Mitt Romney never had a chance.
Even in the media maelstrom that painted an electorate divided not merely between Democrat and Republican, but between rote decency and full-throated venality — I never believed the story was that simple.
Make no mistake, there was plenty of comic-book villainy, including overt racism and mushrooming fear of the Other (Obama, immigrants, blacks, unions, etc.) that seemed to be overriding any sense of common good. But none of that stuff could really match the bigger mood of the country—battered but cautious, perhaps too entertained by extremism, but not prone to joining it–which is more like Obama the man than any of us knew.
I’ll take that for now. There’s some encouragement in the fact that the center can hold when the margin that’s been fighting to replace it for the last four years is so utterly unappealing, regressive and downright undemocratic.
Nor can money buy everything.
What do weather and women’s bodies have in common?
Both figured dramatically this election season, forcing debate on issues candidates would have preferred to skitter right past. And both had a decisive influence on the vote when it became clear that certain candidates, mired in superstition and ignorance, were using theology to make decisions on matters best left to science. And, as it turned out, weather and women both had ways of shutting that whole thing down.
If Election Day 2012 was a referendum on anything, it was science, and not just the wizard-like math skills of Nate Silver, author of the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog and statistician extraordinaire. It is not incidental that the same people asserting that women’s bodies refuse to fertilize rapist sperm are the same ones denying that carbon emissions from our burning of fossil fuels have caused the climate to warm, as every reputable scientist insists.