America: Love It Or Be Left Behind
The most delusional and divisive claim about President Obama’s election victory came, not surprisingly, from the disgraced Karl Rove, who told Fox News on Thursday that Obama “succeeded by suppressing the vote.” Make no mistake: Rove was talking about the white vote. Earlier that day Real Clear Politics writer Sean Trende had written a piece wondering about “disappearing” white voters, claiming white voter turnout had dropped significantly, by roughly 7 million votes, as whites rejected both parties. Since blacks, Latinos and Asians increased their turnout, as did women and young people, Rove couldn’t be talking about anybody but whites, and particularly older white men.
A quick reality check: Republican pollster Bill McInturff immediately debunked claims of disappearing voters of any color, reminding analysts that as always two days after a presidential election, many votes remained to be counted. The Thursday after the 2008 contest only 58% of the electorate had “turned out;” turnout climbed a bit above 62 percent when all the votes were tallied. In the end, turnout may be down this year, and it may well be mainly among whites, perhaps because of Hurricane Sandy. But to call that voter “suppression,” in the face of genuine voter suppression efforts by Rove’s own party – shortening early voting periods, attempts at repressive voter ID laws – is just another example of the shameless capacity to degrade, project and flat-out lie that is Turd Blossom’s singular political brand – a brand that has, God willing, been terminally tarnished.
But Rove’s wail about “suppressed” white voters reflects his party’s broader outrage that the supposed “permanent Republican majority” he tried to build on the back of Kevin Phillips’s “emerging Republican majority” of the late 60s – the one that used racial appeals to make whites, especially the white working class, its cornerstone – no longer exists. Whites only made up 72 percent of the 2012 vote, down from 77 percent in 2010, and even Romney’s 59 percent of white voters, up from John McCain’s 57 percent, couldn’t make him president anymore.
Republicans will not go gently into that bad night, and thus we are hearing a range of reality-denying reactions, some of them flat out crazy. We’ve seen Rove’s deranged explanation for his party’s shellacking by what John Judis and Ruy Teixiera identified a decade ago as “the emerging Democratic majority:” Obama suppressed the white vote, Rove insists, primarily by running a negative campaign against Romney (John Kerry would like a word with you, Boss Rove). Let’s walk through a few others:
Obama’s emerging Democratic majority consists of slackers and moochers who just want things.
“People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?” Bill O’Reilly said during his Tuesday self-pity party. “The white establishment is now the minority….The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore.” A majority of Americans, O’Reilly opined, “want stuff. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it, and he ran on it.”
The self-satirizing Ann Coulter declared “It’s over. There’s no hope if takers outnumber makers,” reprising the failed VP nominee Paul Ryan’s Ayn Randian depiction of the American divide. Rush Limbaugh declared, “I went to bed last night thinking we’re outnumbered. I went to bed last night thinking we’ve lost the country. I don’t know how else you look at this…Conservatism, in my humble opinion, did not lose last night. It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus,” continuing the theme of the Obama coalition going to the polls for handouts.