Following the election, conservative pundits, leaders, and even Governor Romney, claimed that the GOP’s diminishing political viability was a product of natural circumstances. To them, Hurricane Sandy enabled Barack Obama’s sweeping victory. Forget the turnout among youths, Blacks, Latinos, and women, many of whom disfavored the Governor’s policies and represented roughly 30% of Tuesday’s voters; Sandy is to blame. Again, the Republicans are out-of-touch, and unfortunately, ignorance is costly.
As usual, let’s start with the facts. Obama was ahead of Romney on the day Sandy struck, October 28, by three percentage points. On October 29, the day of Sandy’s landfall, Obama was ahead of Romney by one point; and again on November 3, five days after the storm hit. So, empirically, Hurricane Sandy didn’t change the outcome of the election. Might it affect others though?
Blaming Hurricane Sandy on Romney’s loss despite Obama’s performance and favorability in the days leading up to the election is not only illogical, but also speaks to the conservatives’ inability to recognize the clear demographic shifts shaping American politics today. At a time when the GOP must revamp “politics as usual,” they’ve resorted to denying reality and are equip to confront the President when bipartisanship is most critical given the upcoming fiscal cliff.
Strategically, though, it’s in the best interest of Democrats to allow such ridiculous Republican narratives to dominate media, right? I mean, let the party blame Romney’s embarrassing performance on Hurricane Sandy. Let the GOP turn its back on what is surely becoming a more progressive country given recent public opinion data favoring progressive social issues. Then, in four years, as the party realizes that backward and disempowering conservative policies don’t appeal to historically underrepresented voters, change will be the least of the GOP’s worries.
Joshua D. Wodka