Here’s a saying to savor in the silence of a post-election morn, when the robins sing, doves coo, and commercial breaks once again are back to glorious things like erectile deficits:
The early bird (voter) gets the worm. Make that the White House.
Another aphorism from 2012: A robocall gathers no votes.
And another: What do you get when you combine the propaganda/spending power of Fox News, the Koch brothers and Karl Rove’s Death Star Super PAC? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
But, first: early voting.
How many Republican office holders devoted how many man hours to figuring out ways to limit voter turnout this year? From voter I.D. bills to limits on early voting, they put more effort into this matter than putting forth a presidential candidate worth his spot on the ballot.
Guess what? The undeniable march of early voting, inspired by the corruption and collusion of the 2000 debacle, paid off most handsomely for Democrats.
As The Nation’s George Zornick reported on election eve, early voting was an Obama rout in just about every swing state. It meant, for instance, that Mitt Romney needed 59 percent of the walk-in and absentee vote on Election Day to win Nevada, and close to the same in, yes, Florida. These are powerful numbers. In Colorado, for instance, some 70 percent of the voters had already done the deed by mail or early voting. They faced no lines, no voting machines. It is time for all states to emulate this. Voters should insist on it.
As for those who voted this time, MSNBC’s Chris Hays had a brilliant analysis: How could successive national elections have delivered first a rebuke to the Democrats (2010) and then a rebuke to the Republicans? His answer: two different electorates. In the off-year election, angry tea partiers were the key players in the Republican takeover of the House. This time, in a higher-turnout general election, a broader, younger, blacker, browner, more progressive sample arose to re-elect the president and deliver victory after victory to Democrats.
If Tuesday it was “up with people (and down with Super PACs),” it was “up yours” to robots. If 2012 showed the power of early voting, it demonstrated the fecklessness of robocalls, surely one of the most mystifying and counterproductive inventions of modern times.
Residing in one of the key swing states, I got an average of five Republican robocalls a day. It was amazing, and galling — possibly the most pestilent intrusion in the history of telecommunications. Captured on our exhausted answering machine, each robo call was like having Sean Hannity commandeer the sofa, nosing his way into the candy corn dish, then talking politics with his mouth full.
We cannot let this election pass without observing a few campaign moments:
Most compelling appeal: Colin Powell endorsing Obama.
Least compelling appeal: John Sununu explaining Powell’s words as, you know, those negroid types gotta stick together.
Most effective yard signs: “Dope.” “Nope.” “Fire Obama.” What do I mean by effective, you ask? They were the most effective means of getting undecideds to vote FOR Obama.
Add ceaseless, buzzer-to-buzzer jeremiads calling Obama a socialist, a communist, a Nazi, a nation destroyer. The president owes these critics gratitude for making him seem all the more reasonable, rational and re-electable. Obama owes a particular shout-out in this category to Donald Trump.
What will they say now? How insistent will they be for his papers, his college grades, and for us to know that “Hussein” is his middle name?
Not so insistent this morning, now that the early bird has spoken.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.