Epistemic Closure - "Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!) This is epistemic closure." - Julian Sanchez, Cato InstituteWith Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's loss last night in the presidential race, a discussion is in order about what caused the loss and how to make the GOP stronger. I want to be clear here that I believe the country benefits from two parties with two approaches to our challenges but only when those parties work together to compromise. Up to now, the GOP has decided not to do this. There are two moments that stood out for me in this regard (As much as possible, I'm going to link to clips of the actual people saying these things in their own words lest I be accused of making things up):
You'll have to forgive me when I chuckled during this part of the first presidential debate when Romney lectured the president on compromise and bipartisanship:
Why did I chuckle? This self-proclaimed bipartisanship cheerleader vetoed 844 pieces of legislation while Governor of Massachusetts - a majority of which were overturned by the state legislature. Towards the end of his term, his vetoes became so annoying that he even lost the support of the Republicans in the legislature. And his party openly admitted that they were willing to stall progress for the entire country so that Obama could fail. Their hatred for this man coupled with their desire to win, came at our expense as a nation. That's not un-American?
But let's not digress. I want to stay focused on how Romney (and the GOP) lost this election.
GOP in Crisis
As Andrew Sullivan said, "Fox deserves a great deal of credit for re-electing president Obama. Because they refused to see who he actually was, they could not effectively counter him. They countered a figment of their imagination - and it was a particularly nasty, bilious, mean figment. Their universe became a black hole last night, sucking almost all of them in."
- Racial Minorities
- Gays and Lesbians
- Lower and Middle class
- Upper class
This hard-assed approach to immigration is not popular in a country that is increasingly becoming a minority based demographic (2011 was the first year that more minority babies were born in America than white babies). I'd also ask you to look behind Romney in that clip above and tell me how many minorities are in the room?
Gays and Lesbians
"We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity." (my emphasis)Yes. Treated with respect and dignity by denying LGBT relationships any respect or dignity. I think it goes without saying that the GOP has zero interest in LGBT rights. I've heard an argument that goes something like this, "Yeah Sean, but Obama just recently changed his mind about this." Those who make this argument are inferring that Obama's support is not genuine and is all politics. I find this argument amusing coming from a group of people who voted for arguably the least genuine of all politicians. A man who flip flopped on 18 months of campaigning so hard on the first debate, he left the president almost speechless. But aside from that, we're still talking about a president who got DADT repealed, signed new rules preventing deportation for HIV+ immigrants (begun by Bush Jr.), and stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This all happened before the President announced his support for gay marriage so there was quite a bit of rubber on the road by that point. I believe that the President will follow through on his position because I've already seen him do so many times. Plus with potentially two Supreme Court justices retiring in the next four years and some very important gay rights cases headed their way, gays are not going to be taking any chances with Romney appointees.
The entire GOP seems to be in denial about climate change (and science in general). Instead of walls to keep illegal immigrants out, how about walls that prevent the kinds of storm surges we just saw? The younger voters are sitting in their houses with snorkels on having a difficult time believing the denials.
During the first presidential debate, you heard Romney clarify over and over that his plans for Medicare do not affect current retirees, only future retirees. He was so defensive about that point that it looked pretty obvious that the plan would be painful for whoever was affected by it. The youth vote couldn't help but see this and think that Romney had it out for them.
Lastly, the youth in this country consider gay rights to be a non-issue - even in red states. Many young people have gay siblings, uncles and aunts, etc., and they are personally affected when gay rights are threatened. This influences many votes. The GOP decided to shoulder this issue and they need to accept the lost votes as a result.
How the GOP can allow their party to alienate over half the U.S. population without rebuke is just beyond me.
Lower and Middle Class
People who've recently been fired or laid off could simply not relate to the joy of it all.
How exactly? Oh by disenfranchising minority and lower class voters. Thanks for being honest about that. I'm sure that didn't drive a whole bunch of minorities to the polls.
Yes. a $10,000 bet. Small potatoes. Make a friendly bet for an amount that's just under half the median income for an American family. Then there's the mother of all videos:
Nice job Mitt! You're either a total snob or a seven-faced lying monster. Great way to turn supporters against you. Surely many of them are part of that 47% including seniors on social security and medicare, military veterans, unemployed, etc.