I’m sure you’ve heard it said over and over again in one form or another. The constant and repeated cries about the significance of this election, that it will shape our country for the next four years and beyond, that our vote will have a lasting legacy on our kids and our grandkids.
“This is the most important election of our lifetime and I ask you to vote for love of country this Tuesday” Mitt Romney recently wrote on his Facebook page. For his part, President Obama has made similar declarations in his own commercials, alluding to the magnitude of each and every vote by referencing the 537 vote margin which gave George W. Bush the victory in Florida in 2000 and thereby the Presidency of the United States of America.
A local talk radio host (@davidsirota) satirically tweeted that “On Tuesday, ‘the most important election of our lifetime’ (2012) will end & ‘the most important election of our lifetime’ (2016) will begin.” How prophetic—no, @davidsirota isn’t predicting the future, he’s speaking the truth. It’s doubtful the rhetoric will ever decrease, especially as the average voter becomes less and less informed and our society continues to place more and more importance on the present, forgetting about all else. Yes, if we forget history we are doomed to repeat it.
To be honest, in the grand scheme of things, are things really going to change that much? I strongly, strongly doubt it—either way. Is Romney really going to overturn Roe vs. Wade? Highly improbable. And what, if Obama gets re-elected he might raise taxes on a tiny sliver of the American populace by like four percent? Congress really has far more influence in legislation—yet even there things are so deadlocked not much will really change. Change is the most overused word in politics.
That being said, there is however a smaller and smaller segment of the American populace for whom this election will have significant and lasting consequences—the angry, old, white male. The Republican Party has been dominated (even that word doesn’t seem strong enough) by angry, old, white guys. But, there’s a problem; as GOP Senator Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) put it so eloquently, “the demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term” (Washington Post 8/29/12).
Here’s the thing, he’s right. Demographics indicate that the grip white men have had on the political realm in the U.S. in quickly slipping away. Think about just how many angry white guys are going to die in the next four years—and worse, they’re not being replaced. The percentage of the population growth among whites is miniscule compared to growth in minority groups. Some predict that by 2050, white Americans will be outnumbered by minorities. And here’s the kicker—minorities vote Democratic (at least now). Three-quarters of Latino voters and about 90% of African-Americans support Obama. The trends don’t look good even getting away from ethnicity. Of young adults under 30, 33% don’t claim a religion and tend to vote liberal. Oh, and this isn’t official, but the 31,000,000 Facebook likes Obama has versus the 11,000,000 Romney has should tell you something.
This is the last we will see of the Republican Party—or at least the Republican Party of the angry, old, white guy. For them this is the most important election of their lifetime, because either they’ll be dead by the next one or a good number of their buddies will be. Considering the amount of money they have spent supporting Romney, they know this to be true. Forking over that kind of money will come with some serious kick-backs if Romney wins, so don’t be foolish enough to think he’s actually going to do anything for middle-income Americans. Romney represents the big, last, final gasp of old, angry, and often rich white guys’ chance to control this country. Yes, it is the most important election of their lifetime.