Cheating the Voter

That the President has a clear mandate from the people cannot be glibly dismissed. President Obama won the election by more than two million votes, winning both the Electoral College and the popular vote. Both John Boehner and Mitch McConnell laid down the law to the President, telling him that he cannot raise taxes on the wealthiest people in the country, that he has to come to them and negotiate with them.

I am one blogger that is tired of the contempt with which Republicans treat our President. Congressional Republicans treat him like the local house boy, to be summoned at their pleasure, ignored when it is to their advantage, told what to do and when to do it. It is about time that they demonstrated some respect for the Office of the President. He is our Commander-in-Chief, treat him as such.

Boehner told the president that he does not have a mandate, that the people allowed Republicans to keep the House Of Representatives by more than 35 seats. This belies the underlying facts of this election. Let me run through them:

The president won the popular vote by a wide margin. As at 16:00 on Thursday, the tally was as follows; Electoral College: Obama 303, Romney 206; Popular Vote: Obama 60,897,627, Romney 57,960,091. This is a difference of 97 in the Electoral College and 2,937,536 in the popular vote.

This is not a slight win, it is a rout. Romney did not come close to winning the election. The people clearly want Obama to continue with his successful agenda, including raising taxes on the very wealthiest Americans, implementing the Affordable Care Act, and withdrawing from Afghanistan.The measures that Obama took to save the auto industry, and regulate the financial industry also contributed to his popular win.

In the Senate, every single Democratic senator, all 23 of them, successfully defended their seat from the Republicans. In addition, Democrats picked up two senate seats in very red states. Claire McCaskill thrashed the senator from Missouri, Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, beating him by 15 points. He received his just deserts for his inane and insensitive comments about rape.

In Indiana, Joe Donnelly drubbed Richard “Rape is Gods Will” Mourdock by five points. Mourdock made similarly asinine comments about rape being God’s will. It appears that it is God’s will that he was thumped by his opponent.

Republicans only had to defend ten senate seats, none of which were seen as being in any danger. As it turned out, they lost twenty percent of those seats to the Democrats. If they had had to defend 23 seats as the Democrats were, we could well be looking at a Democratic super-majority in the Senate today.

To my way of thinking, the Senate is more democratic than is the House, since each state has two senators, and there is no way to change the district. They get the entire vote from the state.

The House of Representatives is an entirely different concept. While the Democrats whipped the Republicans in both the Presidency and the Senate, Republicans held the House, and they are making a great deal of this fact. They claim that they have a mandate from the people. The facts belie their claim.

Despite the fact that Republicans have the most seats in the House, they did not manage to get the popular vote. Democrats got 53,952,240 votes and the Republicans 53,402,643. That is 549,597 a vote difference. In other words, the Democrats won the House by a half million votes. The only reason that Republicans held the House is that they have gerrymandered their districts. The result is that their districts twist around the map like pretzels, rather than designed to manage a rational area of the state. As is usual for Republicans, they proved incapable of holding an honest election.

Now, Republicans want to wag the dog by telling the President what the agenda should be. Their lack of integrity reminds me of that old Hamlet quote, “there is something rotten in the state of Denmark”. Conservatives, as is their habit, make a mockery of what should be the greatest democracy History has ever seen. They fool no-one.

Political advisors like Karl Rove are still in denial about the depth and breadth of the Presidents win in the election. They believed and probably still do, that if your political machine has enough financial support, that you can throw enough money at the various races, you are more likely to win.

In addition, once in control of the various state houses across the country, you are able to draw districts to suit your political goals. The common terminology is gerrymander, or manipulate the districts based on a study of who is likely to vote your way. In this way, Republicans were able to hold the seats within the House.

To make certain that they would take the House, the Senate and the Presidency, conservatives had to be certain beyond the deluge of funds from donors and the gerrymandering of districts, that they would win the election. This is why they started cutting back on early voting days, as in Florida where they were cut from twelve to eight. In addition, polling stations closed early, after being open for five or six hours.

Many states instituted voter id laws, forcing people without id to stay home from the polls. To top all of this off, there was subtle, or sometimes not so subtle voter intimidation, letters sent out telling seniors that they could vote by phone, or that they were deceased and had been struck from the rolls. Billboards were erected informing voters that voter fraud was a federal offence that carried jail time.

All of these tactics together assured Republicans that they would easily win the election, as the governor of Virginia said, “the state of Virginia delivered for Romney, Done!” Conservative believed fervently, to the extent that they openly said the polls taken by esteemed organizations were skewed in favor of Democrats, that they would easily win the election. They were openly claiming a landslide, as much as eight points nationwide, and they steadfastly ignored the evidence coming from the pollsters.

As it turned out, there was overwhelming support for one side in this election, but it was not for the Republicans. Democrats swept the board. They did not lose a single seat across the national board. The supposedly liberal polling was entirely correct. This showed again that conservatives are several removes from reality, not just in their political ideology, but in their social, religious and scientific ideology.

All the money, the shenanigans, the deceit, the hubris, the lies in political ads, none of it helped the Republican Party to win a single seat. Over $1.3Bn wasted in a futile attempt to manipulate this election, and it all came to nothing. All Republicans managed to do was anger the electorate, and cause them to come out in greater numbers than they might otherwise have done. They have not learned that when you tell someone that they cannot do something, they are far more likely to want to do it.

The Republican Party has become a party of mostly older, white, wealthy men. They are out of touch with the realities of a modern society, with the needs of a modern electorate. They remind me of the National Party and later the Conservative Party in apartheid South Africa; racist, militaristic, contemptuous of others, possessing a laager mentality, narrow-minded, chauvinistic and intolerant.

The arrogance and mendacity that permeates their ranks, and especially the wealthy, who believe in their own invincibility, their detachment from the laws and norms of a functional society, is breathless to behold. If the Republican Party and conservatives in general to not adapt to conform to the needs of a modern society, they will become more and more isolated and irrelevant. It would not surprise me if they became resentful, militant, and secessionist, an outcome that would not bode well for this nation.

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