Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Obligatory election commentary

Excellent photo by Justin Sullivan

OK. My all-purpose Reckon on the election.

Overall result: generally good. Obama's electoral college numbers higher than I predicted, even though I erred on the side of optimism. I was surprised Wisconsin went Democrat - Republican V-P candidate Ryan is from there, and Scott Walker survived a recall vote after he smashed the unions, so I thought it would trend rightwards.

Also pleased that the various rape-friendly republicans (Akin, Mourdock etc) lost, and that more women, a lesbian and an Asian-American were elected. Bernie Sanders, who sometimes calls himself a socialist, won by 71% to 25% in Vermont. The Senate is up to 19 women… of 100 seats. Not exactly a revolution. Sadly Michele Bachmann, who claimed the Founding Fathers abolished slavery (clue: they all owned slaves) amongst other idiocies, was re-elected by 3000 votes.

Obama's weak version of healthcare survives, and he'll probably get to pick one or two Supreme Court judges. In a constitutionally-based political economy, this is in some ways as important as winning an election.

And now for the backlash: I'm getting mine in early.

Keeping Romney out was probably a good thing: he's a naked hyper-capitalist who would have tried to strip government down to total military dominance of the globe and little else. But that's about it. Obama is a symbolic candidate - in terms of identity politics, he makes the US look progressive. Perhaps some black kids will be inspired to follow a political path. But in political terms, he's a no-change conservative. He wants more black, gay, poor and female faces in the corridors of power, which is a good thing. But he wants this wider pool of people to carry on doing the same things, principally maintain a capitalist model which has manifestly failed the world's citizens (and not simply over the past 5 years), he wants to ignore the looming disaster of climate change, and he wants the American Hegemon to extend its global domination. Poor people around the world will continue to be paid less for making more consumer good for people like us. Pakistani weddings will still be illegally bombed by drones. Bond markets and hedge funds will continue to avoid tax, subvert sound economics and be bailed out by taxpayers. Americans will continue to drive gas-guzzlers, suck in oil-shale, run the A/C and shoot each other in massive numbers. Israel will continue to run open-air concentration camps for Palestinians.

Still, we'll all feel better knowing that presiding over all this is someone young and cool. I'm genuinely pleased that nasty old racists like Bill O'Reilly, homophobes and rape apologists are pissed off. But when we all go home, the US and hence the world will still be run by and for a tiny clique of obscenely rich people for their own benefit. Some of them may not fit the WASP demographic, but they're still quite literally in a class of their own.

Another of my favourite moments from the campaign. A real Freudian slip

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