First, the election was a clarion demand to end the divisive politics born out of the Southern strategy and fear baiting in politics. It may have seen its last days. The GOP and the Romney campaign threw everything out in the atmosphere, Food Stamp president who doesn’t love or understand Americans, who is going to destroy the America we’ve always known and loved, the Anglo Saxon traditions and who will take your guns because he hates America, well that meme lost and it lost BIG. Interestingly, they still don’t seem to understand how off putting that strategy was, not only for African Americans but many other Americans as well.
Second, Marriage Equality is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia and many people are starting to see it as a Civil Rights issue, as they should. Americans are starting to understand that equal protection under the law, means just that and that discriminating against the Constitutional rights of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is quite simply, offensive. Fifty three percent of Americans support marriage equality according to recent polls.
Third, women are voting FOR our own interests and young women are voting to preserve the strides made by their mothers and grandmothers. Initially, I was terrified because I spoke to so many young women and they didn’t seem passionate about losing the right to make their own health care choices. Many seemed so cavalier, nearly apathetic about the idea of buying contraceptives in Mexico or not at all and not being able to make proactive choices about family planning. Fifty five percent of women overall voted for President Obama, but young women, single women came out in big numbers and voted for the positions and candidates who support women’s issues of health, pay equity, and overall fairness. This is a very good trend and speaks to women feeling and acting empowered. But so much more needs to be done. Just this week the House of Representatives did not renew the Violence Against Women Act.
Fourth, there were voter suppression tactics used in more than 20 states to attempt to curb minority voter numbers. However, a new study from the Pew Research Center suggests that the 2012 presidential election marks the first time in history where African-Americans were voting at a higher rate than their white peers. Voter suppression seems to have energized minority voters.
Fifth, and my favorite, Sean Hannity’s ratings have plummeted since Barack Obama’s second victory. Nielsen ratings show that Hannity’s audience is leaving in droves; approximately half in the weeks after the election with Rachel Maddow still leading the Fox host. Right-wing talk radio may have worn out its welcome, too. A recent Arbitron report shows Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity—the biggest conservative talkers—stuck in a ratings slump that started back in November, right after the 2010 midterm elections. And significantly, in a month where all three cable networks had ratings declines, no one did as badly as CNN. The network lost 52% of their total viewers with their drastic swing to the right.
So yes, these are all indicators of a shift, let’s just hope it continues to include major changes in education, climate change, the prison system, immigration reform, and gun control.