New Orleans We had this, and I’m with Nate Silver of the 538 column and blog of the Times: this was not “too close to call” unless we got rid of the Electoral College and didn’t tell anyone. Watching Obama win every single battleground state except North Carolina, pretty much cheek and jowl with all of the state by state poll predictions over recent weeks, should say something about analysis versus hucksterism. One gets the feeling that the television news commentators and news people are basically just an arm for the marketing division and trying to sell as many ads as possible regardless of the effect. It’s the ground game, stupid!
So what do we get from this win? Most of what I’ve had to hear and read far says we get nada, nothing, goose egg, but that’s not true in my view. We may not get what we want and four years with Obama have taught us that, but you can look at the base that delivered the win, and I’ll guarantee that we can predict some key wins, even if not in the unadulterated versions we might want.
Count on the fact that Obama will finally embrace immigration reform in the way he gave the half-hug for healthcare to hold the 70-30 margin he got from Latino voters for the future of his party and legacy. Senator Rubio and most Republicans who want to be re-elected are going to have to make some concessions here. At the least, it would be that we get a version of the DREAM Act and not just the existing, confusing executive order. Voters going to the ballot in Maryland and affirming this notion should be enough to put the icing on this cake. We need to figure how much is enough to make the deal, but Rubio is our new partner on the right, replacing McCain, and his nose is wide open for the future, so this is a deal we can make.
We will get a minimum wage increase. Since the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, every Democratic Administration has delivered an increase, as have many Republican Administrations. It took Clinton until his 8th year, and it may take Obama the same, but we will get an increase before the 2nd term is over. Obama’s majorities on income groups came heavily from families making less than $50,000 per year and even higher from families making less than $30,000 per year. We also will get “wage theft” enforcement. That doesn’t require Congress, but does require a shakeup at the Department of Labor. We will get a better deal for home health workers on minimum wages. Almost none of this is because of any union payback. Density for workers in families making less than $50,000 is not that high…those are service workers and their rates of unionization is in single-digits. Union’s get to keep Obamacare, along with the rest of us, and that maybe the only thing unions can claim other than having the Senate and the President as a goal line stand against continued corporate attacks.
We should get some voting and election reform. Surely Obama and the President have woken up now to realize that there are few victories in the future if they continue to allow the right to shrink and suppress the electorate.
We will get a better deal on student loans and it will include some forgiveness. The under-30 base for Obama is crying for this, as are Asian-Americans who voted more solidly for Obama even than Latinos did. Something big is going to happen here.
We will get a new appointee over mortgage regulation and a new Secretary of Treasury so we will finally get some relief on mortgages and some rightsizing of loans to market values. The President hopefully will finally realize that his legacy is not in the Wall Street bailout and there is no hope for their support, so it is time to finally erase one of the darkest marks of his presidency and deal with foreclosures by sweeping away these two dudes who are blocking progress.
We will get infrastructure investment, which will help with jobs, unions, and communities; especially around the coasts even if it has to be masked as hurricane and climate change expenditures, rather than stimulus. We will also get more tax justice for upper incomes, even if not what we need, just because the Republicans can’t have it both ways.
We will get soldiers home and I have heard Obama talk about a peace dividend, and peace is important, even if that’s all we get there.
Something modest is going to happen around drug policy. You can’t just let California and Washington go wild out there and young people do vote! Same for gay marriage and women’s rights, including on reproduction. Republicans can’t continue to deny that the country has gone the other way from them on all of these issues. They may not embrace any of them, but with the right strategy and tactics, they will no longer be able to stand in the way. So, yes, the country is divided, blah, blah, blah, but government has to actually govern and even if there are no slam come our way, we will once again put some important points on the scoreboard as Obama pays back over the coming year.