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Sitting overseas watching the US election process leaves me truly baffled. How is this a close election? How is Obama and the Democratic party not poised to take both houses and the White House?

I work with a few Americans who as a group went to vote today. Most are Democrats, but a few are admittedly Republicans. That said, I could not find any who claimed that they would vote for Romney this year.

Maybe they were lying. Or just embarrassed.

The feeling I get from most Republicans who I have encountered around the world during the last 8 years is that they no longer feel they have a party that has anything to do with their values or beliefs.

Outside the borders of the US, Americans (and non-Americans) look to the GOP and see a backward, unhinged, frightening, uneducated, corrupt group of nitwits who would probably not survive in any democratic political system outside of the US. Or sure, there are a few GOPers who buck the trend, but even they appear to bend over to serve the fringe when addressing a domestic audience.  


The facts of current situation are pretty clear. Eight year of GOP policies ending in total collapse and and response by the the Democratic party which has managed to turn things around despite every effort of the GOP to stop them. Of top of that the man running for the GOP has dismissed half the nation, made dramatic switches on almost every key issue, exploited an international death for political gain, has a business history of destroying American jobs, is hiding his tax history and is running on a platform to return to the same policies that caused the collapse in the first place.


If Romney were to run the nation the way he ran his business (as some GOP supporters seem to think would be a good idea) he would fire every American, break up the nation, sell off every unprofitable State and pocket a huge commission.

This is all obvious to me, and everyone else I talk to. The GOP is a joke. Romney is a joke.

But he is even in the polls, will win many States and could even become the next POTUS. I don't get it. I really don't understand.

Are Americans really this ignorant? Has the US democratic system really broken down this thoroughly? Is it the US education system that has failed? Do people just not care? Is the future just crazier and crazier fringe elements constantly pushing everything further and further right while the nation crumbles around them?

From the outside the US is looking like an awfully scary place right now.

I hope there is some light at the end of this tunnel. The US could do so much for itself. It could be an inspiration for the world. It used to be that.

What happened?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Simple (13+ / 0-)

    About 35% of Americans are morons.

    Another 35% agree with you.

    A majority of the remaining 30% agree with you as well, but for some reason do not vote.

    If every American had to vote on Election Day, the Republican Party would all but disappear at the national level.

  •  To be blunt (11+ / 0-)

    there are far too many Democrats, liberals, moderates, and even journalists who seem to perpetually assume that Movement Conservatism is so obviously bad, so obviously awful, that the Right simply discredits itself.

    At this point, I have only one answer:

    You simply can't assume, in American politics, that some things are so obvious, some failures so great, that pure common sense will do your work winning the argument for you.

    You have to take the position that you can't assume any past epic fail is great enough or painful enough to beat the Rightwing of the Republican Party and set it back to a permanent minority party.

    I know to an outsider that must sound like a damning indictment of my country, but it's the best answer that I have.

    Republicans win elections, on the local, state, and national levels, that they have no business even being competative in if the past (even recently so) results of their governance is the litmus test for future chances at elective office.

    The only answer I can find is that Movement Conservatism is able to come back because Movement Conservatism has not been discredited, debunked, and demolished by the other side.

    The greatest critique of my party is that it does the same thing, over and over and over again, like pursue bipartisanship and common ground with people acting in bad faith and behaving in the most partisan manner possible, in the face of all evidence to do the opposite.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:18:56 AM PDT

    •  Let me be even more blunt: (17+ / 0-)

      If we wake up to a President Mitt Romney, he will put John Bolton or Liz Cheney in the Secretary of Defense office. They'll get in too.

      Then, the groundwork will be laid for a war with Iran.

      The Romney administration will be worst than W. Much worse.

      With the war with Iraq being sold using the exact same longterm scare campaign and lies and feakouts that the George W. Bush administration used to bullshit us into the Iraq War. Even without 9/11 to hang the biggest lie of them all on, that Saddam had a role in 9/11, the Bushies were going to get us into a conflict in Iraq somehow.

      The media will go into the tank. And there will be plenty of people outside of the GOP who will back them up on the scare tactics.

      Some of them will be the very same so-called "liberal hawks" who helped Bush out in 2002-2004.  

      If we wake up to a President Mitt Romney, the first thing he will do economically is a massive tax cut for the rich, even bigger than Bushes, and while he lays out a longterm plan to gut every regulatory agency he can by putting Heritage Foundation and AEI hacks in power inside them, he'll be fixated on elimating the estate tax and probably getting rid of capital gains taxes.

      Suddenly, the deficit will go back to 'deficits don't matter' ville, and the Village Deficit hawks will go silent.

      The civil rights division will go right back to looking for examples where black people, and other people of color, are "oppressing" rich white people.

      You have to make a partisan argument, and fearlessly, to win an argument.

      The GOP really hasn't been in a partisan bare-knucked ideological struggle with the Democratic Party in my lifetime. If anything, Democrats have tried to use Movement Conservative policy to achieve liberal outcomes, which never builds the brand.


      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:28:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I sit in the UK and boy do I agree with this (10+ / 0-)

    I am not sure who I would vote for here if we had an election in November, but I would have a choice between a few vaguely sensible options, and the issue is only which is the most palatable.  Hey we even have some real socialists......

    In the US there is no doubt which would get my vote, no doubt at all.  Even if we ignore Rmoney's own shortcomings, on what planet would I vote for a party which says that elected officials get to decide what happens to my body, and not me?  

    On what planet would I vote for a party who wants to have the retired, however ill informed and poorly educated they may be, fight with health insurers every year - when they have time left over from struggling with Wall Street to sort out the investments off which they seek to live?

    The GOP is not a humane party.

    •  I would like to meet one of those old morons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sue B, Quantumlogic

      living in Florida and ask them what the mittens is going to do for them? I almost feel bad calling them morons, but I cannot think of any other word, other than racist? What are they drinking? They will deserve everything they get, wait a minute, everything they do not get, the only problem is, we are all in trouble, especially the world at large.

  •  constant, incessant marketing, a culture (12+ / 0-)

    that fosters ignorance as a virtue and societal/environmental stresses that create an undercurrent of fear (of losing a job/money/etc).

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:39:31 AM PDT

    •  All of that and (6+ / 0-)

      willfull ignorance.  A roomate from college friended me on facebook and I have had to look at all her We Love Jesus posts for a month.  I just defriended because the last one was "click if you are a Republican for Jesus".  This women called me about a year after we graduated and told me that 3 months after she married she found she was pregnant and had an abortion because she just was not ready to have a baby.  And now she votes Republican!!??  This is truly religion as an opiate.  She is not able to live in reality so she Jesusifies her life and wafts by reality in a republican cloud.  Some people are mentally unfit to live in a free society.

      Everyone! Arms akimbo!

      by tobendaro on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:27:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Money, selfishness, and fear. (6+ / 0-)

    We've got the 1% who feel entitled to everything and the means to take it, by hook or crook.

    One of those hooks is racism and other forms of bigotry.
    One of those crooks is deceit.

    Then we've got one of our two parties in which any sense of limitations or moderation has been delegitimized and driven out/underground.  While the other party has a minority of it's own leadership that has been bought or bamboozled, forcing those who aren't to balance good policy with the need to coddle and appease the undead.

    In our contemporary "democracies," this creates a situation in which the tiny 1% minority dominates the public discourse/agenda -- when science or religion or public sentiment stands in their way, they pour money into making their own and sweeping away whatever stands in their way.  

    Over time, they establish their own sub-culture which is essentially a functional lobotomy for (at this point) about 45% of our population.

    This, by the way, seems to be the process everywhere -- not just the U.S.   How else to explain the fetish for pseudo-austerity* in much of Europe during the current recession?

    *I don't see the 1% anywhere tightening their belts.

    Paul Ryan is a policy wank.

    by monkeybox on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:41:15 AM PDT

  •  The only theory I got: team loyalty (4+ / 0-)

    I always root for the Republicans. My Pappy rooted for Republicans. My Granpappy and his Pappy and Granpappy  voted for Republicans, even after they deserted Brooklyn. Even after they became completely batcrap insane.

    I will always root for the Republicans.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:44:08 AM PDT

  •  I am as baffled as you are. As a matter of logic (5+ / 0-)

    The Republoicans should win the votes of only those people who make over $ 250,000 per year.

    That is less than 3% of the country should vote Republican.

    So why do smany people vote against their financial self interest?

    One reason is definitely because of the poor education system that began deteriorating under Reagan and has continued a downward spiral for more than 30 years.

    But there has to be something more and I suspect it is because they are able to harness the hostilities that various parts of the electorate hold for others.

    For example this year any one who does not like Blacks is going to vote for Romney even if it does hurt them financially.

    Similarly the Republicans caan count on those who hate gays, those who hate women taking birth control pills, those who simply hate women for being women and son and so forth.

    The Democrats need to sell one simple idea over and over and over.

    Forget your individual biases and Vote Your Pocketbook.

    Then we will see true Hope and Change

    •  You and Two Solitudes understate the case (0+ / 0-)

      We know that Rmoney will get aout 50 black votes nationwide. Most Latinos are voting for Obama, and a clear majority of women.

      So is Rmoney getting 100% of the white male vote? I know he's not getting my vote, and I've already mailed in the ballot.

      It's clear that a lot of people who would never publicly admit they are dumb enough to vote for Rmoney are planning to do so.  If religious fundamentalists and Catholics voted for candidates other than Rmoney, or didn't vote at all, this election wouldn't be close.

  •  I am in Thailand (10+ / 0-)

    and have worked in many different countries over the past 20 years.

    I find myself constantly trying to explain the inexplicable to my colleagues and local staff - how could GWB been re-elected, why would anybody not want universal health care, how could anybody trust anything that Romney says since he changes with the wind, and on and on.

    I fail miserably.  In order to adequately explain a situation, one has to understand it thoroughly.  And since I simply can't understand it, I certainly cannot convey any reasonable explanation.

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 03:49:52 AM PDT

  •  How could 52 million Americans be so dumb? (6+ / 0-)

    We all remember this from the Londa Daily MIrror


    On thing Romney got right about 47%.   It is the number of stupid Americans.   I am ready to split this country in two.   I have no intentions of living in any country that these people get to make up the rules.  

    If money is speech, then speech must be money. Call your mortgage company and pay your rent now.

    by dkmich on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:15:41 AM PDT

  •  Three things seems to conspire IMO (5+ / 0-)

    The huge flood of unregulated camapign money, general ignorance and apathy in the public, and covert/overt racism.

    •  Don't forget ... (0+ / 0-)

      that Bush II brought in the evangelicals / Christian Right, and that's how he kept winning IMHO.  Rs have marketed themselves as the party of God.  Racism play a part in that?  Sure.  It's white God for white people.  And they've successfully marketed the Dems as the godless libruls, although many (myself included) are God-centric.  Plus, play on the fear of being taken over by Hollywood sex perverts, as TV and media in general take over the public consciousness.  It's all a marketing ploy to get the public to ignore the economic harm that's being done to them by R policies.

  •  Very simple. Look at who owns corporate media. (9+ / 0-)

    Then watch any network broadcast news program and see how they portray the exceedingly competent President Obama, and his relationship with the relentlessly obstructionist Republicans in Congress. And watch how they (fail to) mention Romney's constant shameless lying, or his vile record of job destruction and 'vampire capitalism' with Bain.

    There's your answer. Our Galtian corporate overlords have a thumb on the media scales, and most voters are not Kos members. Most are 'low information voters' who can be easily swayed by such naked corporate lies.

    •  and... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, blueoasis

      They don't like the black guy, the Muslim guy, the secret agenda guy, the gay lovin' guy, the pro-abortion guy, the healthcare guy.
      Doesn't matter he's turning the Country around and regaining the respect of the rest of the world after the total disaster of the Bush mis-administration, doesn't matter that he's had more of a mess to clean up after the last rethuglican miasmic rule than any other President, doesn't matter that he's working to negotiate peace-not war (which BTW, will affect them far more than any other social strata), doesn't matter he's trying to get affordable healthcare for all citizens.
      They want them some racist hate, they want them some bigotry, they want them some hate-teh-gays, they want them some total anti-abortion, they want them some ER visits-no affordable healthcare for them, no sirree.
      And there are over 59,000,000 of 'em who voted for a second term of the absolute worst (p)Resident to have ever been in the White House.
      Willful ignorance/stupidity/racism/bigotry knows no bounds, even when it's in direct opposition to their best interests.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:54:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Propaganda Works (4+ / 0-)

    This is nothing new. It is really frightening.

  •  I'm as bemused as anyone else, from abroad (0+ / 0-)

    the picture might be clearer.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:36:18 AM PDT

  •  Statistical equivocation (0+ / 0-)

    I have a hypothesis that there is a strong force towards equivocation at all levels, even in terms of strategy, and that this leads to statistical equivocation up and down the line.

    I do not believe that this country just happens to be divided into 'perfect halves'.

    Perhaps most campaign strategies amount to little more than mirroring the behavior of your opponent, who handily seems to be capturing half of the voters with their strategy, and who in turn sees you in the same way.

    •  equivocation means to lie (0+ / 0-)

      are you saying there's no difference between stuff anymore?

      Die with your boots on. If you're gonna try, well stick around. Gonna cry? Just move along. The truth of all predictions is always in your hands. - Iron Maiden

      by Cedwyn on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 05:10:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I apologize (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I did make a semantic error.  I'm not talking about lying, and will have to reformulate this thesis.

        I'm suggesting that the tendency for two parties to split the vote almost evenly on a national basis is due to group behavior that systematically tends towards that.  And I think there is a social-evolutionary explanation in terms of population and strategy.

    •  I need to reformulate this (0+ / 0-)

      I used the term equivocation in error, or in a sense that was too obscure.

  •  Tribal... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fear and ignorance verses reason and science.

    I have to believe America knows better. If everyone voted, we'd kick ass.

    By the way, to all you abroad and expats, any suggestions? Can you help me leave if the unthinkable occurs? ;^)

    •  Ya know.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If the unthinkable happens, I will not be able to afford living in my country.
      That makes me very, very sad.
      As well as very, very angry.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 04:58:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone left out: Racism pure and simple (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lilyvt, Pinto Pony, jbob

    Most of the country is bigoted -- not just against African Americans, but at least half the country loves to hate some other group: blacks, women, working class people, immigrants, especially Mexicans, gays and lesbians, even poor whites.

    The criticism of Obama I sometimes read on right wing and even mainstream, middle of the road forums isn't just ill informed. It's unhinged, and it's full of obvious dog whistles, code words and downright, outright racist ravings.  Fox News coverage of the president boils down to this: "nigger, nigger, nigger!!!"  That plus the occasional Muslim socialist -- but it's the fact that he's black that makes the other stuff even vaguely plausible to even that moronic audience.

    I don't mean to say only an African American president would get this kind of treatment.  

    Bill Clinton was dismissed as "poor white trash" as soon as he arrived in Washington, which was why they chose the particular way they chose to take him down: poor, dumb peckawood couldn't keep his pecker in his pants back in Arkansas.

    Everyone remembers that someone in Congress disrespected President Obama during his first state of the union address.  They may not remember that a Republican also dissed Clinton under similar circumstances.

    If Hillary were president, they would be raving, witch (code word for the b word), lesbian, harpy, whatever.

    A rich white man has a built in advantage of at least 10, maybe 20 polling points over the majority of the kinds of people who make up the Democratic Party and hence their representatives.

    And the Republicans are rich white men.  

  •  The Propaganda Environment and 35 Years of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbob, blueoasis

    2 conservative political parties so that there was no major voice opposing the basic framework of the rightwing world view.

    The Republicans have turned to full-on direct lying about the most basic facts of daily life, science, their own actions and history. These lies are promoted by much of the mainstream media and given credence by all of it. They're backed by employers and by church.

    In this country reality is insanity.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 05:46:39 AM PDT

  •  It's close because there is such a thing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    distraught American exceptionalism after all, and it has a specific defining characteristic.  It's the notion that if you're successful, your success was entirely your doing, while if you're not yet successful, you will probably be successful tomorrow and when it happens you don't want to share the credit (or the proceeds) with anyone else.  Americans are all looking for that one big score, and a near-majority favor the party that promises them sole proprietorship of that score.  

    Romney '12: Berlusconi without the sex and alcohol!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Oct 16, 2012 at 05:51:17 AM PDT

  •  Because hate and ignorance trump sanity and (0+ / 0-)

    self-preservation.  The GOP are hate-mongers extraordinaire, who are experts at making hate admirable and patriotic.

  •  Who was it that said... (0+ / 0-)

    "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." ?

  •  There are a number of reasons (0+ / 0-)

    1.) Many religious conservatives vote on one issue, abortion.
    2.) Many Southerners are swayed to vote republican due to racial animosity.
    3.) The GOP has for whatever reason been associated with gun ownership, rugged individualism that appeals to many middle and low income people.  
    4.) They are viewed as business friendly, low taxes which appeals to a lot of high income earners.
    5.) The GOP is more aggressive than the Dems in both marketing themselves and also tearing down the other side.



    "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

    by rubyr on Thu Oct 18, 2012 at 07:15:28 AM PDT

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