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Something died on Election Day

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Smart v. Stupid

Something died on Election Day

  • Smithsonian Institution

There was much to celebrate on election night. But nothing is more worthy of our collective huzzah than the implosion of so many dumb Republican ideas, all at once. Let’s begin...

The Southern Strategy

Republican operatives have used some form of the race-dividing Southern Strategy since Barry Goldwater’s team invented it in the 1960s. That’s nearly 50 years of race baiting aimed at under-educated, white rednecks. The Southern Strategy tapped into the ludicrous belief that black people are dumber, lazier and more venal than white men. It helped secure victories for Nixon, Reagan, and George Bush Sr. by fomenting the view that white people needed to band together to keep black people from stealing the national cookie jar.

But it fell entirely flat this time. Apparently, you can call the President a Muslim-Socialist-Kenyan-Anti-colonial-Black-Nationalist-Terrorist-food-stamp-lover who worships at the feet of his Southern Baptist, Anarchist Pastor. But you can no longer expect to be taken seriously by a large proportion of voters when you do.

You’ll never see the Southern Strategy practiced again. Good riddance to this maggot-laced pile of rubbish, we say.

That Karl Rove is a genius

Now – for the second presidential election – Karl Rove’s strategies and predictions have been disproven in spectacular fashion. His American Crossroads spent a mammoth $100 million in rich guy’s money to try to buy national and local elections. End result? 1.29 percent of the millions Rove spent through Crossroads had the desired result. Arguably, his spending had a negative effect.

There was also a sweaty, late-night meltdown on Fox News, just at the moment they called the race for Obama. Just then, a wild-haired Rove realized his abject failure – on camera no less.

If he wasn’t such a despicable charlatan, one could almost feel sorry for him. But two days later he blamed his losses on “voter suppression by the Obama campaign.”

That Americans want a government which provides no actual services to actual citizens

Bubble conservatives believe that Americans don’t want the government to help anyone. On every issue from Obamacare, to Medicaid, to Medicare to disaster relief, Americans told exit pollsters just the opposite – and said so in large margins. Fully sixty percent of voters want taxes raised on at least the top earners to pay for government. (Only about 2 percent of households earn $250,000 or more.)

That Donald Trump can be taken seriously on any topic

On election night, a seditious Donald Trump tweeted that the Obama victory was illegitimate and that real Americans needed to revolt. Combined with his birther jihad, what he illuminated is a small, pernicious, and simple-minded man – the kind who might insist that all of his employees call him “Mr.”

Trump is best left to host his Celebrity Apprentice show (which itself looks more and more like Celebrity Rehab these days.) Anything bigger is beyond his abilities.

That conservatives simply need to be more conservative

The far right always blames their governing failures on not being conservative enough. But with the rise of the Teabagger came attempts to redefine rape into legitimate and illegitimate kinds. Then attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and limit birth control. Then talk of electrocuting border crossers and outright lies about food stamps, black people and Jeep. It would be hard to argue that the right wing didn’t go far enough to the right.

They went all in this time, and most of us responded with a thoughtful, “Not on your life, buddy.”

So now those right-wing pundits operating in and around the Fox-Limbaugh bubble argue that the election “wasn’t a mandate.” But those who still won’t call for a less radical Republican platform or still won’t admit that Americans no longer tolerate intolerance or intransigence don’t have the interests of the Republican Party in mind. They’re just trying to protect their own turf.

They are trying to keep that low-information white guy flapping on the outrage hook. And that’s just to keep the advertisers on their shows.

Jimmy Zuma splits his time between Washington, D.C. and Tucson. He writes the online opinion journal, Smart v. Stupid. He spent 5 years in Tucson in the early ‘80s, when life was a little slower, swamp coolers were a little more plentiful, Tucson’s legendary music scene was in full bloom, and the prevailing work ethic was “don’t - unless you have to.”

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