I've been meaning to do an election post, but hadn't gotten to it. I was never all that political, but there's something about being overloaded with election crap for months and months that just makes me want to beat every political talking head with campaign signs until they go into a coma. Anyway, here are a few brief thoughts:
First of all, after hearing about how close the election might be, I decided I wasn't going to waste any energy or emotion on the TV idiots like I did in 2000. Instead, on election night, Mrs. Yid and I had a quiet dinner and then watched a silly horror movie, deliberately not checking any news until it was over. (Partially this was out of principle, partially because I find it incredibly irritating to watch newspeople killing time while they pretend they have new information when they damned well know they don't.)
As it turns out, the right overestimated how fed up/scared/brainwashed the American people are (and I have been listening to the conservative radio station in the car for the last two weeks as they spin and spin it, trying to explain how a majority of Americans-- slim, but still a majority-- could possibly disagree with them). The triumphalist Jewish Republican pundits also apparently also drank the pre-election kool-aid: counter to Abraham Katsman's optimistic claim that Romney would get over 30% of the Jewish vote, he actually stalled out right around 30%, giving Obama 70%. It's true that these are lower numbers than Obama got last time (74-78%), but it's hard to tell how much of that is due to issues with Obama vs. the Democratic party itself (and considering that Katsman was predicting Obama not clearing 60%, still nothing to sneeze at). It is possible that we are seeing the seeds of a gradual Jewish drift to the right, but if that is happening, it's either happening extremely slowly or in such small numbers as to not matter. I do think that eventually there will be less of a reflexive/automatic Jewish attachment to liberal politics, which on a philosophical level is probably a good thing, but I don't see it going past 40% to the Republicans anytime soon, if ever. The reality is that most Jews are liberal, and that even ones who may lean fiscally or socially conservative are not crazy enough for the hard-right conservatives running that wing of the party these days (though if the party decides to disassociate itself from the culture nuts, that may have some ripple effects). One last gloat: Katsman, I told you American Jews don't decide their vote based on Israel. (Nor should they, IMO.)
I recently saw a documentary about the polarization of US politics, and so though I'm happy my candidate won, it's really got me thinking about what's best for the country on a national level. Though I definitely have liberal pet causes, I also genuinely believe that the country is better off when governed through some sort of centrist consensus, particularly in the Legislature. The reality is that while you have crazies in both parties (and legitimate issues with both parties, as well as their media proxies), I still believe that a majority of the country is reasonable and relatively sane. Now that the dust has settled, I'm hoping that some sense will start permeating into Congress and lead to some genuine bipartisan action to fix some of the real issues we're all dealing with, rather than everybody double-downing on the rhetoric and ideology to appeal to their fringes.