The election is over, where do we go from here? I’m in no position to be high and mighty. I have done no fewer than half a dozen victory dances in front of my Republican and otherwise conservative friends.
I pop and lock while proclaiming, “the makers lost, the takers won!”
This is, of course, a reference to the Republicans’ favorite way of classifying America’s Democratic voters. Ann Coulter ’84, despondent over last week’s results proclaimed “there is no hope” and “we have more takers than makers.” Do we really not have any hope? Do all the Obama voters really just want “stuff” from the government, as Governor Romney put it?
Barack Obama still does not excite me so much; I’m mostly happy because of what his presidency will mean for the future of the Supreme Court and that almost every American will have health insurance. However, the reason why I’m thrilled with his reelection actually gets to the core of why I perform my victory dance with such glee.
A vast majority of Republicans hated President Obama more than was objectively rational.
While in Ohio volunteering for President Obama last week, a confident man walked past me and loudly proclaimed, “That’s a lot of work you guys are doing for Obama. You know he’s going to lose right?”
I was really confused. The polling was pretty clear, it was a tight race but the President had a slight advantage in the swing states. What was this guy seeing that made him so confident? Even though the President was the candidate who was favored in the race, I was pretty damn nervous.
Why were Republicans so confident? The answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question I asked earlier, why are Republicans so sure that America is coming to an untimely end ushered in by takers?
Republicans are great believers. They believe in America as a place that is fundamentally theirs. Sure, Democrats might swindle enough people to rent out the White House for a few years, or maybe even two terms if you’re Bill Clinton and Ross Perot is around to muck up the race.
This time around they have no excuse, they have to reason with the fact that a majority of American voters believe that President Obama ought to have a second term.
Republicans are a party of Cassandras now. Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam of Troy. Apollo gave her the ability to prophesize the future, but with the one small catch: nobody would ever believe her.
Republicans see our country descending into an abyss, and their faith in American Democracy assured them that our country would rise up, band together and toss Obama out of office.
Well, the Republicans now have to wake up to a new reality, President Obama is not detested, he is generally well-liked.
What the American people told us was that the President had a moderately successful first term; he passed compromise forms of universal health care and financial reform and has overseen a steady, if sometimes middling, economic recovery. He could have done better on all fronts, but he did enough to win. His foreign policy record is strong, and he’s a likeable enough guy.
If Republicans had understood that that was the man they were running against, not some sort of radically incompetent socialist, they could have crafted an opposition to the President that was still in keeping with reality.
Instead, they tried their best to come up with excuses for why the President was receiving so much support. In their minds, it must have been because those supporters thought they had something to personally gain from Obama’s reelection (see: takers).
So here we are, and the Republican Party sits at a crossroad. They can elect to join us in the real world, a world where we are not in “serious and unprecedented trouble … like never before,” as Donald Trump exclaimed last week. We have been through slavery, a civil war, two world wars, the civil rights movement and five Fast & Furious movies. We can survive a second term of Barack Obama, even if you do not think he is the man for the job.
Importantly, the President will have a chance to prove how moderate he is in the debt negotiations which will begin in the coming weeks. I am petrified of seeing President Obama oversee massive cuts to social security and Medicaid with only some minor increases in the taxes wealthy people pay. If Republicans are truly concerned about the President, just pay attention to how unhappy I’ll likely be once Obama allows the Republicans to take massive bites out of American liberals’ most impressive accomplishments, in exchange for Clinton-era tax rates on the richest Americans.
The idea that Democrats are celebrating because we are all getting free stuff is absurd. If it takes me busting a move or two, and then dropping an invisible mic at your feet, then so be it.
Noah Karr-Kaitin is a senior in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plain Hokum appears alternate Mondays this semester.