Peter/Paul Principle - Whenever you promise to rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on the full support of Paul.
It was a day of foreboding that ended in an evening of doldrums. I did a little poll watching at the Rood Center while Jo Ann worked at the Republican HQ helping coordinate other poll watchers across the county. We assembled before the TV in the evening to see history being made. The final numbers are not in yet but Obama’s electoral count was above 300 and Romney’s was just above 200 when he conceded. Then we watched the speeches, and contemplated possible futures.
What struck us about this election all along were the diametrical options offered by the candidates. And when it came time to choose, our country split down the middle with half the voters seeing a bigger government as the better solution for America, while the other half saw government as the larger part of the many burdens which we already bear. The vote also turned strongly on racial lines.
But most telling was a datum presented by CBS that showed the vote going about 2 to 1 for Obama by people who made less than $50,000 a year, and almost exactly the same ratio going for Romney by people making over that amount. And we recall that $50,000 is the current median household income in America, which explains the 50-50 split in the popular vote. (The actual 2011 number reported by the US Census Bureau is $50,054.)
So after all is said, it turns out that economics was a strong factor in how people voted. As a low earner you didn’t have to understand the finer points of the economy to know how to vote. All you had to understand was whether you’d be mostly on the paying or receiving end of things before marking your ballot. We have again confirmed the lines that define our rift, but are no more sure today than yesterday about whether and how that knowledge will guide us in the direction to take America. Yogi Berra’s wisdom about forks in the road will not help us.