Many folks have described the 2012 Election as “the most important in decades.” Well, that could be but not in the ways or for the reasons that most people describe.
“Thank goodness the 2012 Election is over!” I’ve heard and seen that sigh of relief more than once the last couple weeks. No disagreement on that score,here. Now it would seem relevant to look at what the election accomplished before the cries of “2016!” start rising across the landscape. In some places they already have. All I can say is “OMG! Not again, not this soon!” Maybe, we should spend some time looking to see what we gained from the elections just passed before moving immediately to promote the next one.
Many touted 2012 as the “most important in decades.” That was doubtful from the outset. Historically, the most important elections of the past were those that were granted little notice at the time. I don’t believe that 2012 will be seen by historians of the future as anymore than a continuing downward spiral that started in the late 1990s. That’s primarily because we’ve had so little real choice in so many elections and this one was not that much different. Big play was given to little substantive difference. In most parts where it really counted, the parties we’re simply not that far apart, whether the voters realized it or not. The election of Romney over Obama would have made little difference to the course of fiscal and financial events as described and analyzed here.
Let’s first look at it by the numbers. The biggest numbers that jumped out involved how much was spent vs how much was gained for that spending. A record $6 billion was spent (double that of 2008) on the 2012 election campaigns! $2.5 billion of that was spent in the Presidential election alone; the rest on federal, state and local candidate campaigns and issues.
That record spending yielded a net loss in voters voting. Twelve million fewer votes were cast, overall, in 2012 than in the 2008 election. In the Presidential election 5.5 million fewer votes were cast than in 2008. That undervote is a rather odd phenomena, for one. .
However, when one reconciles the total real numbers, the resultant voting deficit becomes nothing short of an astounding failure and a referendum on the 2- Party system. There were a net 12 million fewer votes overall across the states than in 2008. At the same time, in that four-year span, the eligible voting population grewabout the same; 12 million. That leaves a gap of about 24 million more people that didn’t participate in the 2012 election! Six states had record-low turnout from voters.
According to 2010 census figures there should be about 240 million voting-age (eligible) citizens in the US. Of those, about 160+ million are registered to vote. About 20 million cannot vote for a variety of reasons in any given election (elderly, in prison, mental incapacity, can’t find their butt with both hands, etc.). That means the election outcomes were decided by a little over 1 out of 4 eligible voters. Nearly half either didn’t bother to register or were registered and didn’t vote! It also means that each of those votes for president cost $20 to obtain.
Neither the US House nor the Senate changed hands. The Republicans lost a small number of seats in each and, of course, Obama, retained the White House. Even though the Electoral College math looks hugely favorable to Obama, his popular vote margin was pretty small. So he really gains nothing of a “mandate,” his claims to the contrary notwithstanding. For all that spending, not much was gained or lost, the status quo was maintained.
However, let’s assume for a moment that a couple million votes and the electoral math swung the other way and Romney won the White House. Would that have made much difference? No. The Dems would’ve still retained the Senate and the Repubs the House. In the same way the Repubs have blocked and stalled the worst of what the Dems have tried to do since 2010, the Dems in the Senate would do the same if the Repubs had won the White House. So what was there to be gained from all this foofoorah? Not much. $6 billion down the tubers and no fixes. Talk about bad investments!
The only positive thing about the election is perhaps the fact that Karl Rove’s political career is about finished. The investors of $400 million in his Crossroads/GPS PACs basically got nothing for thier money as none of the candidates they helped won. Too bad the Mob didn’t put more money into elections. If they did, Rove would probably be wearing cement overshoes by now.
If 2012 delivered more of the status quo, what was the turning point in the election? Basically, it was the last point where a hard change in direction could’ve enabled the avoidance of the worst features of the enlarging monetary, fiscal and economic crises unfolding the rest of the decade. The status quo nature of the election has now precluded the necessary changes coming in time. We are in for a very rough ride the rest of the decade.
There will be no budget deal that cuts enough hard dollars out of the federal budget to make a whit’s worth of difference to the real deficit; unfunded liabilities. Those deficits are now accruing at a rate of $11 trillion/year. There is no Plan that reduces the existing debt or even substantially alters the deficit path once higher interest rates kick-in. Government Revenue will continue to fall across the board as the economy drives further into recession to depression and the final phases of the “Grand Correction.” There will be no reform or full audit of the Federal Reserve, so we’ll move on to Quantitative Easing to Infinity (QEI).
Obama will move to ramp the same Wars that Romney would, with only slightly different flavors. Bankruptcy via the warfare/welfare state will proceed apace under a President Romney or Obama. The end outcome will not be very different, only the speed with which the catastrophe comes.
Most Americans remain completely asleep if not comatose. That is the real turning point of the 2012 Election. No ability to turn back, or left or right, as we finish accelerating off the cliff like Thelma and Louise. Or, maybe the growing phalanx of non-voters are right, at this point; there is no valid reason for voting for either the Republicans or the Democrats.