Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Help! Election update needed!

Dear friends,

Help! The third edition of my textbook is coming out in a few weeks and they held the presses just so I could write the final paragraphs on the election.  It's due at noon.  Here's what I've got.  Help me with suggestions!

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The campaign was filled with frustration and anger, reflecting the sullied economy and continued political divides within the nation.  The plague of racism still hung around Obama, as mannequins of him were occasionally lynched in effigy, a vivid reminder of America's racist Jim Crow past.  And Romney was dismissed as a greedy oligarch akin to the robber barons of the early Industrial Age, concerned only with preserving his vast wealth.

On election night, Obama's record of ending the war in Iraq and winding it down in Afghanistan, of locating and killing Osama bin Laden, of preserving the battered American car industry, and, perhaps most importantly, of overseeing several consecutive months of slow economic growth, led him to a relatively easy re-election, winning nearly all the battleground states in nearly every region of the nation.

Perhaps most tellingly, however, was how the changes of the previous 50 years had transformed the electorate, especially the transformations brought about by the 1965 Immigration Act and the increasing recognition of the diversity of the United States.  For instance, a record number of ethnic and racial minorities voted for Obama (making up 45 percent of his total popular vote--a record), while white Americans overwhelming supported Romney (59 percent to 39 percent).  Meanwhile, more than 55 percent of women voted for Obama, while only 47 percent of men did.  Reflecting similar trends, in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate.  Ballot initiatives allowing same-sex marriage passed in Maine, Maryland, and Washington(?), while Minnesota voters rejected a constitutional ban on the practice opening up the possibility that same-sex marriage might be legalized there too.

But the nation remains politically divided.  Obama won only 50 percent of the popular vote to Romney's 48 percent(?), and Republicans maintained control of the House, while Democrats kept the Senate.  But as Obama said in his victory speech, "These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today."  And then he rejected the notion that the nation was as divided as it seems: "I believe we can seize the future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America."

2 comments:

  1. Add a sentence about gender and reproductive rights - in particular, that Senate candidates who supported limits on women's reproductive freedom went down to (surprising) defeat.

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  2. looks good to me. I think Obama mentioning racial diversity, class diversity, and sexual diversity was important too. Perhaps just highlight the "it doesn't matter" bits:

    "I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try."

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