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Obama, Gay Marriage and Political Alignment


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#1
The Kurgan

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Changing political constellations seems to be a popular topic hereabouts, so I thought we'd find this Atlantic article on Obama's recent endorsing of gay marriage and how it reflects on the shifting of electoral coalitions kinda interesting. From the article:

President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage undoubtedly reflects a personal evolution in his thinking, as he's said.
But his decision also reflects a hard-headed acknowledgement of the changing nature of the Democratic electoral coalition. Indeed, historians may someday view Obama's announcement Wednesday as a milestone in the evolution of his party's political strategy, because it shows the president and his campaign team are increasingly comfortable responding to the actual coalition that elects Democrats today -- not the one that many in the party remember from their youth.


The article asserts that Obama's decision will further drive the dems away from lower class whites and older voters - who might otherwise be inclined to support them on economic issues, and accelerate their move into more socially liberal terrain. But it will appeal to who's turned out to be their biggest base of support in the last few elections: younger voters, minorities and educated white collar liberals, especially women. As a political move, this seems wise to me, at least in the long term. This coalition is looking to dominate, especially once the baby boomers and their "angry white males" start dying off.

Thoughts?

#2
The Kurgan

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I'd also like to add this comment, which appeared in the discussion forums below the main article. I think it sums up what's happened quite nicely:

The primacy of blue-collar voters in the Democratic coalition began fading with America's declining manufacturing base. When there's no shop steward telling his workers how to vote, they might just go ahead and vote the guy who corroborates their status anxiety. Say a George Wallace or Ronald Reagan. As the American economy transformed, so did the demographic elements in each party's coalition. Younger, more educated, more urban typified the Democratic voter. Older, less educated, and more suburban typified the Republican voter. But behind each coalition was also a belief system or mythology that described, for want of a better term, their idea of patriotism. For Democrats, it is E Pluribus Unum. For Republicans, it is Mayberry.
The long-term trend favors Democrats but the short term has been spectacularly successful for Republicans, such that they now appear to threaten the very safety net that keeps this nation intact. I'm not sure if there's an escape from the intensity of this dispute but I'm convinced one side eventually has to win if this nation is going to overcome its paralysis. The future cannot wait and neither can I.



#3
Pong Messiah

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So Obama, who supported gay marriage in 1996 -- then opposed it when it became inconvenient during his move to national stage -- has "evolved" once again? What a load of bull****. This isn't evolution so much as a calculated political risk. He knows the evangelical and conservative-leaning independents he tried to woo in 2008 aren't going to be voting for him this time around, and his base needed some raw meat, so he threw out some chum. So far, it's working brilliantly: his campaign received one million in donations in just the 90 minutes after his announcement -- great job! There may be some short-term fallout from this, but I also think it's a smart shift on the part of Democrats, as gay marriage is a long-term winner. Even George Will admits this.

I am glad a president finally at least said he wanted the gays to marry. But the more I read about the backstory, the more I become disgusted with Obama as a human being... though more impressed with his political gamesmanship.

The only question I have remaining now is whether or not Biden's gaffe was really a gaffe or a planned event. What would Freud say?

:eek:
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#4
monkeygirl

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Anyone who doubts this was well-planned is an eeeediot.
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#5
Pong Messiah

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WHAT ARE YOU SAYING MG?

IT HURTS ME YOU SAY THAT. OBAMA JUST MADE AN OFF-THE-CUFF COMMENT ABOUT HOW HE REALLY TRULY FEELS AND THE PLANET STARTED TO HEAL. DON'T DIMINISH THE GREATNESS.

#6
tsquare

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(4 weeks ago, at the Romney campaign HQ)

Romney: well it looks like we have the nomination wrapped up… all over but the shouting. We need to start bring the party together. Thoughts people?

Staffer #1: Well boss, we have the party moderates, and most of the fiscal conservatives. The Foreign Policy Hawks will come around. Obama has stuck with the Bush ‘kill the bastards’ policies, kept GITMO open, but they don’t like the bowing, and the apologizing. In the end they’re come around.

Staffer #2: Yeah well we knew that all those folks would come around. It’s the social conservatives and evangelicals we can’t seem to pull in to the campaign. Your family values help a lot boss, but the Mormon thing… it’s proving to be a tough nut to crack.

Staffer #1: Yep boss, the evangelicals are going to be the problem.

Romney: Guys we need to get on this. We all know the numbers, we need these guys and we need them now… they are our best GOTV, they work hard.

Staffer #2: I know! We can get Obama to come out and back Gay Marriage!

(hysterical laugher)

Romney: Come on guys get real here! That would work like a charm, but hell not even Joe Bidden is that stupid… we have to come up with a plan…

(and the meeting continues…)

#7
Good God a Bear

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While I do feel this is his true stance, I don't think it was planned but was forced by Biden and comments he made on Meet the Press Sunday. I think without it he would have danced around the subject and continued with his 'I'm evolving' mumbo jumbo.

Of course, it could have been planned for BIden to do what he did. The only person dumber than him though is Sarah Palin, so I can see where it was probably a slip.

#8
Pong Messiah

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Biden used to be fairly eloquent and quick on his feet. More and more I'm convinced his aneurysms (especially the most recent one) were more serious than let on, or that he's playing the jester's role.

:eek:

#9
The Kurgan

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(4 weeks ago, at the Romney campaign HQ)

Romney: well it looks like we have the nomination wrapped up… all over but the shouting. We need to start bring the party together. Thoughts people?

Staffer #1: Well boss, we have the party moderates, and most of the fiscal conservatives. The Foreign Policy Hawks will come around. Obama has stuck with the Bush ‘kill the bastards’ policies, kept GITMO open, but they don’t like the bowing, and the apologizing. In the end they’re come around.

Staffer #2: Yeah well we knew that all those folks would come around. It’s the social conservatives and evangelicals we can’t seem to pull in to the campaign. Your family values help a lot boss, but the Mormon thing… it’s proving to be a tough nut to crack.

Staffer #1: Yep boss, the evangelicals are going to be the problem.

Romney: Guys we need to get on this. We all know the numbers, we need these guys and we need them now… they are our best GOTV, they work hard.

Staffer #2: I know! We can get Obama to come out and back Gay Marriage!

(hysterical laugher)

Romney: Come on guys get real here! That would work like a charm, but hell not even Joe Bidden is that stupid… we have to come up with a plan…

(and the meeting continues…)


I kinda sorta get your point, but I don't think it would matter one way or another really. Come November, the social liberals WILL vote for Obama, the evangelicals and social conservatives WILL vote for Romney whether Obama actually endorsed Gay marriage or not. What this seems like to me is Obama and the democratic party leadership finally grasping the fact that they're going to be percieved as liberals, they will not get the support of right leaning voters no matter how much they try to fudge or muddle their stances. As such, they might as well actually BE liberals and at least make some people happy than try to appeal to both ends equally and just end up alienating everybody.

#10
Nanten Janubi

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Staffer #1: Well boss, we have the party moderates, and most of the fiscal conservatives. The Foreign Policy Hawks will come around. Obama has stuck with the Bush ‘kill the bastards’ policies, kept GITMO open, but they don’t like the bowing, and the apologizing. In the end they’re come around.


That thinking will be a big part of why Romney will probably lose.
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#11
Pong Messiah

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Hopefully. I've been pleasantly surprised by Obama when it comes to killing people.
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#12
Nanten Janubi

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I'm happy, but wasn't surprised. Structural influences and all that.

#13
Pong Messiah

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Shhhh Nanten... that leaves him with less credit.

In the end, I'll no doubt vote for him; I'd like to appreciate the man at least a little!

#14
tsquare

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I kinda sorta get your point, but I don't think it would matter one way or another really. Come November, the social liberals WILL vote for Obama, the evangelicals and social conservatives WILL vote for Romney whether Obama actually endorsed Gay marriage or not. What this seems like to me is Obama and the democratic party leadership finally grasping the fact that they're going to be percieved as liberals, they will not get the support of right leaning voters no matter how much they try to fudge or muddle their stances. As such, they might as well actually BE liberals and at least make some people happy than try to appeal to both ends equally and just end up alienating everybody.


But in what nubmers?

I think that the one thing we can all agree on is that this election is going to be close... very close in some states. If say 5% of the evangelicals in North Carolina stay home in November, it might make the difference.

Cutting through all the crap… about 1/3 of the Obama bundlers (big donors) are openly gay and they have been telling the campaign ‘no change, no money’

OTOH: Obama refuses to sign a "nondiscrimination executive order"

But what this might actually mean in terms of policy is a little murkier. Perhaps most pressing is the issue of a so-called "nondiscrimination executive order" that gay-rights groups have been pushing. The president has refused—and continues to refuse—to sign it.


Lastly, as a point about leadership… this could have been a huge leadership thing had he ‘evolved’ even a few days earlier… before the North Carolina vote.

He didn’t… he choose not to. He risked nothing to ‘come out’ before the vote.

http://www.weeklysta...der_644332.html

#15
Evolence

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It's a calculated risk...And I'd be interested to see where swing states poll on this issue. Obama loses nothing in the South, because the Bible Belt wasn't going to vote Democrat to begin with. Similarly, he doesn't stand to gain much in the states that have legalized gay marriage, as many of these states were going to reliably swing Democrat in November. The question is how the polls look in swing states. Sure, nationally a majority of people are in favor of gay marriage/civil unions (or at the very least, not enshrining blatant discrimination in the Constitution). But the national numbers aren't what really matter.

While this solidifies the liberal side of the Democratic base, I feel it risks alienating large swathes of blacks and Hispanics. Many Hispanics are Catholic and will probably take issue with this...The question is, will this one issue be enough to swing them to the anti-immigrant, build-a-fence, forced deportation Republican camp. Similarly, it was largely thanks to the black community (that tends to be religious, but not necessarily in the fanatical vote-against-your-economic-interests evangelical way) that gay marriage was overturned in California. It'll be interesting to see how this turns out.

Edited by Evolence, 10 May 2012 - 02:58 PM.


#16
Ms. Spam

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This is political posturing forced on him by Biden. Obama at least wanted to wait 'til November to make this announcement. It came on the heals of some critical fund raising efforts. Now the president will need to fight to keep the ones that elected him in place in 08 voting for him as those black Americans and Latino's definitely do not agree with this definition of marriage.

#17
Justus

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So Obama, who supported gay marriage in 1996 -- then opposed it when it became inconvenient during his move to national stage -- has "evolved" once again? What a load of bull****. This isn't evolution so much as a calculated political risk.


At last! Someone knows Obama's full-of-**** flip-flopping on the matter. He's simply betting on this oft-mentioned " (and oft-stereotyped) young voter to push his ass over the finish line in November. Clearly, if the believed he could run without the full weight of his liberal boosters, he would have held on to his fake-assed "evolution" schtick.

Moreover, Obama continues to take the African American and hispanic vote for granted, and like many a talking/typing head, he places blinders on to underestimate how socially conservative many in those communities are. They assume the changing views of some younger voters blankets all races, which is not the case. You're more likely to find younger, liberal whites melting the ice to gay marriage than minorities of either party who embraced faith to an arguably stronger degree (particularly since several generations are the product of historic political movements that were framed in religious terms). For the socially conservative African Americans & hispanics, there's no spin job, no wink and grin Obama can use to justify his latest stand,

#18
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The move was absolutely calculated. Biden may be gaffe-prone, but there's a difference between a gaffe and what Biden said. A gaffe is when you're caught off guard, usually at a spontaneous interview event, by saying something stupid or non-sensical. There was nothing spontaneous or terribly "slip of the tongue" of what Biden did. If you watch the interview, Biden went on with his views for like a minute. It even sounded rehearsed. Finally, we have to look at the context. This is Meet the Press. Even though some people still think it's a "hardball" news show, it really isn't- the questions are amazingly soft-batch and you don't get anything out of left field. Given the amount of news coverage surrounding the NC vote, it was almost a certainty that Biden would be asked the question, and he knew exactly what he was going to say.

Obama's move will likely have little to no effect on the election. Turnout of the liberal base will not swing any states. The degree to which he pisses off white evangelicals will not swing any states. Justus is right to point out that some minority groups hold a very different opinion on this than white liberals, but he is wrong to give it any weight whatsoever; since a) the Black vote is not a swing vote that will carry any swing states, and b) Black turnout, even if slightly lower, will still be over 90% in favor of Obama due to racial identity politics.

Now, T, as to your point- I think it is possible (unlikely, but possible) that the issue is enough to swing voters in NC, but I do not think NC is important. If you take a look at this table (click the link and scroll down half way), the state that put Obama over the top (i.e. 270 votes) was not NC. That state was CO; Obama could have lost VA, OH, FL, IN, and NC, and still won the election. I'll go into more detailed analysis in my elections thread, which I'll be bumping momentarily, but the point is that Obama can lose NC, he can lose IN, he can even lose OH (those are the 3 states likely to backlash over this), and he still wins the election. The GOP needs to pick up somewhere between 7-8 states to win, and this alone will not do it. The economy? That might. But not this.

#19
monkeygirl

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... I can see where it was probably a slip.

I'd prefer this. That would be HILARIOUS!

#20
Tank

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Wait... An entire THIRD of Obama's biggest donators are openly gay? Source? Hyperbole?

#21
Jason Solo

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Entirely political in its timing, absolutely. But I can't see it not benefiting him, especially when Romney has idiots like Bristol Palin talking about a marriage institution that has lasted unchanged for "thousands of years". LOL. The man would do nothing but benefit in his bid for the White House to do everything he can to distance himself from that dumb family.

#22
Darth Krawlie

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Wait... An entire THIRD of Obama's biggest donators are openly gay? Source? Hyperbole?


I read a sixth on electoral-vote.com

#23
Pong Messiah

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One sixth is what I got, too. Of course, that could be one third in hyperboleze.

:eek:

#24
tsquare

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Hmmm...


The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney earning 50% of the vote and President Obama attracting 43% support. Four percent (4%) would vote for a third party candidate, while another three percent (3%) are undecided.


Matchup results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update).

This is the first time Romney has reached the 50% level of support and is his largest lead ever over the president. It comes a week after a disappointing jobs report that raised new questions about the state of the economy.


http://www.rasmussen...l_tracking_poll

#25
tsquare

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Wait... An entire THIRD of Obama's biggest donators are openly gay? Source? Hyperbole?


I mis-spoke (mis-remembered) 1/6 is the number

About one in six of Obama’s top campaign “bundlers” are gay, according to a Washington Post review of donor lists, making it difficult for the president to defer the matter. Activists are planning a campaign for the adoption of a pro-gay-marriage plank in this year’s Democratic Party platform. And a series of referendums this year on same-sex marriage — including one in the swing state of North Carolina on Tuesday — are putting the issue at the forefront.


http://www.washingto...A88T_story.html

16% when the gay population is at most 4%



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