My take on the election

Instead of offering my comments, I’ll relay the words of those on the front lines today.

From the President himself (that is, info@barackobama.org), 11:35 pm ET on election night:

“…This wasn’t fate, and it wasn’t an accident. You made this happen. You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn’t easy, you pressed forward. I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started. But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place. Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests. There’s a lot more work to do.”

From Rashad Robinson at colorofchange.org, 11 am ET, 11/7:

“Despite billions of dollars spent to keep our community away from the polls, once again, Black folks voted in record numbers to keep him in the White House.

But if we’ve learned anything over the last four years, it’s that the things that we’re fighting for—a fair economy, access to health care, less restrictions on voting, solutions to the housing crisis and criminal justice reform—won’t happen without our continued pressure.”

From Carolyn Garfein, president of the American Association of University Women, 10:48 am ET, 11/7:

“It amazes me how much we’ve all done – how many women we’ve educated, how many voters we’ve registered, how many people we’ve inspired. And I want to thank each of you for your hard work and commitment to this important campaign.

Thank you to the states and branches that made voter education and mobilization a priority. Thank you to the AAUW leadership who advocated for state ballot initiatives and won protections for marriage equality, reproductive rights, and education for all. Thank you to the phone bank volunteers who chatted throughout the night with strangers, and to the tabling volunteers who showed people how to register to vote. Thank you to the AAUW member who faced her fear of public speaking to talk to college students about voting. Thank you to the AAUW members and branches that got creative and inspired everyone around them with their passion. Thank you all so very, very much.”

From Arlington (VA) Democratic Committee Chair Mike Lieberman, 10:30 am ET, 11/7 (I live in Arlington):

“Last night, our President, Barack Obama, carried Virginia by roughly 100,000 votes. Nearly half of that margin of victory came from Arlington…. Democrats won every precinct in Arlington for the top of our ticket, and perhaps most amazingly, increased the number of Democratic votes in Arlington by more than 2,000 votes over our 2008 totals…. They are the product of days, weeks, and in many cases, months of work by our all-volunteer team. So whether you knocked on doors, made phone calls, donated your time or your resources, or simply stood in the cold to vote yesterday — in many cases for 3 hours or more — let me simply say THANK YOU for all you did to make last night’s victory possible.”

From David Corn* at Mother Jones:

“President Barack Obama made history again, with a victory that defied a decades-long trend: incumbents don’t triumph when the economy remains in the doldrums and the public sentiment is one of unease. In an archly ideological race that pitted a progressive case for government against a conservative assault on government, the president, burdened by a slow recovery but bolstered by a brilliant ground game based on hard-and-fast demographic realities, beat back Mitt Romney, who embraced the tea-partyization of the Republican Party and campaigned (often in an ugly fashion) for the chance to be CEO of the United States.”

Also from Mother Jones, 11/6, 9:44 pm ET, “Elizabeth Warren takes down Scott Brown”:

“Two years ago, Elizabeth Warren told [Mother Jones] that she’d rather stab herself in the eye than go back to Washington. On Tuesday, the Harvard Law professor and creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ate her words, knocking off Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass) in one of the most closely watched—and at times nastiest—races of the 2012 cycle. Warren’s win isn’t just a case of a Democrat winning in Massachusetts; perhaps no candidate, President Obama included, inspired as much enthusiasm from progressives across the country. (She raised more money than any other Senate challenger in the country, much of it from out of state.)… Warren did it largely by sticking with what made her a political star in the first place—a fierce defense of the social contract….”

Here’s my five cents worth. We can’t sit back and rest now. As the President has said, there’s lots of work to do. And moneyed interests will keep fighting to shred the social contract, even our right to vote. (See Jane Mayer’s recent article in the New Yorker on “the voter fraud myth.”) We must look out for all of our sisters and brothers.

 

 

* Corn is the journalist who brought to light the video record of Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” speech to rich donors in Florida.

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