By Wednesday morning, we will likely know who the 45th president of the United States is. I say “likely” because it possible that we won’t know due to all kinds of logistical problems associated with tallying elections. Assuming there is a clear winner, though, we will hear different narratives from different camps about the significance of the outcome. Here is what I am thinking we may see.
If Obama wins…
Conservatives will blame Romney, if the margin of defeat is incontestable. His perceived increase in likability will be swept under a tide of commentaries about his remoteness and inability to connect with the average voter. He will join the ranks of GOP losers such as Bob Dole and John McCain and will, hopefully, fade away. If the margin of defeat is extremely narrow, moderate Republicans will probably take the changing demographics narrative to heart while hard conservatives will blame either a) Mitt’s moderation in policy and tactics, which will have proved unable to motivate the base and get out the vote, and/or b) claims of voter fraud and other shenanigans on the part of the Obama camp. In either case, the atmosphere of despair and hopelessness will be thick and heavy, especially in the face of Democratic triumphalism.
Liberals will first breathe a collective sigh of relief, and then proceed to kick, stomp, and grind their heels into their defeated opponent. The progressive narrative, which views history culminating in state-subsidized multi-racial gay weddings, will have seemingly been confirmed. The arrogance and narcissism of the entitlement crowd will grow more bold; more demands for more free stuff will be made. Obama, not having to face another reelection, will be expected to deliver the goods in full this time.
If Romney wins…
Conservatives will rejoice. My concern is that many will not learn the lessons that need to be learned, however. If Romney actually does win, it will be by a narrow margin (most likely – I’d like to be wrong on that). What will have been a popular referendum on the incompetent and overreaching Obama regime should not be automatically construed as a vote of confidence in what the GOP has become. The party still needs major work. Its commitment to fiscal responsibility needs to be reflected in both domestic and foreign policy choices. State’s rights rhetoric needs to become a reality. And while I understand the need to reach out to Latinos, something really and finally needs to be done about the border. I doubt any of that will actually happen, though.
Liberals will have a full-scale meltdown. So many popular narratives will be blown out of the water. No matter what the margin, there will be screaming about vote suppression. That screaming will seem mute next to the shrill, ear-drum bursting howls of “RACISM” we will hear about, even as some blacks riot in anger over a white man being elected president, as they have vowed to do via Twitter. America, hopefully, will never put its trust in a would-be political messiah again. And Chris Matthew’s head will explode into a trillion microscopic fragments of hatred, despair, and perplexity.
I could have voted early, but I like actually going to the polls and chatting with people. I hope you all experience as much excitement as I do watching the returns until the wee hours of the morning.