Shell-shocked Republicans are asking “What happened?” as they lick their wounds and offer recriminations and finger pointing regarding who to blame for losing the election. They are the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-like schemers, losers asking what happened.
Were they suckers? Can they get a refund? It was like putting money in a paper bag and passing it to campaign collectors. Consolation for large donors is their getting access to key political players and key statistical data for use in the next election.
Big donors like the Koch brothers should ask for a refund. As for the self-described election gurus like Karl Rove, win or lose, they pulled off the equivalent of their own slick Ponzi schemes. Throughout, people were reaching into their billfolds to put up cash to either help the president stay in the White House or to help throw him out. If Rove charged 10 percent of the $300 million awarded to him for the election, he’s a winning Madoff while his donors are Ponzi losers.
As they analyze, many tend to forget the depth and breadth of President Obama’s experience and street smarts (Harvard education in law — he taught constitutional law — and community organizing on the streets of Chicago). He and I are students of the teachings of Saul Alinsky (I was in classes with Alinsky) and those who helped craft the Alinsky doctrine — to prevail: Face off against the opposition, outthink them, out-plan them.
You win by being organized, by maintaining contact, by maintaining organizational structure, and by maintaining positive relationships with the masses. Following the 2008 campaign, Obama left organizers in the key battleground states — the Big Nine — to prepare voters for the 2012 campaign, demonstrating he cared deeply about the 2012 election.
However, something was amiss for both sides, as each side received fewer votes than in 2008 (Democrats 7.6 million fewer votes, Republicans 1.3 million fewer votes). And how could the self-proclaimed smartest and brightest pollsters and commentators forecast a Republican victory? Several longtime political commentators (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Dick Morris) proclaimed Romney would win big. And yet, despite protesting early calls on losing Ohio and Florida, Republican illusions couldn’t prevent their loss.
Both sides will be haunted by the question of did they win (or lose) because of super storm Sandy (15 percent said it influenced their vote). In politics, perception is reality. Pew Research reports exit polls showed that 53 percent of voters viewed the president favorably, Romney seven percent. Yet only 43 percent want an activist government (52 percent in 2008) and 49 percent disapproved of “Obama Care” (44 percent approved). Also, “59 percent believe abortion should be legal, 65 percent support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and a plurality support legalizing same-sex marriage in their states.”
We are left with several concerns. Winners have to be wary when a game is won in extra innings that could have gone either way.
Clearly, there is something is amiss when it takes five days to certify an election, as in Florida, and seven days later they are still counting the votes in the state of Arizona (with people of color voter suppression suspected), and with the feds looking into irregularities in Ohio. Our great system of democratic elective government depends on it being unbroken.
There will be two grassroots movements competing in the communities and neighborhoods in 2014 and 2016: Alinsky grassroots from the left and Tea Party grassroots from the right. They have to choose: demonize or be substantive on the issues.
In 2014 and 2016, which party, movement, and candidates will advocate for prosperity and growth in minority communities and neighborhoods, especially regarding education, jobs, housing, and Black leadership? I have fought for this for over 50 years (I have a chapter on each of these topics in my book, replicated on my web page).
My argument with Saul Alinsky and the Black leadership in Minneapolis has been about the failure to replicate initial successes. We need to concentrate on getting back to the focus and style of Martin Luther King, Jr., who never took his eye off the prize, the prosperous development of our neighborhoods.
Will the political parties follow Lincoln’s “house united” approach and heed his warnings about a “house divided?” If not, the African American community will see their own hope and change for their neighborhoods postponed for another four years.
Which party will stand for and promote the integrity of the electoral system?
God bless America.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.