Tag Archives: 2012 election

The Most Exciting Aspects of the 2012 Election

President Obama gives a thumbs up on his winWhile there are several House races and ballot initiatives still being counted, the big news today is that President Obama was reelected in a decisive victory over Mitt Romney last night. (Note to self: Always have a concession speech on hand so people don’t think you’re a spoiled jackass.) In addition to the troubling developments that came out of this election cycle, there were many highlights and exciting moments that will affect us as an electorate for some time. Again, in no particular order:

The women’s, Latino, and African American votes determined the presidential winner—Clear majorities from each group voted for the Democratic side of the ticket, setting the pundits abuzz over whether the increasing conservative of the GOP pushed them away. Of course the opposite could be true: Democrats made pains to express their support of “everyday” Americans, the “47 percent” and the middle class. While the old school messages about workers and unions were not as present as in elections past, the point about supporting the auto industry served as a good proxy into the same target demographic, and exit polls showed that Obama’s funding of the auto bailout brought over working class white voters to vote for him in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. But outside of this issue in these limited states, it was the turnout of women and people of color who felt their interests were on the line who made the difference.  Read More…

The Most Troubling Aspects of the 2012 Election

2012 election graphic8:15a.m., Pacific Standard Time on November 6, and it feels like this election started two decades ago. Finally we’re arrived at Election Day. Tomorrow we won’t have to sit through more attack ads blowing up our enjoyment of The Walking Dead or Leverage. I will deeply appreciate Wednesday for that, even if the country isn’t in agreement on who won or if the news cycle leads with which candidates are suing which other candidates for a recount. The dust won’t have settled on much of what Americans will vote for today, but even now, with the polls open and people queuing up for their moment with a ballot, there are a few issues brought up by the 2012 election. And some of them are disturbing. In no particular order:

The absence of medical expertise to inform laws that affect reproductive health, women’s health, and abortion—From Representative Steve King, candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, and carved into the Republican Party Platform came many moments of presumption and imagination about how human bodies function and what role God plays in conception or the biological prevention of conception. Sure, pro-choice advocates have fumed at disingenuous statements around medical care before and it’s not new that anyone would worry that conservative, ill-informed men feel free to write laws with no or misleading medical evidence taken into account. But this election cycle from the primary through the general election, and woven through many of the state races for Congress we saw wave after wave of misogyny and hate, directed at anyone with a uterus. The fight against women was multi-faceted, repeatedly hitting on access to contraception, defunding the “antiChrist” that is Planned Parenthood, attempts to install “personhood” legislation, demonizing rape survivors who chose to terminate a resulting pregnancy, inventing new restrictions on abortioneven to save the life of the mother—and on and on. That the rhetoric around these issues was so extreme and so consistently present throughout the range of races across the country speaks to a concerted effort to find new ways to control the domain of debate and the outcome. Read More…

A Modest Proposal for Politicians

science education test coverNOTE: This post is about sexual assault and pregnancy and stupid, stupid remarks from men.

Last summer, the otherwise unknown Todd Akin, running for the Senate in Misouri, said the following in an interview when asked why he doesn’t support abortion in the case of rape or incest:

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

There was much snickering and frustration in the land after this sound bite, namely from people who find such nonsense revolting. Immediately progressives and pro-choice advocates slammed Akin, asking if that was how he felt in the cases of 9-year-old girls who get pregnant after sexual assault, and so on. Popular culture and news media aren’t exactly adept at communicating about horrific events like pregnant children, and so it was that for a time, worst case scenarios floated about social networking sites and cable television like confetti after a They Might Be Giants concert (or a political convention).

But looking at Mr. Akin’s statement, we see that he is not alone in holding such an extreme position, nor with this significant amount of conviction. Here are other statements about rape and pregnancy: Read More…

Obsessed: GOP Men with Women’s Reproduction

Rick Santorum sticks around like a sexually transmitted infection. As the Washington Post put it earlier today, while Mitt Romney has trouble connecting with audiences on the stump, Santorum’s message is frighteningly clear: he wants a United States of Christ. Or at least, his interpretation of what that would look like. I can see the cows coming home, and Santorum still hasn’t mentioned any of the Beatitudes. Apparently he’s given up on inheriting the earth.

pro and against abortion signs

Santorum’s Web site claims that he will “lead us from the front,” but in reality it sounds like he wants to lead from the uterus. Not his uterus, since he doesn’t have one, but any garden variety uterus from a random woman in America.

Once upon a time, the fight for abortion rights and reproductive health was fought over the terms of when, abstractly, a human life begins. That abstraction is now being pushed into legislative agendas and bills, in the form of “Personhood” laws that would make pregnancy termination by any means—even, horrifyingly enough, miscarriage—a crime on par with homicide. Read More…

The Persistence of Lies

two men holding anti-immigrant signsI’ve devolved as a news-watcher over the last 25 years. If I waited until the evening to get the news, during dinner with my parents in the late 1980s, I hardly ever see broadcast news now. The promise of American 24-hour news channels never came to pass, in my opinion; instead of thorough coverage from news desks around the world, it’s mind-numbing commentary from uninformed talking heads who seem much more interested in their own product placement contracts than in communicating about our global goings on. Those news syndicates and news desks in other countries have dried up, but what was their other option after years of little funding or support from the channel executives? Now big name news outlets like CNN use amateur video–even solicit it openly–to serve as content providers. So it is that people’s backyards were frequent film footage sources during every large snow of the winter last year.

The GOP primary race has put me over the edge, though. On top of the sensationalized headlines, anemic interest stories, vapid policy analysis, and over-reliance on technology gimmicks (I’m looking at you, hologram interview), now there are countless stupid sound bites from what looks like little more than well funded bigots running to disassemble the Office of the President. Read More…

Book Deals of the Candidates

Every single Republican who threw their hat into the 2012 Presidential election season has been mocked mercilessly by the press and the general public. Many of them *cough Pawlenty cough* have looked like little more than a deer in headlights or like a raving lunatic (read: Herman Cain), with ideas either too bland to capture anyone’s imagination, or with statements so fringe nobody could take them seriously. The litany of horrible one-liners that came out of the nonstop GOP debate schedule made all of these contenders look completely unqualified or incapable of running the White House office supply order, much less the country. And poll after poll showed President Obama significantly ahead of not just the field of self-named candidates, but ahead of a generic Republican opponent.

GOP primary candidates 2012Many of us have asked, what is going on here? Surely there are informed, reasonable Republicans with solid experience who could be in this campaign–not that anyone comes to mind in the ten seconds I’m willing to think about it. But out of 313 million Americans, isn’t there someone with foreign policy experience, a non-reductive reading of the Constitution, and a willingness to work in a bipartisan way in Washington, DC? Read More…

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