The days and weeks leading up to Election Day 2012 were filled with all sorts of things to catch one's eye. From leaked videos to an all out natural disaster, we were all kept on our toes and by Tuesday, November 6th, most of us were ready to be done with the whole thing. While every election day has it's share of robust talk from both sides of the aisle, something rather interesting kept coming from Romney supporters on Twitter.
Here's an example:
The idea took off and 23,000 retweets later, people were echoing this theory all over the place.
Someone even made an e-card with the same sentiment. Something to share with your friends and loved ones.
"Happy Election Day! All Obama supporters are jobless lay abouts with nothing better to do than vote for him while you're working... Yay!"
This charmer followed up in the afternoon on election day just to repeat the same thing, in case folks were too busy working to see it the first time:
Of course, you know what happened. President Obama won and there was no freak Republican flood of votes right at quitting time. Obama's early lead turned into a middle lead and a late lead and then a very decisive win. But that didn't stop Romney supporters from using that warm, worn-from-use blanket of the welfare-receiving-Obama-voter to hunker down with after their defeat. Just as Obama supporters started to celebrate their victory, this tweet pops up:
Clearly it struck a chord as it got over 17,000 retweets and hundreds of people tweeted nearly identical tweets throughout the following day. Here, comedy and hair blogger Francesca Ramsey posted this screenshot of what she was seeing on Facebook on election night. She posted it with the statement: "thanks #obama for helping me clean up my Facebook "friends" #election2012"
While usually I'm pretty good about rolling my eyes at the nonsense people say on Twitter, it's hard to when a lot of those early voters, who got their votes in before this mythical post-work republican voting swell was supposed to happen, looked like this (this is Florida):
And the crowds who celebrated the President's re-election all through the night looked mostly like this:
It's hard not to bristle at these kinds of statements and then cringe at their enthusiastic reception. The use of people of color as economic scapegoats is nothing new and our first black President being described as one happy with the handouts is already four years old. I've posted about dog whistles here before and the not-so-subtly coded and racialized dialogues candidates use to drum up fear and support from their base. I get it! Haters are gonna hate and folks were extra salty on election night. Still, it was the incredible popularity of these kinds of tweets on social media, both on election day and the morning after, that makes me wonder this:
Where does it end?
These sentiments aren't candidate based, they're anchored in the base, and often times it's the young voters in their base at that (check out this Jezebel article about racist tweeters the day after the election). Can we ever have a civil bipartisan country when one side of the aisle thinks the other are a bunch of lazy, shiftless drains on the system? It can't help that the side being labeled as shiftless is also the side that has most of the black and brown people on it.
What do you think? Is there any hope?