Thursday, November 06, 2014

Post-Midterm reflections

The results of the election had been predicted. Still, once the returns were in, I would have expected some reexamination on the part of adherents of both parties.
As an independent who is generally skeptical of the way politics is conducted in this country, I can offer some objective (I think) comments. I am not surprised at the Republican gloating: they are not good at introspection in the first place, and judge, not unrealistically, that they did well. Their main problem is to contain the excesses of the Tea Party, while appearing to conciliate them - a tough assignment.
What I keep seeing though is the same-old Democratic Party memes. One is that, after all, Obama is really wonderful, when clearly he is not. Another is the notion that rank-and-file Republican voters are stupid and voted against their own interest. As a number of analysts have shown, these voters are (alas, perhaps) not voting against their own interests, as they (not the punditocracy) perceive them. But are they stupid, we are told. This is a problematic assertion for supposed believers in popular sovereignty to make. Trust the people - except when they are overruled by the bicoastal elites.
Another illusion is the notion that if the qualified nonvoters had voted the results would have been different. A number of academic studies have shown that in the aggregate nonvoters would have voted much the same as voters. If we would end disenfranchisement - especially of ex-offenders - the results might be different. But I am speaking of the electorate as we actually have it.
Then there is the notion that demography will bury the Republicans. That does not seem to be happening now - and may be a pie-in-the-sky vision anyway.
I am far from saying (as some maps seem to suggest) that the US has become a Republican country. It may become so, though, if liberals do not relinquish their tendency to recycle their own tired memes about how superior they are to the yahoos. The "yahoos" are Americans like the rest of us. As people with modest resources they ought to command the sympathy of the liberal elite. But they do not