Watching the major media ponder on Barack Obama’s reelection victory and how the Republican Party must acknowledge the “new demographics”, the growth of black and brown voters, is ironic, given the makeup of their own newsrooms. And actually, it isn’t fair. The Republicans knew full well about the new demographics, that’s what voter suppression is all about. They were fighting back against what they saw coming, and they betted they could do it with money and lies and they lost big time.
What Governor Romney has been able to do is of historic importance, he has been able to unify the heirs of the great progressive Movements of the nation by their having a common cause in his defeat. “The task of perfecting our union moves forward,” said a reelected Barack Obama in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning and that task has been taken up by Abolitionists, Suffragettes, the Civil Rights Movement and the movement for labor rights. These are the very basic parts of the American character that supersede whiteness and have been the nation’s saving grace. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who remains in congress, has brought them together and that coalition is going to knock the Republican socks off in the midterm elections if they don’t stop the obstructionism.
Watching the returns, we can see why the Republicans were so intent on voter suppression and how important the anti-voter suppression movement was. In Dade County, Florida, heroic voters stayed on line until 2:30am to vote. “That’s something we have to fix,” noted Obama.
Progressive coalitions had big wins and there was certainly good news to see Alan Grayson (D-FL) back in congress and that Tea Party darling, the very strange Rep. Allen West, gone. Elizabeth Warren defeated Scott Brown. Gay marriage won on four out of four ballots. Marijuana is now legal for adults on Washington and Colorado. The country is changing and the question for the Republicans and other institutions is, are they going to change with it?
Judging from the initial comments from members of the Republican leadership in congress, they remain willing to make any deal where they can dictate the terms. So Obama’s first two years may be devoted to tugging against the Republican dug-in heels. But even with the gerrymandered districts of the incumbents, the new majority is broad enough that it can make immediate noise about putting forth opponents for midterm congressional seats, and force a few Republicans to be willing to compromise faster than is thought right now.
Hurricane Sandy brings out the best in Brooklyn
Hurricane Sandy has brought a disaster the we usually see on television or read about happening somewhere in Haiti, Cuba or the Gulf Coast, and it was probably what President Obama was alluding to when he spoke of facing “the destructive power of a warmer planet”. What has been most inspiring about this calamity has been the outpouring of help for those who have found themselves suddenly wiped out. Brooklynites and others are spontaneously springing into action to volunteer, contribute and help these refugees from our shoreline. And now they have a second storm of cold, wet snow adding to the difficulty of the trials they are already facing. Global warming is here to stay and it’s good to have a president who recognizes that reality.