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What We Learned from the Election

Introduced: November 08 2012

Right now, while it's fresh in your mind, what conclusions do you have about the election? Why did the people who won win?Did anything surprise you? And what do we need to do going forward?

We initially thought you'd be ready to leave all election thoughts behind, but we heard from some members who want to find out what people think. Choose your question: What do you think about the red and blue  map? The impact of all the big donations and TV spending? The strategies of each party? The errors possibly made by each candidate? The issues that obviously mattered most to voters? The impact of the debates? The impact of demographics? Amid all the post-election buzz, what's your main take-away?

As this poster from the National Women's Law Center illustrates, "When Women Vote, Leaders Listen."

Read comments on this and other lessons learned in the 2012 election.

Dialogue on What We Learned from the Election
321:

The election taught us that women are gaining influence.

 

Note from IWD: IWD members have commented previously on some of the obstacles women face in U.S. politics and deliberated on whether women are treated differently than men when they are running for office. If you believe women deserve more of a role in our government than they’ve had up until now, the results of the election offer some hope. Here are some of the “firsts” for women in the 2012 election:

  • 20 Senators are women (most ever).
  • 76 members of the House of Representatives are women.
  • Hawaii elected the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Senate.
  • Hawaii also elected a woman who is the first Hindu to serve in Congress.
  • Massachusetts elected its first female Senator.
  • North Dakota elected its first female Senator.
  • Wisconsin elected its first female Senator; she is also the first openly gay person to serve in the Senate.
  • New Hampshire became the first state ever to have women in all of its top elected positions—a female governor, two female U.S. senators, and two women in the House.
107:

I thought one of the strangest debates was about whether single women vote for a candidate they see as a husband substitute (as in a government that provides them with financial security). I think Ann Coulter started this debate in a Fox News interview. Why is it that women feel so free to demean one another?

 

Note from IWD: IWD did a little research on what is behind single women tending to be more liberal than their married counterparts. One theory is that when a woman is married and then divorced or widowed, she returns to a more liberal outlooks because she spends more time with female friends and is exposed to a broader range of political opinions. Another theory is that economic circumstances and realities are different for single women; for example, they may have a more vested interest in equal pay for equal work.

299:

People my age proved they aren’t afraid to get involved. I’m in college, and not all of my friends were involved in the election or really cared about it – but some of my friends and I cared a lot. We worked for Governor Romney – and we were disappointed when he lost. When you spend time working on a campaign with other people who want the same candidate, you get to believing your side will win. By the time the next Presidential election comes, I’ll be out working. Maybe that will change my views, but I think I pretty much know what I believe in.

149:

As a moderate Republican, I would like to see the Republican party become more moderate and I hope that is the message members of the party who aren't uber-conservative will take away from the election. There's a vast amount of room for negotiation and compromise between Obama's most liberal advocates and, say, someone like Grover Norquist -- and I hope rational people can find middle ground. I know many people think the New York Times has a liberal slant, but I found this opinion piece on Norquist quite interesting. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/opinion/bruni-is-grover-norquists-hold-on-congress-finally-over.html

076:

The election taught us that big money can’t buy elections. Unfortunately, that may encourage people to view the involvement of PACs as benign.

 

Note from IWD: Did Super-PACS influence the election? Independent groups supporting Governor Romney spent more than $700 million -- 70 percent of all of the reported independent spending in the 2012 election. The total they spent exceeds the money spend by Obama-supporting outside groups by $260 million. Obama’s actual campaign raised and spent more than Romney’s actual campaign.

224:

I would like to see SuperPACs have limits on their spending because one of the worst consequences of the SuperPACs was the amount of negative advertising. That just creates more animosity and a wider rift between parties. I also think it corrupts the election process to have millionaires in Nevada supporting candidates in New Hampshire.

536:

In the LA Times, David Horsey wrote that Republicans are doomed to be a part of the past and he pointed out that maybe it's because spokespersons like Rush Limbaugh make the party seem anti-science, anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-minority. As someone pointed out in IWD, you can't ignore demographics and expect to win an election.

036:

One thing we learned in the election is that the Republican party has to re-think who it wants to be – and to whom it’s going to appeal. I think it’s interesting that some of the conservatives think they need to become more conservative and are already planning to try to defeat Republicans whom they see as not conservative enough – ie. Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss. Other analysts say that the party needs to take into account that the demographics of the country are changing and maybe the mood of the majority is not embracing Tea Party-type ideology.

060:

I agree with Member 030. Romney had the potential to be a great President...but we'll never know now.

311:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

I agree that Obama’s strategy was better. If you’re cynical, you can say that he manipulated groups who are increasing their influence. If you’re more idealistic, you can say that he understands what it means to be in a minority and has more empathy for others in that situation.

228:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

I think we should give a little more credit to single women who voted for Obama. I don’t think they were just swayed by hype about the “war on women.” If they support themselves financially, hold jobs, own homes, pay mortgages, they may have more independent views.

137:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

You made some very good points, but as a big Chris Christie fan, I think it is a mistake to blame the Obama-Chris Christie moment on media hype. I’d like to think that there are some things bigger than politics and, to his credit, Chris Christie cared more about what was happening in his state than he did about photo ops and whose side it might look like he was on. Whether it benefitted Obama or not, I think Hurrican Sandy reminded people that we are “all in this together." If the media focused on it, I think it was because it was a genuinely positive moment in a generally negative period of our history.

030:

Looking back - it seems so clear that whoever "handled" Romney campaign was naive and unrealistic.

 

Look at the colors of the map on the front page of the Wall Street Journal Nov. 8. It is obvious where the focus for victory should have been - and WAS for Obama. "It's the Demographics Stupid." Just look at the Blue concentrations in Metropolitan areas now inhabited by minorities who voted in 90% blocks, union workers who vote as a unit, hispanic migration through the states can be seen as clear as a road map with blue highways, the concentration of auto industry population who only heard bankruptcy and not restructure..a part of the plan. Demographics won the day. The 47% was correct... and add to that young people who got caught up in the rock star jazz (why travel with Springsteen?), single women who bought into the "war on women" and then the mainstream media who refused to cover Libyan crisis lies and went all in for a photo-op after Sandy (when the problems remained after he left for Vegas). Romney really never had a chance to have his intelligent, factual message delivered fairly. Remove the right wing Tea Party agenda and the primary battles with prolonged negative debates, and a President with such a dismal record would not have been given four more years to continue his agenda.

 

One more thing, Rubio as Vice President would have made the difference with Hispanics and immigration, and also the young -- and, therefore, the election. Main take- away...the country lost a chance for a top flight leader when it needed him most. The Republican Party leadership should be fired...like Clint said of Obama...when they don't do the job they were hired to do.

322:

What I learned is the power of denial in the Republican Party! And, I am mad at myself for becoming so anxious that I stopped believing in the American people's ability to sort fact from fiction, in a sea of wild accusations, etc. A friend called the outcome the Audacity of Democracy which sums it up well, in my opinion.

Now, will the Congress and the President please work together! maybe even venture into the dark woods of compromise...

321:

The election taught us that women are gaining influence.

 

Note from IWD: IWD members have commented previously on some of the obstacles women face in U.S. politics and deliberated on whether women are treated differently than men when they are running for office. If you believe women deserve more of a role in our government than they’ve had up until now, the results of the election offer some hope. Here are some of the “firsts” for women in the 2012 election:

  • 20 Senators are women (most ever).
  • 76 members of the House of Representatives are women.
  • Hawaii elected the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Senate.
  • Hawaii also elected a woman who is the first Hindu to serve in Congress.
  • Massachusetts elected its first female Senator.
  • North Dakota elected its first female Senator.
  • Wisconsin elected its first female Senator; she is also the first openly gay person to serve in the Senate.
  • New Hampshire became the first state ever to have women in all of its top elected positions—a female governor, two female U.S. senators, and two women in the House.
107:

I thought one of the strangest debates was about whether single women vote for a candidate they see as a husband substitute (as in a government that provides them with financial security). I think Ann Coulter started this debate in a Fox News interview. Why is it that women feel so free to demean one another?

 

Note from IWD: IWD did a little research on what is behind single women tending to be more liberal than their married counterparts. One theory is that when a woman is married and then divorced or widowed, she returns to a more liberal outlooks because she spends more time with female friends and is exposed to a broader range of political opinions. Another theory is that economic circumstances and realities are different for single women; for example, they may have a more vested interest in equal pay for equal work.

299:

People my age proved they aren’t afraid to get involved. I’m in college, and not all of my friends were involved in the election or really cared about it – but some of my friends and I cared a lot. We worked for Governor Romney – and we were disappointed when he lost. When you spend time working on a campaign with other people who want the same candidate, you get to believing your side will win. By the time the next Presidential election comes, I’ll be out working. Maybe that will change my views, but I think I pretty much know what I believe in.

149:

As a moderate Republican, I would like to see the Republican party become more moderate and I hope that is the message members of the party who aren't uber-conservative will take away from the election. There's a vast amount of room for negotiation and compromise between Obama's most liberal advocates and, say, someone like Grover Norquist -- and I hope rational people can find middle ground. I know many people think the New York Times has a liberal slant, but I found this opinion piece on Norquist quite interesting. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/opinion/bruni-is-grover-norquists-hold-on-congress-finally-over.html

076:

The election taught us that big money can’t buy elections. Unfortunately, that may encourage people to view the involvement of PACs as benign.

 

Note from IWD: Did Super-PACS influence the election? Independent groups supporting Governor Romney spent more than $700 million -- 70 percent of all of the reported independent spending in the 2012 election. The total they spent exceeds the money spend by Obama-supporting outside groups by $260 million. Obama’s actual campaign raised and spent more than Romney’s actual campaign.

224:

I would like to see SuperPACs have limits on their spending because one of the worst consequences of the SuperPACs was the amount of negative advertising. That just creates more animosity and a wider rift between parties. I also think it corrupts the election process to have millionaires in Nevada supporting candidates in New Hampshire.

536:

In the LA Times, David Horsey wrote that Republicans are doomed to be a part of the past and he pointed out that maybe it's because spokespersons like Rush Limbaugh make the party seem anti-science, anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-minority. As someone pointed out in IWD, you can't ignore demographics and expect to win an election.

036:

One thing we learned in the election is that the Republican party has to re-think who it wants to be – and to whom it’s going to appeal. I think it’s interesting that some of the conservatives think they need to become more conservative and are already planning to try to defeat Republicans whom they see as not conservative enough – ie. Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss. Other analysts say that the party needs to take into account that the demographics of the country are changing and maybe the mood of the majority is not embracing Tea Party-type ideology.

060:

I agree with Member 030. Romney had the potential to be a great President...but we'll never know now.

311:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

I agree that Obama’s strategy was better. If you’re cynical, you can say that he manipulated groups who are increasing their influence. If you’re more idealistic, you can say that he understands what it means to be in a minority and has more empathy for others in that situation.

228:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

I think we should give a little more credit to single women who voted for Obama. I don’t think they were just swayed by hype about the “war on women.” If they support themselves financially, hold jobs, own homes, pay mortgages, they may have more independent views.

137:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

You made some very good points, but as a big Chris Christie fan, I think it is a mistake to blame the Obama-Chris Christie moment on media hype. I’d like to think that there are some things bigger than politics and, to his credit, Chris Christie cared more about what was happening in his state than he did about photo ops and whose side it might look like he was on. Whether it benefitted Obama or not, I think Hurrican Sandy reminded people that we are “all in this together." If the media focused on it, I think it was because it was a genuinely positive moment in a generally negative period of our history.

030:

Looking back - it seems so clear that whoever "handled" Romney campaign was naive and unrealistic.

 

Look at the colors of the map on the front page of the Wall Street Journal Nov. 8. It is obvious where the focus for victory should have been - and WAS for Obama. "It's the Demographics Stupid." Just look at the Blue concentrations in Metropolitan areas now inhabited by minorities who voted in 90% blocks, union workers who vote as a unit, hispanic migration through the states can be seen as clear as a road map with blue highways, the concentration of auto industry population who only heard bankruptcy and not restructure..a part of the plan. Demographics won the day. The 47% was correct... and add to that young people who got caught up in the rock star jazz (why travel with Springsteen?), single women who bought into the "war on women" and then the mainstream media who refused to cover Libyan crisis lies and went all in for a photo-op after Sandy (when the problems remained after he left for Vegas). Romney really never had a chance to have his intelligent, factual message delivered fairly. Remove the right wing Tea Party agenda and the primary battles with prolonged negative debates, and a President with such a dismal record would not have been given four more years to continue his agenda.

 

One more thing, Rubio as Vice President would have made the difference with Hispanics and immigration, and also the young -- and, therefore, the election. Main take- away...the country lost a chance for a top flight leader when it needed him most. The Republican Party leadership should be fired...like Clint said of Obama...when they don't do the job they were hired to do.

322:

What I learned is the power of denial in the Republican Party! And, I am mad at myself for becoming so anxious that I stopped believing in the American people's ability to sort fact from fiction, in a sea of wild accusations, etc. A friend called the outcome the Audacity of Democracy which sums it up well, in my opinion.

Now, will the Congress and the President please work together! maybe even venture into the dark woods of compromise...

322:

What I learned is the power of denial in the Republican Party! And, I am mad at myself for becoming so anxious that I stopped believing in the American people's ability to sort fact from fiction, in a sea of wild accusations, etc. A friend called the outcome the Audacity of Democracy which sums it up well, in my opinion.

Now, will the Congress and the President please work together! maybe even venture into the dark woods of compromise...

030:

Looking back - it seems so clear that whoever "handled" Romney campaign was naive and unrealistic.

 

Look at the colors of the map on the front page of the Wall Street Journal Nov. 8. It is obvious where the focus for victory should have been - and WAS for Obama. "It's the Demographics Stupid." Just look at the Blue concentrations in Metropolitan areas now inhabited by minorities who voted in 90% blocks, union workers who vote as a unit, hispanic migration through the states can be seen as clear as a road map with blue highways, the concentration of auto industry population who only heard bankruptcy and not restructure..a part of the plan. Demographics won the day. The 47% was correct... and add to that young people who got caught up in the rock star jazz (why travel with Springsteen?), single women who bought into the "war on women" and then the mainstream media who refused to cover Libyan crisis lies and went all in for a photo-op after Sandy (when the problems remained after he left for Vegas). Romney really never had a chance to have his intelligent, factual message delivered fairly. Remove the right wing Tea Party agenda and the primary battles with prolonged negative debates, and a President with such a dismal record would not have been given four more years to continue his agenda.

 

One more thing, Rubio as Vice President would have made the difference with Hispanics and immigration, and also the young -- and, therefore, the election. Main take- away...the country lost a chance for a top flight leader when it needed him most. The Republican Party leadership should be fired...like Clint said of Obama...when they don't do the job they were hired to do.

137:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

You made some very good points, but as a big Chris Christie fan, I think it is a mistake to blame the Obama-Chris Christie moment on media hype. I’d like to think that there are some things bigger than politics and, to his credit, Chris Christie cared more about what was happening in his state than he did about photo ops and whose side it might look like he was on. Whether it benefitted Obama or not, I think Hurrican Sandy reminded people that we are “all in this together." If the media focused on it, I think it was because it was a genuinely positive moment in a generally negative period of our history.

228:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

I think we should give a little more credit to single women who voted for Obama. I don’t think they were just swayed by hype about the “war on women.” If they support themselves financially, hold jobs, own homes, pay mortgages, they may have more independent views.

311:

(Response to Member 030 comment, posted November 30)

I agree that Obama’s strategy was better. If you’re cynical, you can say that he manipulated groups who are increasing their influence. If you’re more idealistic, you can say that he understands what it means to be in a minority and has more empathy for others in that situation.

060:

I agree with Member 030. Romney had the potential to be a great President...but we'll never know now.

036:

One thing we learned in the election is that the Republican party has to re-think who it wants to be – and to whom it’s going to appeal. I think it’s interesting that some of the conservatives think they need to become more conservative and are already planning to try to defeat Republicans whom they see as not conservative enough – ie. Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss. Other analysts say that the party needs to take into account that the demographics of the country are changing and maybe the mood of the majority is not embracing Tea Party-type ideology.

536:

In the LA Times, David Horsey wrote that Republicans are doomed to be a part of the past and he pointed out that maybe it's because spokespersons like Rush Limbaugh make the party seem anti-science, anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-minority. As someone pointed out in IWD, you can't ignore demographics and expect to win an election.

224:

I would like to see SuperPACs have limits on their spending because one of the worst consequences of the SuperPACs was the amount of negative advertising. That just creates more animosity and a wider rift between parties. I also think it corrupts the election process to have millionaires in Nevada supporting candidates in New Hampshire.

076:

The election taught us that big money can’t buy elections. Unfortunately, that may encourage people to view the involvement of PACs as benign.

 

Note from IWD: Did Super-PACS influence the election? Independent groups supporting Governor Romney spent more than $700 million -- 70 percent of all of the reported independent spending in the 2012 election. The total they spent exceeds the money spend by Obama-supporting outside groups by $260 million. Obama’s actual campaign raised and spent more than Romney’s actual campaign.

149:

As a moderate Republican, I would like to see the Republican party become more moderate and I hope that is the message members of the party who aren't uber-conservative will take away from the election. There's a vast amount of room for negotiation and compromise between Obama's most liberal advocates and, say, someone like Grover Norquist -- and I hope rational people can find middle ground. I know many people think the New York Times has a liberal slant, but I found this opinion piece on Norquist quite interesting. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/opinion/bruni-is-grover-norquists-hold-on-congress-finally-over.html

299:

People my age proved they aren’t afraid to get involved. I’m in college, and not all of my friends were involved in the election or really cared about it – but some of my friends and I cared a lot. We worked for Governor Romney – and we were disappointed when he lost. When you spend time working on a campaign with other people who want the same candidate, you get to believing your side will win. By the time the next Presidential election comes, I’ll be out working. Maybe that will change my views, but I think I pretty much know what I believe in.

107:

I thought one of the strangest debates was about whether single women vote for a candidate they see as a husband substitute (as in a government that provides them with financial security). I think Ann Coulter started this debate in a Fox News interview. Why is it that women feel so free to demean one another?

 

Note from IWD: IWD did a little research on what is behind single women tending to be more liberal than their married counterparts. One theory is that when a woman is married and then divorced or widowed, she returns to a more liberal outlooks because she spends more time with female friends and is exposed to a broader range of political opinions. Another theory is that economic circumstances and realities are different for single women; for example, they may have a more vested interest in equal pay for equal work.

321:

The election taught us that women are gaining influence.

 

Note from IWD: IWD members have commented previously on some of the obstacles women face in U.S. politics and deliberated on whether women are treated differently than men when they are running for office. If you believe women deserve more of a role in our government than they’ve had up until now, the results of the election offer some hope. Here are some of the “firsts” for women in the 2012 election:

  • 20 Senators are women (most ever).
  • 76 members of the House of Representatives are women.
  • Hawaii elected the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Senate.
  • Hawaii also elected a woman who is the first Hindu to serve in Congress.
  • Massachusetts elected its first female Senator.
  • North Dakota elected its first female Senator.
  • Wisconsin elected its first female Senator; she is also the first openly gay person to serve in the Senate.
  • New Hampshire became the first state ever to have women in all of its top elected positions—a female governor, two female U.S. senators, and two women in the House.

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