A Small Victory for Enlightened Self-Interest – American Election 2012

I was right, and I was wrong. I predicted President Obama’s re-election in July. But…

I was wrong. The day before the election I predicted he’d get a five percent margin on the popular vote. He didn’t, he only got two percent.

This was an election about Enlightened Self-Interest. Two candidates offered two different visions.

  1. LGBT voters could choose between a candidate that offered them right, and a candidate who would deny them rights.
  2. Woman voters could choose between a candidate that offered them right, and a candidate who would deny them rights.
  3. Immigrant voters could choose between a candidate that offered them right, and a candidate who would deny their families rights.
  4. Poor and Middle Class voters could choose between vapor and vapor.

Agreed, LGBT and Immigrant voters are minorities, but LGBT voters tend to be politically active, and immigrant voters became politically active. Enlightened Self-Interest meant that they had to vote.

Woman voters also showed up to vote, and killed the chances of a couple of the Tea Party members with foot in mouth disease.

As to the poor and the middle class, neither party offered anything for them. This may explain the drop in white voter numbers, there was nothing to choose from between the two candidates. Enlightened Self Interest only works if the candidates offer compelling choices. Neither Obama or Romney did that. If Obama had have, I might have been right on my five percent prediction. If Romney had have, he might have won. Might have. The American Electoral College System could have still put the election in Obama’s court with California’s 55 Electoral College Votes, which would have had Romney imitating Al Gore from the 2000 Election Cycle.

Right now Obama has a solid mandate, far more solid than George W. Bush had in 2000. While he faces a divided legislature, a number of Republicans may be willing to work across the aisle to get things done.

Meanwhile the electorate can breath a sigh of relief. They won’t have to put up with any election ads for another eighteen months.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Thursday November 8, 2012

PS: Poor Kleopatra fell through the ice (yes, we have ice and snow here, and have had for a couple of weeks), and managed to hurt her left hind leg. It’s healing, but she has to be lifted onto the couch, she can’t jump. The poor little thing is so sad…

There’s nothing sadder than a sad beagle. I’m afraid I’m spoiling her relentlessly.

 

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5 Responses to A Small Victory for Enlightened Self-Interest – American Election 2012

  1. Tim Scott says:

    I think maybe you you do not know what “enlightened self interest” means. You’ve not made a case for it anyway. Your example are all naked self interest.

    You say, “Obama has a solid mandate.” Um, no. Two percent margin in popular vote and a 49 seat deficit in the people’s house does not a mandate make.

    You got one thing right. Obama offered more people more of what they want than Romney did. Romney failed to appreciate that most people in America today simply don’t care whether the pie is expanding or shrinking.

    • Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter says:

      Tim,

      Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

      Definition thanks to Wikipedia.

      So how is, for a guy, voting in the best interests of your mother, your sisters, your female cousins, and your girlfriends, not Enlightened Self Interest. How is voting so that your relatives in [INSERT COUNTRY HERE] can have a chance of immigrating not Enlightened Self Interest. How is voting to help your LGBT friends not Enlightened Self Interest. How is not, as a woman, an immigrant, or a member of the LGBT community, voting to the advantage of the community and yourself not Enlightened Self Interest.

      You say, “Obama has a solid mandate.” Um, no. Two percent margin in popular vote and a 49 seat deficit in the people’s house does not a mandate make.

      George W. Bush was asked how he was going to govern because he didn’t have a mandate. He pointed out to his questioner, “I won the election, didn’t I? Of course I have a mandate.”

      And based on how the American system is set up, Obama won a smashing victory. 303 Electoral Votes is a lot more than 206 (with Florida and Arizona still counting – what utter incompetents).

      Popular votes means nothing. Gore had a higher popular vote than Gore, but winning the Electoral College made Bush the President.

      Mind you, I think the Electoral College is a legacy institution that should be abolished, but I’m Canadian, and my vote won’t count.

      Romney failed to appreciate that most people in America today simply don’t care whether the pie is expanding or shrinking.

      Actually most people do care. The problem is that Romney wants to follow Ireland, Spain, Greece, Italy, and the rest of the European Union into the idiocy of austerity. Obama won’t do that, and might even manage to get the unemployment rate under 7% by the end of his term.

      Wayne

      • Tim Scott says:

        George Bush was wrong. The popular vote has a major impact on the power a president wields. Add to this the Rs in the House, and sorry, no mandate. This really is not a controversial view.

        We’re headed for austerity alright. Obama can’t stop it, Bernanke can’t stop it (Lord knows he’s out of bullets), nor could Romney have stopped it. We could drag John Maynard Keynes himself up from the grave, and he could not not stop it.

        In the words of one my personal political heros, Paul Tsongas, “Numbers are relentless.” Even 25 years ago it was obvious to anyone with a command of 3rd grade arithmetic that we’re headed for austerity unless we change fiscal couse. Tsongas spend the last years of his life shouting this from the rooftops, to no avail. We have not changed course at all, and it’s looks pretty certain that we will not.

        What’s that sound I hear in the distance? It’s…it’s…it’s the sound of printing presses creating piles and piles of money from thin air.

  2. Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter says:

    I’ll disagree with you. George W. Bush was legally elected President, and that automatically gave him a mandate. It’s the way that the United States government is set up.

    Yes, you can’t spend money you don’t have. But you also can’t make quick changes. Changes have to be slow and measured.

    It’s rather like driving a car at 150 Miles Per Hour. Any steering changes have to be made carefully, otherwise you’ll roll the car.

    Wayne

    • Tim Scott says:

      If you use “mandate” as synonymous with “elected”, that’s your prerogative, but you risk being misunderstood. It is commonly understood to mean winning with a big enough majority to give you extra soft power letting you get your way without much compromise. In 2008 Mr. Obama had a mandate. In 2012, not.

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