The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Dan Ehrlich Headshot

Obama's Win is More a Republican Defeat in a Divided Nation

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

President Obama's re-election win wasn't an affirmation of his less than glorious first-term, but more a dislike of the alternative in a nation where choices in elected officials have become fewer and largely dependent on big money.

The main political plus point in the unlikely event of Mitt Romney winning would have been to reassert the fantasy of America's vibrant democracy.

But, him losing to a weak president saddled with a less than enviable record has moved the USA, the world's preeminent democracy, that much closer to effectively becoming a one-party state in regards to the presidency.

This situation is similar to George W Bush's second term win against John Kerry. Bush, who won a bitter and controversial 2000 election against Al Gore, was caught napping on 9/11 and then launched the US into a long, costly and avoidable war in Iraq on false evidence. This, plus the declining economy made him beatable.

Yet, his victory over Kerry was far greater than his contested razor thin win over Gore. The reason: Kerry was viewed worse than Bush, the old 'Devil You Know' scenario.

The 2012 election was a signal to the GOP that it can no longer depend on eurocentric white voters to win. There's a new demographic in the USA that the Republicans have yet to properly address. And this won't happen as long as the party leans more and more to the right, which most minorities white and non-whites tend to shun.

The Republican problem is actually three-fold. Just as critical as a lack of decent candidates and its right wing posture is one of a shrinking electorate. The party has long depended on a white middle class for its mass appeal, even though its bedrock of support has traditionally been the super-rich.

But, as we all know by now the American middle class is dying a slow death, being replaced by the new poor and new poor immigrants. This means an ebbing of support for the Republican Party.

Obama and Romney had been trumpeting their intentions to save the middle class. But, their perceptions of this demographic were different.

Because Romney depended on a strong traditional white middle class to win, he probably was sincere in his desire to save it. Obama, however, has depended on a broader base of support, including voters who were once middle class but now part of the poor masses...people who bought Obama's repeated pledge that he would rescue them.

Whereas Romney would have liked to rebuild the traditional affluent white middle class as it used to be, Obama would like to raise America's new poor and old poor into a new middle class, but one that probably won't be quite as affluent as the old middle class.

Accepting the view that all politicians lie when it suits them, there's one basic truism that helps them campaign for never achieved fantasies: Having the electorate forget how things used to be and accept how they are now as a starting point for improvement.

To this end Obama's view of the middle class he says he wants to save isn't the affluent 1950s version but more like the post WW2 British working class where the masses own small homes they can just afford and earn decent wages. But in this new middle class both parents must work to keep their heads above water. The days of 25 cent per gallon petrol and 10 cent Cokes are long gone.

The fact is the Republican Party is so depleted of qualified potential candidates its next most likely contender is the grossly overweight and rough talking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who one might confuse with a character from the Sopranos TV series.

Christie could very well find himself up against Hillary Clinton. If she decides on another run for the roses, that is. Yet, if she does, her road to the White House could be a lot easier than her previous bid. Having served as secretary of state with distinction has given her reputation a boost so high, she's more popular than president Obama in some polls.

But, first she would more than likely have to defeat vice president Joe Biden for the nomination. Biden would be 73 and may be seen as too old to be a viable candidate for eight years in the White House.

Still, this is mere speculation largely dependent on what happens the next four years. Don't except any economic miracles no matter who's in the White House.

In this election, the most expensive in US history, the goal of both candidates was to get a negative and frustrated electorate to come out and vote. They accomplished this in spite of apathy and even Hurricane Sandy.

Whoever could mobilize enough skeptics and fence sitters would most likely win. In this regard, Obama won and won the election.

What makes things even worse for the Republicans is pressure on its congressional members from the far right wing movements such as the Tea Party. Its dislike of the federal government comes in an era when more people and entire states depend on aid from Washington.

This remains one of the great ignorance based American hypocrisies. Some of the same people who campaign against the federal government and the evils of socialism are often first in the queue when welfare money and benefits are to be had.

At this point, any GOP presidential candidate of the far right would not be electable. This means more Romney clones...either right wing or moderate candidates pretending to be either right wing or moderate.

The Republican Party's main job the next four years could be conducting a GOP version of America's Got Talent in the search for a political superstar who can connect with the new America. It's either that or being resigned to be out of the White House for eight more years.

Of course, if the economy doesn't rebound and Obama leaves office in four years a failed leader, anything is possible.