One of the benefits of my three-month hiatus from this blog is that I avoided all temptation to write compulsively about the American presidential election.
But now that I’m back, I really do have to post one — and only one — analysis of the result, and its implications.
To start, and this is directed to all of my left-leaning confreres and relatives south of the border, Barack Obama did not win anything that could honestly be called a “mandate.” Not a mandate for change, not a mandate for staying the course, and certainly not a personal mandate.
Yes, it’s true that, in the end, President Obama won the Electoral College handily (332-206). And yes, it’s true that he ended up with a national popular vote edge of 3.5 million votes.
But a closer look at the results paints a much more cautionary picture.
Flip the decisions of a total of just 200,000 swing voters in four key states (Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado) and Mitt Romney is President-Elect.
In a vote of 121,000,000 citizens, had the coins of only 1/6 of 1% of a specific slice of the electorate come up tails instead of heads — the possibilities are just too grim to contemplate.
Or, if you prefer a less random explanation, had Hurricane Sandy hit a week later, or the Petraeus affair highlighted Benghazi a week earlier; had the Republican ground game come close to matching the sophisticated, technology-driven Democratic turnout machine — you know who is President-Elect.
It really was that close.
Yes, there are large demographic changes in the works. And yes, there appears to be a social issues coalition (of urbanites, the educated young, minorities, and suburban women) that is strong enough to prevail in an election cycle dominated by the 47%, “legitimate rape,” and all the rest.
Does anyone really think that the Republicans weren’t watching, that they aren’t working already on how to reframe, how to “re-present” themselves in ways more attractive to several million reluctant Obama voters?
For all the talk of a new reality, of a coalition for the future, let the Republicans dance their way back from the sucker play of the “fiscal cliff”; let them find a way to “move forward” on immigration; let them find national candidates that don’t offend working people (the 47% thing again) or scare women (the “legitimate rape” thing again) — and they’ll be back in the White House in 2017.
Maybe, in the time he has in the interim, the current President should try something he didn’t do much of in his first term — govern like a Democrat.
Now that might be just enough to give Hilary a winning platform to run on against Christie-Rubio.