Emergence of a New Breed of Voter

Obama’s win is significant as it celebrates the importance of a new kind of citizen—a global intellectual, who sees himself in relation to his community and environment, recognizing equality of all, and valuing the effort of his fellow human beings. This citizen has distanced himself from the society the Republicans represent that seems utterly male-dominated, with values that are outdated and totally uncompromising, sanctimonious and indifferent to the needs of non-whites. The ethnic composition of the American population is constantly changing; that is what makes this country unique. This is the only President who recognized this fact, judging by the cultural diversity of his campaign volunteers. In fact, nobody who owns a computer these days, conducts business on it, communicates with different parts of the world and exploits the information he receives has any right now to regard himself racially superior or to even claim gender superiority. 

The Republican candidate for the Senate in the State of Missouri, Todd Akin’s comment on “legitimate rape” reveals an appalling ignorance, an inexcusable insensitivity and gross callousness. EMILY’S List, an organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to political office, was spurred into action by this comment.  They supported the rival candidate Claire McCaskill, spending over $255,000 on her campaign, and led her to victory.  The organization’s mission is to “continually make investments to help women develop political skills and cultivate resources so that we can bring more women into politics and elected office. Only then can we build a lasting progressive majority dedicated to social justice, civil rights, diversity, economic reform and compassion—and construct a society that values the contributions of all of its citizens.” The Republican landscape is not palatable any more.  Their priorities do not reflect a changing world. They are stuck on abortion, religion and marriage every election year. People came to this country to practice their religion without fear of persecution. Yet they force Christian values on others, find it hard to separate Church from the State and impose outrageous restrictions on women seeking abortion. Their pro-life arguments are based on religious reasons, namely that killing of the fetus is the killing of a sentient life.  It is hypocritical of them, in that case, to promote guns, and the killing of 90,000 cows every single day. 

Martha C. Nussbaum in her article “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism” (Boston Review, Oct/Nov, 1994) argues, “The American student must learn to recognize humanity wherever she encounters it and be eager to understand humanity in its ‘strange’ guises.” Since the place of birth is but an accident, “we should not allow differences of nationality or class or ethnic membership or even gender to erect barriers between us and our fellow human beings.  We should recognize humanity wherever it occurs and give its fundamental ingredients, reason and moral capacity, our first allegiance and respect.” This extends to illegal immigrants in this country. Politics and compassion seem strange bedfellows. Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer denied drivers licenses and other benefits to illegal immigrants who could take advantage of President Obama’s ‘deferred action” immigration policy.  The President won 75% of the Latino vote last night. Elise Foley of The Huffington Post reports that, “Immigration isn’t the top issue for most—jobs and the economy rank higher—but it remains an important one, and for many Latino voters it’s something of a litmus test.  If a politician seems to disrespect immigrants or Latinos overall, or if the party seems uninterested in winning their votes, the support isn’t going to come.  This year, it didn’t.”  Although Romney won the State of Arizona, he faced intense opposition from the Latino voters.  

Presidential candidates must express their concern for social development as much as their concern for economic development.  The nature of the family unit has changed, lifestyles have changed, and gender roles have been redefined. How do we understand these trends without a solid foundation of education?  Mitt Romney has been particularly silent on the subject of educational reform.  NEA(National Education Association) President Dennis Van Roekel told The Huffington Post that, “education is key to the nation’s success and helping us solidify the economic recovery of the last few years.” Van Roekel said, “President Obama gets that, it’s why he’s supported education programs from early childhood through making college more affordable. Mitt Romney just doesn’t get that true education reform takes all stakeholders — educators, parents, and community — working together for students. Being divisive and providing kids with only the education they can afford hurts all of us in the end.”  Recognizing the need for reform is the job of the public service official.  He represents the people, and steps in when there is a pressing need for interference. Instead, Romney saw government intervention as an opportunity for the poor people to behave like victims and not take responsibility for their lives: “These are people who pay no income tax.  Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that is what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

What ultimately happened was Romney did not convince them to vote for him.  The thinking man rejected him.  A new breed of voter has emerged.  He is the world citizen who craves economic stability but respects human dignity more.