Photo: Steve Cobble
The GreatestBy Steve Cobble
I’ll Ever See
Progressive Democrats of America
*A relevant Barack Obama quote: “Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.”
(1) This was a once-in-a-lifetime election.
*Barack Obama won a smashing victory, in historical terms. His 53% is one of the third highest percentage any Democrat has ever won (counting FDR as one Democrat, since he went over 53% all 4 times; LBJ was the only other Democrat to do so).
*Obama’s vote percentage is about the same as Bush ’88, and higher than Reagan in 1980, W, Carter, Kennedy, Truman, Clinton (twice), “Gore” and Nixon ’68.
*Obama’s 66 million votes (and counting) is a record for the most ever.
Type rest of the post here*The turnout this year is also the highest ever, more than 125 million.
*Obama’s 365 electoral votes is a landslide, in the same range as both Clinton races, and higher than Truman, JFK, Nixon, Carter, “Gore” & W.
*Obama’s victory margin is now over 8 million votes (compared to W’s 2.5 M “mandate” in 2004). His victory margin percentage-wise is higher than Clinton ’92, Truman, W, Carter, Nixon ’68, JFK & “Gore”.
*The Republicans claimed a right-wing revolution in 1980, when Reagan won with only 44 million votes—Obama right now has 50% more than that.
*The entire voter turnout in 1960 was only a little over half of this year’s voter turnout—that’s how much the country has grown since then.
*The Democrats big win in both the House & Senate in ’06 & in ‘08, two cycles in a row, marks the biggest back-to-back Democratic wins since the Great Depression; this was almost literally a once-in-a-lifetime election, even without considering the historic victory of an African-American!
(2) The 2008 vote is potentially a long-term, center-left realigning election.
*Young voters went more than 2-to-1 for Obama, their organizing was superb, and their turnout, especially in battleground states, was excellent. In fact, if only people 30 and over had voted, McCain might have won.
*Obama lost among those who claimed to have voted in 2004. He won with a big margin among those who had not voted in 2004—newly-registered voters, young voters, and lapsed voters coming back into the polling booths.
*White voters went for McCain (though the White gender gap still exists, since White women, especially single women, voted more for Obama than White men).
*African-American voters not only increased their share of the electorate to 13%, they went 19-to-1 for Obama, erasing the White voter gap.
*Obama’s margin of victory was essentially provided by Latino voters, who cast 9% of the votes, with more than a 2-to-1 margin for Obama.
*The Latino vote helped flip 3 Southwestern states, New Mexico, Nevada & Colorado, from red-to-blue, all by big margins. In addition, Puerto Rican voters in central Florida, along with young Cuban-Americans no longer bound by their hatred of Castro, combined to win the Latino vote with 55% for Democrats, and help win the Sunshine State for Obama, by a big enough margin it couldn’t be stolen again.
*The combination of 2-to-1 margins among both young voters and Latino voters is an extremely positive sign for a center-left realignment. These are the building blocks of any future Democratic coalition, especially in combination with the winning rainbow coalition of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, Jewish & Arab voters, secular voters, union members, gays & lesbians, and single women.
*The “Black/Brown” coalition which provided the victory margin made up over 1/5 of the voters this year. (To update Jesse Jackson’s wonderful phrase, “the hands that picked the cotton, and the hands that picked the lettuce, just picked a new President”!)
*By 2050, it is projected that the Black/Brown piece of the voting electorate will be twice that, in the neighborhood of 45%. The demography of the future should be a source of great worry to the GOP, though perhaps not so much in Wasilla…
*The South/Border states went for McCain by 9%–and since half of all the nation’s African-Americans live in the South, and voted heavily for Obama, this means that much of the White vote in the South was heavy for McCain.
*The rest of the nation — East + Midwest + West — went for Obama by 15%.
(3) Earlier reforms in the system won by progressives set the stage for the “change” election that the Obama campaign ran so brilliantly. The work that progressives did in the past did matter; the work we are doing now will matter to future generations.
[On November 13, 2008, the Institute for Policy Studies provided post-election analysis by some of the nation's leading progressives: Steve Cobble, John Cavanagh, and Bill Fletcher, Jr., moderated by Karen Dolan. This from from part of Cobble's presentation]
Monday, November 24, 2008
Photo: Steve Cobble