Presidents cannot win without policies to include and empower all Americans, not just the slices of communities needed for electoral success. President Obama and Democrats won a mandate to move us forward with jobs, healthcare reform, equality, and nation building here at home. How? By embracing the timeless political adage "demography is destiny."
America's demographic shift was obvious to everyone in the 2010 Census -- but Republicans stubbornly rejected math, facts, and polls to their electoral peril. While Republicans tailored their platform by and for the pale stale and male, among us, Obama and Democrats are embracing America's diverse mosaic.
Yes, Republican redistricting and Citizens United dollars helped them keep the House and elect conservative senators from red states. They had their victories among the demographics they targeted and are tempted to do what they did four years ago: convene at the Inauguration to stop all things Obama.
But here's the thing: Americans just rejected that. Americans who just voted to move America forward demand something bigger than obstruction; something better than othering; and something broader than the pale stale and male anti-Obamism. Consider:
• Republicans lost a new generation with Mad Men era social views and Jim Crow era voter ID laws that turned off young people. As I wrote in May, "young people need jobs and equality of opportunity -- they obviously didn't see those possibilities in the Republican primary field because that electorate was largely pale stale and male, with less than 10 percent of voters in Ohio and Florida under age 30."
• Republicans lost women (and the men who love us) by refusing to respect our privacy, even in a time of rape -- privacy's greatest violation -- while Democrats are standing up for women. What if Mitt Romney changed his own platform to include a rape exception for abortion -- an exception that he claimed to believe?
• Republicans lost Latinos by calling them "illegals" while Democrats are calling them "DREAMers." Little wonder that immigrants prefer the party offering a path to legalization over self-deportation. Karl Rove mailers called that "a plan that rolls out the red carpet for illegal immigrates" -- but even Rick Perry called it having a heart.
• Republicans lost gay Americans by opposing DADT repeal and banning same sex marriage while Democrats are embracing equality. The Cheneys and Obamas have evolved; currently elected Republicans need to catch up.
• Republicans lost auto state workers by attacking the bailout that saved jobs while Democrats are promoting investments in science, technology, and innovation. Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton helped make this case time and again. When Jeep executives had to step in to fact check "car guy" Mitt Romney, Ohio was over.
• Republicans lost Jewish voters by assuming that screaming "Bibi" "Benghazi" and "bomb Iran" would somehow move hearts and votes from the president who ended two wars, killed bin Laden, takes care of veterans, and has a close working relationship with Israel.
• Republicans couldn't win the seniors they did without vowing to protect Social Security and Medicare -- a promise Democrats intend to insist they keep when Congress reconvenes to address the fiscal cliff.
• Republicans lost the working poor because Romney's "47 percent" -- including Medicaid moms and veterans -- see themselves as makers not takers, regardless of what Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan says. The Wall Street crash of 2008 and Superstorm Sandy of 2012 were jarring reminders that Americans need smart government in times of personal and national emergencies, and that getting a hand up is not cause for shame or derision.
When you look at the demography, it is clear that America's destiny lies in policies that bring us together. Comprehensive jobs bills, immigration reform, tax policy and healthcare implementation will require policies that fulfill the campaign theme "we take care of our own and are stronger together."
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