Sunday, November 4, 2012

Whatever the Outcome, Election Will Leave Half the Nation Alienated

Yes, but if Romney wins progressives have again vowed riots in the streets.

Be that as it may, here's Ronald Brownstein, at National Journal:
CANTON, Ohio–The first words from Republican state Rep. Christina Hagan when she addressed the huge crowd braving a damp chill for a Mitt Romney rally here last Friday night might have sounded more natural coming from a pulpit than from a campaign podium.

“God is pretty good, isn’t he?” Hagan called out to encouraging applause from the virtually all-white audience of nearly 10,000 sprawled across a high school baseball field. A few moments later, she added, “I am not looking for applause. Nor am I looking for a handout.” With those two pointed remarks, Hagan briskly encouraged her audience to see itself as a community whose shared values are under siege from others—unnamed, but not difficult to picture—who supposedly don’t share them. Earlier that afternoon, about 100 people gathered for an early-vote rally at the Friendly Inn Settlement House, a community center that provides family services to residents of the surrounding Carver Park public-housing project in Cleveland. In this room, almost everyone was African-American—and the sense of siege was powerful here, too.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, actor Jesse Williams, and local elected officials portrayed the election between Romney and President Obama as a critical turning point, particularly for the black community. Speakers denounced Romney’s secretly recorded comments about the “47 percent” as a signal of contempt for the people in the room. “How do you say you want to be president ... when you have disdain for 47 percent of the population?” asked fiery Democratic state Sen. Nina Turner. Anyone touring Ohio, the epicenter of Campaign 2012, is confronted not only with the visceral passion, but the cavernous divisions that this election has provoked. Here, and in all likelihood nationally, Obama and Romney are assembling coalitions that are inimical in their demography and priorities yet almost equal in size. Uniting Americans behind any common purpose after an election that appears certain to divide them that deeply and closely looms as a daunting, perhaps insurmountable, challenge for whichever man wins next week.
More at the link.

And recall that Brownstein's knows whereof he speaks. He's the author of The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America, a very perceptive --- and prescient --- analysis of America's political polarization.