Nov 8, 2012

Local lessons from the US: social issues really count

The US elections reflect how important social issues can be in the hands of deft politicians. Barack Obama successfully tapped into minority issues and progressive values.

There are parallels for Australia in the results of the US elections this week, not so much in the race for the White House but in some of the smaller races in the Senate and state polls where gay rights and women succeeded and influenced the votes in unprecedented numbers.

At the same time, right-wing billionaires couldn’t spend their way to a Republican victory. Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News attack dogs failed to have an impact; all the billions raised and wasted by America’s mega rich — from the reclusive billionaire Koch brothers (who have financed much of the anti-Obama and pro-Tea Party campaigning in recent years) to Mitt Romney’s biggest individual backer in ancient gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson — went for nought. Old white conservative billionaires lost, and lost badly.

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13 thoughts on “Local lessons from the US: social issues really count

  1. The Pav

    I am an old , wealthy white male (OWWM) and Murdoch et al do not represent me not=r does Alan Jones and his ilk.

    I suspect OWWM’s are not all as the article suggests but the pperception created by a couple of prominent ones

    Being an OWWM does not eradicate one’s social conscience

  2. klewso

    Murdoch has balancing competition for “edited news high-lights” there.

  3. SusieQ

    It was so much fun watching Fox News for even just a few minutes yesterday to see the disappointment and the bitterness……..

  4. Salamander

    It’s reassuring to know that mad politics in a “democracy” can finally go too far so that eventually reality bites! The extreme right wing might have finally overreached itself in the insanity of the Tea Party. In spite of the House of Reps, it looks a bit more hopeful to me.

  5. Tom Jones

    What is interesting is how similar the views about women are with those held by the Taliban. Almost a mirror image except that women of the old rich white men are allowed to be seen and heard if they are saying how great said men are.

  6. Wayne Carveth

    Barack Obama’s re-election was a relief. The humiliation of Rupert Murdoch & Donald Trump was pleasure.

  7. beachcomber

    “There is much for local conservatives to contemplate in the wake of the US elections. Little of it is good.” Especially not for Abbott.

    Obama won with massive unemployment, minimal growth and a looming financial crisis, none of which Gillard is burdened with.

    Social issues are an albatross around Abbott’s neck, and he can’t shrug them off. He will now be replaced in the New Year.

  8. MJPC

    I am surprised that this article did not broach the subject of the GFC and the matter that Romney (and his teaparty supporters) represented everything bad about capitalism. I believe that rampant capitalism is a failed philosophy in the US, because the GFC showed that the ordinary worker in the US was roundly taken to the cleaners and the big end of town was again bailed out, even though their greed bought the world economy to the brink of world wide depression.
    Why would any sane voter in the US vote for a party that’s sole reason d’entre is to lower the tax for the rich and shaft the poor. President Obama, despite his faults, still offered hope for the working poor and unemployed in the US, something the Republicans never did except for their fellow travellers (remember Mitt’s recorded speech to the big end of town). The Replicans deserved to lose and I too am glad they did.
    I concur with beachcomber, this is a wake up call for those who would suggest Mr Abbott for PM. The ordinary Australian has a greater social conscience that voters in the US, and the Labour party will learn a lot from the US experience.

  9. klewso

    MJPC – because they’re not all “sane” (running on prejudice, fed as that is, for the political ends of others, and afraid to have that “infallability” – reinforced as it is – challenged), but they are allowed to vote?

    [Murdoch’s politicsised edited view of reality, here, isn’t in competition, and thus balanced, as much as it is there – their Conservatively bent, heavily “edited high-lights” control, from it’s market share of perception-shaping, still dominates our media and our “news”.]


    Romney garnered just 2 million more votes than McCain, which was clearly not enough and completely failed to see the turnout for Obama would be very strong. In other words they constructed a bubble of falsehoods, fashioned out of their near religious conviction in their cause and little else. Here was the ‘word’s greatest CEO’ surrounding himself with yes men, arming himself with discredited ‘trickle down economics’ and an alarming ignorance of who America is today. Today, America is not the America of the 1950’s, and Mitt Romney just spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to find that out the hard way.

    Republicans can either choose to join the country or secede. My hunch is they will try the latter first.

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