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Obama Won Because the 47% Matters, Diversity Matters, Caring Matters

By November 7, 2012

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President Obama won reelection for two resoundingly All-American reasons:
  • People matter. The 47% matters. The quality of their lives matters. Their opportunities to pursue life, liberty, and happiness matter.
  • The rich diversity of our great nation. Diversity of ethnicity, religion, gender, and yes, sexual orientation.

In Obama's famed 2004 speech which brought him to national attention, he boldly proclaimed his core values:

"There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there's the United States of America. The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too.

"We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we've got some gay friends in the Red States."

Last night, newly reelected President Obama expressed the same vision of equality he proclaimed in 2004:

"I believe we can keep the promise of our founding -- the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or where you love -- it doesn't matter whether you're black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight -- you can make it here in America if you're willing to try.

"I believe we can seize this future together -- because we are not as divided as our politics suggest; we're not as cynical as the pundits believe; we are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions; and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America."

Republican Mitt Romney lost this election with his closed-door sneering to millionaires and billionaires, in which he cruelly stereotyped 47% of all Americans:

"... there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.

"These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people--I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

The contrast between Obama and Romney couldn't be starker: One cares about the lives of all Americans, and desperately desires to ensure that all are afforded equal opportunities to succeed. The other, in his seemingly most authentic campaign moment, cynically dismissed 148 million Americans as lazy moochers not worth his consideration.

It's no wonder that President Obama won:

The only two demographic groups that Mr. Romney won convincingly were white men and older white women. The Republican electoral problem is this: the United States in 2012 has continued to grow in diversity. Depending almost exclusively on the white vote is now a formula for failure in national elections.

In his first term, President Obama actively demonstrated concern for American lives with specific policies and stances, not merely pretty speeches, including:

  • Health care reform, which brings the U.S. in line with all other free countries by ensuring that every citizen has access to health care services.
  • Saving and supporting the auto industry, which employs tens of millions of hardworking Americans.
  • The DREAM Act for immigrant minors, on which Obama noted "...we should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents by denying them the chance to stay here and earn an education and contribute their talents to build the country where they've grown up."
  • Gay rights and same-gender marriage, including elimination of the military's ghastly "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
  • Womens' health issues, including access to birth control, abortion, and funding for Planned Parenthood health care services.

As best as I can tell, Mitt Romney and the Republican party supported exactly none.... zero, nada, jack-squat... of the above policies that influence and change families and lives.

People matter. The 47% matters. The quality of their lives matters. Their opportunities to pursue life, liberty, and happiness matter.

Americans voted for Barack Obama because he cares about their lives, their families, their opportunities, their futures. Mitt Romney lost because he made sharply clear that he does not.


November 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm
(1) John Ballard says:

Sounds right to me. The Republican Party may be called the Grand Old Party but like the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company the name and brand have expired, about as grandiose as a surrey with fringe on top, footnotes in future chapters of US history.

I would like to think that by shaking off extremists from the Tea Party, Christian Zionists, survivalists and other fringe groups there may be enough responsible Conservatives to cobble together some kind of actual LOYAL opposition to the Democrats. The Republican party has become a DISloyal opposition which has painted itself into a corner, dominated by white men with interlocking corporate and social interests which tend to be racially, ethnically and religiously exclusive.

Two powerful constituencies — the Roman Catholic Church and the movers and shakers of AIPAC — remain in lock-step with the Republican party at the top, but in both cases constituencies at the grass roots resonate more with Democrats than Republicans. In both cases (as with the Chambers of Commerce, incidentally) they are run from the top down, resting on narrow (if obsolete) values and deaf to suggestions of meaningful change coming from below.

I really want to see a resurgent Republican Party. Without it we are headed for a parliamentary style government built around coalitions. That would make our two-party system more fractious and the path to unity in times of crisis more difficult. But the chains of the still-viable Southern Strategy coupled with an authoritarian organizational structure and laced together with dog-whistle politics makes me pessimistic about recovery for the GOP.

November 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm
(2) Leah Silver says:

Absolutely right!! Many of us are tired of the super rich trying, for some reason, to take everything away from the poor and the lower middle class. Why do these people, who have much more than they can ever need, want to hurt others? How can people who own three or four homes want people to cut housing programs so that people will have to live in the streets like in Calcutta? Why do they want to cut WIC and take food and fruit juices away from pregnant women and babies?

November 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm
(3) zac says:

All I see from those numbers is racism.

And also God says sexual orientation should be between one MAN and one WOMAN!!! GET IT!

November 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(4) Mitica says:

Strange, but if people matter why the same people gave the Republicans one chamber of the Congress and made Obama’s task to improve their lives so difficult? Not to mention that the Republicans hold 30 states, the biggest number since 2000?!

My opinion is nothing was decided in these elections, the positions are the same as they were before the elections and America is split in two.

November 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm
(5) awatson says:

My issue with President Obama’s entire national political career, is the media’s inability to find any fault or question anything he does. As for the “47%”, why not be honest and address the issue of families who
spend the majority of their lives on public assistance. Generation after
generation having children w/o marriage, making no effort or concerned
about finding a job!!! By the way what is the Obama plan for jobs,
gas prices, our foreign policies???? I didn’t hear any specifics from

Concerned about America’s future.

November 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm
(6) Muni says:

The reason President Obama was re-elected IS because of the 47%, it IS because the “disenfranchised” gay, straight, black, white, poor, unemployed, college student, and others but not because Mitt Romney was too rich too white not caring of the plight of the little guy…

The President got re-elected because everyone knows that he will say and do what ever people want. He will give them money to bail out their companies, or a check so they don’t have to work PERIOD.

He will let them marry or have sex with whoever they want or abort their babies so they don’t have to worry about any consequences.

The President will make sure that we NEVER have to hear about God so that we don’t have to be accountable for our actions to anyone.

Mitt Romney wasn’t going to do that so he was NEVER going to get elected because there are of the above group then there are of us so we will never again see a TRUE conservative in the White House regardless of their race or gender because America is not America anymore!

November 8, 2012 at 5:23 pm
(7) John says:

Perhaps your god says marriage is between a man and a woman. Of course, your god also says that slaves must obey their masters. So, do you propose bringing back slavery as well. After, must be true to the word, right?

November 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm
(8) lgjhere says:

Given the topic of immigrants and minorities in the election, an interesting new book that helps explain their role, struggles, and contributions is “What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” It paints a revealing picture of America for those foreigners who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also informs Americans who want to learn more about the U.S. and how we compare to other countries around the world on many issues, including elections. As the book points out, immigrants and minorities are a major force in America. They come to improve their lives and create a foundation of success for their children to build upon, as did the author’s grandparents in 1899 after losing 2 children to disease on a cramped cattle car-like sailing from Europe. Many bring skills and a willingness to work hard to make their dreams a reality, something our founders did four hundred years ago. In describing America, chapter after chapter identifies “foreigners” and minority members who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance, be they Dreamers in Deleware or cabbage pickers in California. Perhaps the book, immigration reform, and concerned Americans will lend a helping hand. http://www.AmericaAtoZ.com

November 8, 2012 at 5:32 pm
(9) Jeffrey says:

This article is typical of a liberal’s uneducated, petty and wholly inaccurate portrayal of conservatism. Liberalism is a philosophy of failure, ignorance and envy. It ultimately leads to poverty, racism and social division. Its future is bleak, dark and broke. Its only inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. Liberalism says “Government is Santa Claus.” Conservatism says “Be your own Santa Claus.” Liberalism is dependence. Conservatism is independence. Liberalism is needy, weak and small. Conservatism is self-reliant, strong and large. Don’t be fooled by the BS in this article.

November 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm
(10) Jeff says:

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them; and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

November 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm
(11) Cathy says:

I consider myself middle class, but for the past few years, I have received more in tax refunds than I owed in taxes. So that makes me one of the 47% who “don’t pay taxes”. But I pay payroll taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and struggle to pay my bills despite multiple jobs.I am not a moocher, nor do I consider myself entilted to government hand-outs.

That is why I voted for Obama.

Romney showed a complete lack of understanding of how the “other half” lives, and what we need to survive. All those “jobs” he was going to create, would have turned out to be more minimum-wage jobs, which by the way is not enough to live on, even in my rural lower-cost area. And the Republican platform was so extreme that the country would not survive it in a recognizable form.

November 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm
(12) Ben says:

You quoted a campaign speech by Obama and a secretly recorded video of Romney. Of course the difference is stark. I’d be interested to hear what Obama says behind closed doors.

Oh, I found a good one of obama…


November 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm
(13) Beverly Ehrhardt says:

Please cancel and do not send me any more of this man’s idiot comments.

November 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm
(14) Wayne says:

Just a thought for John (#7), a more CURRENT translation would be EMPLOYEES, which is what the VAST MAJORITY of people labeled as ‘slaves’ in the Bible actually WERE, but I can TELL by the way you worded your message that you mind’s made up, and you don’t WANT to be CONFUSED with the FACTS!!!! Am I in complete agreement with the Republican party? I can’t say “NO!!!!” LOUD enough!! However, looking at the party platforms, the party that has REALLY LOST TOUCH with the AVERAGE American is the DEMOCRATS!!!!

November 8, 2012 at 7:35 pm
(15) John says:

I am a 53%er. My wife and I work our tails off. We chose not to have children because we cannot afford to provide them a financial sound life.

Meanwhile we are at the supermarket with our modest basket of food, standing in line behind a family paying for a large order with the welfare card. Name brand items, nice cuts of meat….as my wife and I gaze down at our microwave popcorn and Ramen noodles. The women in this family all were talking on iPhones with their nails and hair done.

We happened to be parked a few cars down from them and we looked amazement as they all piled into a late model Cadillac.

My wife and I got into our 2001 Ford Focus with 150,000 miles and headed home.

My point to this rant is that the liberal folks support for social programs are unconditional. Additionally, liberals have made these programs into a lifestyle as opposed to temporary assistance.

To say that this trend of socialism resembles communism would be a misnomer. In communism all are socially and fiscally equal. Now a days it pays to be on welfare apparently!

November 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm
(16) John Ballard says:

Deborah you have been carpet bombed by Romney veterans. Somebody must have linked your column on one of their sites. Clearly they came to use their fingers more than their heads.

I realized as I read that the effect of the campaign was to persuade true believers that they were not only fifty-three percent of the population (results of the election notwithstanding) but that forty-seven percent of the population were animated only by a desire to receive government handouts.

I didn’t come across it here, but I have seen the “Santa” analogy more than once while surfing. And I realized yesterday while listening to Rush Limbaugh that Santa is a regular part of his lexicon when describing either Democrats or Liberals. (He seems to use the words interchangeably, and both as invectives.)

The time has come for those who accused Barack Obama of being a weak leader to eat their words. If he was not the leader who assembled the most effective political machine of our lifetime, please tell me who did? Organizational “ground games” such as the one that got him reelected to a second term do not spring into existence by accident. That level of coordination and focus only happens deliberately, with plenty of input and feedback from boots on the ground. Some field workers were paid, but the real spade work was done by volunteers. Crafting an organizational steamroller like the one Obama drives takes a lot more leadership than whipping a week of Olympic games into shape.

November 8, 2012 at 8:23 pm
(17) John Ballard says:

When I contrast Obama’s leadership with that of the Orca-driven bubble which Mitt Romney tried to take with him to the White House it scares the piss out of me. Even if European monitory and fiscal instability triggers another global financial collapse worse than that of 2007, most ordinary folks will never guess how close we just came to a real catastrophe in this country. Even now mild-mannered Conservative apologist David Brooks speaks of “Fiscal cliff. Gridlock. Doom. Recession. Panic. Despair. But let’s not think of that today. The election campaign stunk, but the day after should still be about hope.” Governor Romney’s attraction to those, the darkest quarters of his party, is a telling commentary on his judgement and decision-making abilities. The man obviously is not in it for the money. In today’s world he is either manipulatively power-hungry or just plain stupid naive. Either way he has no business in the Oval Office.

I hope the anger and gloom reflected here will begin to cool in the coming weeks. The new Congress has a lot of serious work to do. And attitudes like I see here are not helping.

November 8, 2012 at 9:41 pm
(18) mim says:

Remember history. People turning against each other violently….Germany, Europe, China, Middle East, Africa, the Middle East……..and now the United States of America. People are blaming each other for the problems of the country. “The poor taking hand outs, the rich taking tax cuts “. The middle class paying all the taxes. ! We are better than that! Stop the blame and focus on what we can do as a nation to move ahead in the global economy. The United States was founded by ALL of our ancestors. We are human beings with a higher intelligence ! Color, culture and borders mean nothing. Are we manipulated that easily to turn against and blame each other.? It is time for all of us to change and face the challenges in the world. We have so much to enjoy on this planet. We are all responsible in one way or another for making this country great. Each of us can make a difference for the continued sucess of our country. I enjoy living in these United States of America.

November 9, 2012 at 1:57 am
(19) usliberals says:

John, this post was the lead article (with link) today in About’s system-wide newsletter. Thus, it was read by the masses, not just those seeking a liberal perspective. :)

November 9, 2012 at 11:25 am
(20) Jim Lacey says:

It is the Roman Catholic hierarchy, not the Church, that is ardently Republican. The laity are the Church too, and Catholics voted much as the rest of the population in 2012.

November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm
(21) John Ballard says:

@Jim Lacey
My point exactly when I said “run from the top down, resting on narrow (if obsolete) values and deaf to suggestions of meaningful change coming from below.”
There is a wide disconnect dividing the Catholic clergy from the laity which is much more worldly in many ways. Same holds true for Jews whose politics regarding Israel may look unified from a distance but is split many ways around the world, especially in the US where BDS is starting to take its toll.

November 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm
(22) yvette says:

President Obama is correct to say america should be inclusive society rather than a exclusive society. When we start makibg disticntions betwen groups the country becomes weeker. I beleve that Mitt romney had wonderful Ideas about how the country should be tun. I believe that he needed to really listen to all groups in order to understand what the people wanted. Obama was able to make a better case for the people. I noticed that Obama was better able to connect to our historical herietage than Mitt Romney did. Eventhough Obama had trouble relaying to the people about his short commings Ithink the common man was able to forgive him.
He has a great task ahead him to unite the country and the would. We all many differences that hinder our ability to come together. We must be will to look at past leaders for inspiration. Also we must not be afraid to explore present options to understand that fuutre

November 9, 2012 at 7:49 pm
(23) Jadetatsu says:

Thank you!!
If Mitt Romney had half the ideas that President Obama had, his lost ratio would have been lower or he might have won. But Govenor Romney is unable to see the diversity and the change of thinking tht comes with this diversity. Its too bad. That the men and women who voted for him cannot accept change!


November 10, 2012 at 11:38 am
(24) BOBBY says:

What bull! When 70%-95% of any demographic group vote the same way, there’s something wrong and it’s racism as far as I’m concerned because it’s consistant with the same groups year after year. How could anyone vote for the idiot who gave us ObamaCare, $16T in debt, over 7.8% unemployment, etc.

We’re faced with a fiscal cliff on 1/1/13 that Obama signed the legislation for. I think it’s the same one he accussed Ryan of throwing Grandma over. Now it’s the entire nation and he’s pushing the bus.

From now on, I will adhere to Obama’s call for “revenge” by avoiding the purchase of American cars due to the biased influence of the auto Unions. In addition, I will no longer donate to charities for those ethnic groups who supported Obama. They (the 47%ers) wanted handouts so tell them to get help from the guy they voted for,,,not me. I’m saving the money for my family.

November 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm
(25) Veronica says:

Barack Obama won because an increasingly diverse America voted for him, not to mention the fact that a few certain Republicans just couldn’t resist making nasty, ignorant remarks.

November 11, 2012 at 12:45 am
(26) ShakeyJake says:

She gets it, zach. She was against gay marriage 4 years ago.

November 11, 2012 at 11:07 am
(27) sharon says:

According to my desire Obama sir came as president fa u.s nd al his speech r rightly fully similar to u.s people but according to sir said tat same gender marriage r allowed but how is possible ?v cnt accept Darwin’s theory bcoz it was totally against god said.And same wise now also same gender marriage is totally against christian but anyhow Obama sir should do anthg fa this but I wish him to achieve whatever he promised to the u.s people . . .

November 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm
(28) Shaun says:

I live in Australia so watched the election from afar. The one thing that most of us did not understand in the land down under is that the Republican Party under George W Bush left America in a financial mess my guess is worse than the 30′s. Obama had to clear this up, save the banks and ensure that other than Ford the USA still had a domestically owned auto manufacturer plus continue to pay for the Iraq war so my guess is that more people understood the mess that Obama inherited than was given credit for. From memory Clinton left a huge budge surplus which somehow went in a huge deficit in a few short years under Bush and the Republicans. I feel that many electorite knew this and we in Australia certainly did and cast their vote accordingly.

November 12, 2012 at 9:05 am
(29) Kim P says:

Couldn’t have anything to do with rampant voter fraud, could it? And that wonderful speech he made 4 years ago about unity in America? Let’s see, Trayvon Martin, The Gates incident…the man is a divider, not a uniter. I don’t ahve a problem with differences in politics, but you Obama suporters are insane. Certifiably insane

November 12, 2012 at 11:21 am
(30) Veronica says:

Kim: Never heard of the words, “Won fair and square,” did you? Obama won, fair and square. He won, period, so do what you told us to do more than a decade ago when GWB won the presidency: get over it. And if you want to talk about division, you and other GOPers need to get mirrors and look at them. Then you can tell me about division.

November 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm
(31) Kim B says:

I totally disagree with you. Giving out entitlement money is actually cruel.
People become dependent on these handouts and live at poverty levels their whole lives. We have poured billions and billions of dollars at “poverty” only to have it worsen. But you call it caring, I call it callous.

Benjamin Franklin- “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Giving someone a hand up temporarily is NOT the same as a Hand out for years and years. The cruelty of it all is truly astounding.

November 14, 2012 at 9:39 am
(32) No Tea says:

Hey, zac. As you say, your “god says”. That’s a religious belief. My bible is the Constitution of the United States. It says there shall be no establishment of religion, and no religious test shall ever be administered for any office in the US. Get it?

America. Love it or leave it.

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