is confounded with (and interacts dynamically with) other factors, from class to geography to education level to socioeconomic status.

    Reply
  34. robert says:

    The re-election of Barack Obama has to its credit 36%+ of voting white males. there is no such thing as a conservative movement. there is no spirit of discontent among thinking, ambitious people. behold.. another soap box internet mouthpiece wishing he could be a martin luther king-esque internet sensation.

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      Sorry. This election is widely regarded by political observers as among the most racially polarized in modern American history. Indeed, put the phrase “racially polarized” into a search engine along with 2012 election and watch how many MSM media cites and poll analyses come up. That just is. You can wish it away as a premise for discussion. Or not.

      But then rushing in with some half-assed, weak-assed, thoughtless ad hominem about who you think the author of this blog might be, well, that’s just a little bit too juvenile for these parts. Come back when you have something serious to say.

      Reply
      • Steven says:

        Amen. Amazing how some will assume the credit even when they lose

        Reply
      • quin says:

        Racially polarized? Perhaps the black vote, but the white male vote was virtually identical to Clinton,Gore,and Kerry.

        Reply
        • David Simon says:

          Actually, the 60-40 limit on white male bias to the GOP has, since 1972, been presumed to be the outer limit of what a Democratic candidate could endure. Falling below 40 percent had been seen, before this election, as something of a death knell for Democrats. Obama’s 36-37 percent is sufficient only because of his overwhelming support from others.

          But you’re avoiding the argument of the essay here, almost willfully, I’m afraid. It isn’t that Republicans have retained nearly two-thirds of the white male vote in the country. It is that by dint of their policy positions, they have retained nothing else. And they can’t manufacture white guys fast enough going forward.

          Reply
      • Jackie says:

        As a middle aged black woman, I cringed at the boldness of racists this election cycle. It was as if someone told them to go hard and long against anything not white and male and privileged. Then, after they wiped the foam off their mouthes, they talked about bi-partisanship and how the President didn’t do anything. Somehow they forgot Bin-Laden. They forgot that their adult children can now stay on their health insurance policies, that their bi-racial grandchild cannot be denied insurance coverage because they inconveniently have cancer. They forgot how the deep was the hole that Bush created.

        Just as I started to fear that the racists were winning, I stood in one of those four hour early voting lines and witnessed determination, camaraderie, of a desire to make our vote count. Yes, the world has changed and it is foolhardy to think it hasn’t.

        Reply
    • Keith Adams says:

      “another soap box internet mouthpiece wishing he could be a martin luther king-esque internet sensation”

      Heh…. You obviously have no clue who Mr. Simon is…. I seriously doubt he aspires to these things when he has already left an indelible mark on media history in this country.

      Reply
      • David Simon says:

        No, no. You have it wrong.

        I remember lying on pillow as a young lad, dreaming myself to sleep, hoping against hope that one day, when I grew up, if I worked hard and stayed true to myself, I might one day become a soap-box internet mouthpiece, a small glimmer of light in a veritable Milky Way of other soap-box glimmerings. Oh, fortune, how thou shines upon my most secret and worthy dreams at this very instant. I pause in typing only to weep gratefully.

        Reply
        • Keith Adams says:

          I love it! In any case, I would like to personally thank you for the lasting impression your work has left on my family. The Corner… The Wire… It has inspired my children to make a difference in this world. Something I may not have accomplished on my own.

          Reply
  35. SG says:

    not sure how the knuckle draggers found their way to this insightful and correct article but even less surprised at how ignorantly they deny its truth

    Reply
  36. Andy says:

    There were a lot of things that happened yesterday. Many articles and many paragraphs, and many blog postings will be written to document many shifts that occurred In the 2012 presidential election. This article highlights just one of the many very interesting aspects that occurred yesterday and perhaps touches a few others as well. Well written, and thanks for putting your thoughts online for us to read.

    Reply
  37. Inky says:

    The inability to expand text on your website makes me think you like white men, gays, women and Latinos more than iPad users with bad eyesight . Shame. Shame!

    Reply
  38. David H Dennis says:

    President Obama is great on symbolism, and your post is all about a symbolic victory. That is, the poor, the minority, the dispossessed folk rebelled against the evil plutocrat Romney and gave their guy a historic victory. If this was even slightly true, I’d be the first to congratulate you.

    When I heard the two sides fight out this election, they seemed to be talking about an entirely different era, and entirely different issues. President Obama did not so much disagree with Romney as ignore what he had to say. As a result he seems to have given a lot of people on Facebook the entirely inaccurate impression that Romney was an evil fellow who would ban their birth control, make abortions unattainable, and so on. Strangely enough, these issues were not featured in Romney’s campaign, and they were at all likely to come up in his Presidency. At worst, abortion might be thrown back to the States in any future Supreme Court case. No state that you or I would want to reside in is going to ban abortion or birth control. I know that, and hopefully you know that, and so this issue, which appears to have helped decide the election, was a complete lie from start to finish.

    In the mean time, President Obama presided over a weak recovery his policies made weaker.

    His health care law is a huge mess. You can be for or against compulsory national health care programs and still be absolutely appalled by the way it was planned, drafted and passed. It’s likely to destroy the insurance companies whose lobbies helped design it. It’s certainly going to reduce employment levels and depress our economy for decades to come.

    His energy policies attempted to heavily subsidize economically unworkable sources of energy while ignoring those right under our soil. He stopped a major pipeline project that would have been a huge boon for the efficient transmission and distribution of oil and gas. He opposed fracking despite no credible evidence that it is in any way unsafe. The real reason for fracking opponents is that they don’t want cheap energy – and yet our economy and people are dependent on cheap energy. The more expensive energy is, the more we all suffer. Obama’s policies, in the long run, would inevitably end up with doubled or tripled power bills. I don’t want that kind of future, and neither should you.

    You are probably going to say clean energy is better. But clean energy struggles to satisfy our energy needs. The truth is that we will eventually transfer to it, but only when it is proved safe and cost-effective. Right now, wind power costs about double what coal does, and solar and geothermal are even more expensive. I am all for the government spending lavishly to subsidize research and development on these sources. But spending money on production, when the technology isn’t ready, is a waste of money and tends to freeze technology at current levels instead of advancing it. As a result, these much-vaunted programs tend to make things worse, not better. As a result, Obama’s energy policy is horribly, horribly misguided. It is a particular disappointment for me that Pennsylvania, whose economy runs on coal and fracked natural gas, voted for Obama. They effectively voted to destroy the economy of their own state.

    George W Bush had large deficits, but Obama has made huge deficits into an art form. In his four years, he has increased our national debt by 50%! In his upcoming budgets, he plans to continue that trend. Using his own numbers, by the time his second term is out, our national debt will be double what it was at the start. The first ten trillion tool over 200 years. The second will take eight. This is not something we can ignore.

    Romney had a credible plan, proposed by his Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, to do something about this, and to slow the growth of entitlement programs to something sane. Obama ignores this issue completely. His tax increases on “millionaires and billionaires” will have negligible impact on the nation’s revenues, but makes those who hate the rich just a little bit happier, I guess. If I were rich, I’d be flying my private jet (and tax revenues) straight out of here. Why stay where you are hated?

    These are the issues Republicans raised, and the issues Republicans ran on. I believe them to be far, far more serious for the future of this country than anything raised by the Democrats. As a result, I find it appalling issues like defunding Big Bird (who has a BIG lobby) and free birth control pills (which you can get in any number of places at negligible cost) would be highlighted as reasons for people to support you guys.

    You mention minority voters. What is Obama doing for them other than being a symbol? He has not passed anything helping Blacks. Despite promises, he failed to pass the Dream Act, or anything to help Hispanics. And yet they think he will help them, because he mouths the right words at speeches.

    Bah! For the last four years, President Obama has ruled in support of his political cronies above all. Clean energy begat Solyndra and many others. Obamacare helps a huge, overlapping web of interests which gave big money to his campaign. TARP helped out the bankers. He wanted to build trains to nowhere (from political contributors, of course) without considering who might want to ride them. The GM bailout was a gift to the UAW. The whole stimulus was an exercise in handing out goodies to the educational lobby, the police and fire lobby, with surprisingly little given to the construction lobby we were told it would support. We were told it was for roads and bridges, but only 5% of the final bill went to roads and bridges.

    So I’m sorry. I can’t think of the election of Obama as a triumph for minorities, or for anyone. It’s the triumph of a highly destructive domestic policy, being saved by people’s love of abortion and Big Bird. I guess I’m glad you’re happy. I can’t understand why you’re not appalled and embarrassed by your candidate and his idiotic, destructive program.

    David Dennis

    Reply
    • David Simon says:

      No, my post is about a demographic transformation in America that is certain, ongoing and profound.

      It is more about the future of the American political dynamic than about Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney or the immediate contest. If you can stand back from your emotions about Tuesday’s outcome and look beyond immediate arguments, you might see that it is a discussion of something more than the winning and losing of this election. It is about a sea change in American life that will require all of us to reassess our view of our democracy. I think the change is for the better, regardless of who happened to be running for office this time around. You may feel otherwise. But regardless, you seem to have lost the main thread in straining everything your electoral disappointments.

      Reply
  39. You R. Tiresome says:

    I found this interesting:

    “A man of color is president for the second time, and this happened despite a struggling economic climate and a national spirit of general discontent.”

    Yes, he was when a white man would have been booted out of office for doubling the deficit and increasing the unemployment rate, despite promising the former would be halved and the latter would be 3% less at the end of his term… So is the “man of color” being held to a lessor standard?

    And as for the “fear of immigrants” comments, I always find it interesting that liberals cannot seems to distinguish between the terms “anti-immigrant” and “anti-illegal alien.” They seem pretty clear to me so I can only conclude it is a deliberate attempt by liberals to blur the distinction for political gain. And mind you, there IS a distinction. You can be for immigration but also be anti-illegal alien…

    Reply
    • Tri Nguyen says:

      Your own definition of the terms is troublesome at best – “anti-illegal alien” and “anti-immigrant”? Why is there a switch between alien and immigrant? And why conveniently blame this problem on the liberals? I agree with you that there’s a clear distinction. But let’s not forget that states like Arizona that use their laws to discriminate against non-white people, period, no matter legal or illegal, black, asian or Hispanic.

      Reply
    • Bill says:

      You should do a little fact-checking before you go spouting anti-Obama talking points. Mostly, they’re lies. The projected deficit for 2009, before Obama took office, was 1.2 trillion. This year it was also 1.2 trillion. As for the unemployment rate, it’s about where it was when Obama took office. But when he took office, the country was hemorrhaging jobs, with unemployment hitting 10 per cent 9 months into his first. Since then, unemployment’s been dropping, although painfully slowly. As for that ‘promise’ on unemployment, it never happened. Yes, he had economic adviser’s underestimating the depth of the economic collapse and projecting lower unemployment than eventuated, but a projection is not even remotely the same thing as a promise.

      Reply
    • GeorgeS says:

      Several problems with what you cited. First, the unemployment rate is now less than it was when Obama took office. Second, the deficit increase occurred primarily because of actions that the Bush Administration did (or did not) take that helped bring on the biggest financial crisis since the great depression. (For what it’s worth, the US didn’t get out of the Great Depression in FDR’s first term, either.) Underneath the “budget” deficit is the real deficit, which includes the trillions for two wars, one of which was totally unnecessary. We will be paying for that folly for decades to come. (To head off comments about “patriotism,” I spent 22 years in the US Air Force from Vietnam through the Gulf War.)

      Your distinction between “anti-immigrant” and “anti-illegal alien” is laughable. It doesn’t describe reality in any sense. Many of the “anti-illegal-alien” folks also want to deny immigrants the right to vote–they targeted voters with Hispanic names for harassment in Florida, for example. They’re the ones who propose stopping people and asking for proof of citizenship simply because of he way they look. (Could you provide definitive proof of citizenship if stopped? Do you carry a copy of your birth certificate around with you? If not, you could be thrown into jail.) Of course, these same “anti-illegal-alien” people have NO problem hiring illegals to work on menial jobs and have no problem buying produce picked by illegal aliens. They target the illegal aliens but get incensed when some business is caught hiring illegal aliens.

      Reply
    • Jeffrey says:

      We already know what happens when a white President doubles the deficit: they name the Washington D.C. airport after him and venerate him as a living god.

      Reply
    • doggyboyo says:

      The deficit is 200 billion lower than when Obama took office, the unemployment rate is down from when he took office, health reform was passed, one war has been ended, another war is winding down, no new wars have been started, America’s standing in the world has been restored and women and minority rights have been upheld and defended. There have been disappointments and failures but these have generally been because Obama has hewed to the status quo and not pushed back hard enough against the sclerotic establishment. I find it interesting that conservatives can’t remember that this country’s foundation is immigration and that fear of the “other” is always a losing philosophy.

      Reply
    • David Simon says:

      1. They did not boot Mr. Reagan out of the country. Rather, they named an airport after him. And still later, Mr. Cheney sought that fellow’s record by assuring us “Ronald Reagan showed us that deficits don’t matter.” Well, maybe they do and maybe they don’t. But hypocrisy is always notable.

      2. You may be aware that the entire financial structure of our republic was in free fall when Mr. Obama took office. The cost of the stimulus package resulted from that. Did the stimulus work? I rather think it did, based on the assessments of most major economists — some of whom would argue that even more deficit spending was required at that moment to ward off the impending recession. But that is of course the Keynesian argument, and I tend more toward Keynes than Hajek. In this, I am with Krugman. These are the names of economists. Notable ones, actually. Am I boring you?

      Anyway, the trick is harness the boom-bust cycle by spending to avoid the bust, and then paying off debt during the boom. Clinton did this quite well actually, balancing the budget and all. I won’t be so partisan as to blame Mr. Bush for then busting the bank with a couple of wars and massive deficit spending. To be fair, he was confronted with 9-11 and that certainly was an event profound enough to result in some certain overreaction in which we not only engaged in armed conflict in a country that had sheltered Al-Qaeda, but in an entirely different country that had no remote connection to 9-11. You want to look past the treasure we wasted in Iraq to cry a river about stimulus spending during a financial crisis? Okay. Have at it. But again, I’m with Keynes and Krugman. I think if we’d spent even more, employment might be down at 7 percent by now and the trough of the recession might not be quite as deep.

      3. It isn’t liberals who have such trouble discerning the precision by which the Republican stance on immigration is so judicious. ItLatinos. That’s your problem. Liberals are gonna vote against ya no matter what your immigration policies are or aren’t. But Latinos? Hey, they’re the ones you really pissed off with all that self-deport talk, and that Minuteman nonsense and lets-build-a-fence-so-high-and-far-that-Mexico-will-be-out-of-mind-and-sight-both. Latino Americans voted by a ridiculous margin for the Democrat, costing you fellows this election. You aren’t convincing anyone who really matters that you are pro-immigrant in your rhetoric, despite how reasoned you seem to think yourself.

      Reply
    • Steven says:

      Well, I don’t think our “man of color” anticipated that congressional leaders would have the audacity to state from their own mouths that their number 1 priority was to ensure that he was not reelected and that they would absolutely refuse to work with or compromise with him on any level. Were he a white man, as you speculate, he would never have had to constantly swim upstream in order to get anything at all accomplished. How can his performance in office be objectively evaluated when the majority of his legislative initiatives have been stonewalled or summarily rejected?

      As for your immigration comments, it’s the conservatives who have blurred the distinction between immigrants and aliens, as evidenced by the oppressive stop & frisk laws recently enacted in Arizona.

      Reply
  40. Matthew Wade says:

    In a divided nation characterised by staggering economic inequality, it is of course the protection and promotion of minorities within the overall state which will be a primary consideration for those influenced by notions of social justice. Until a nation state seeks to promote the interests of the least fortunate, that nation cannot be said to be healthy or united. And focusing on minorities doesn’t have to be to the detriment of the majority.

    I think the key point is, that the Republican party and any other conservative political movements need to recognise that seeking to retain an already outdated status quo, and protect a vision of a nation that year by year is disappearing into an partially racist, mysogenist, homophobic and theocratic past, is not sustainable.

    The minute you restrict the rights of people based on prejudice of one form or another, it invalidates many of your arguments on the issues that affect everyone, like the economy, how ‘the state’ should be defined, and even areas of foreign policy.

    Although I would consider myself left of centre, there are parts of what should be the Republican agenda that I would certainly consider worthy of exploration. But after issues of safety (internal or on the world stage) and the economy, human rights issues score very highly.

    There has been a lot of talk about potential Republican soul searching after both this and the last Presidential election, and given the breadth of views within the Republican movement, that is entirely fitting. But retreating back into the more extreme areas of your core support is a one way ticket to failure, regardless of your political leaning. Despite the serious amounts of crazy, Ron Paul and the Tea-baggers do raise significant political and philosophical questions about what government should be and how it should work. But attempting to answer those questions from a position of alienating a majority of single women, non-whites, young people and non Christian religions in a the USA is spectacularly counter productive. They are the fastest growing voter demographics.

    The new-younger generation of rising republican stars may get this. But there are many in the movement who still think, act and talk like the last 50 years didn’t happen. As the USA continues to diversify, only candidates who at least attempt to appeal to the broadest spectrum and address the concerns of the majority can be elected as representatives of their people. Which is exactly how democracy is supposed to work.

    The message is simple – Adapt or die.

    Reply

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