Perhaps the future is not as bleak as it appears. I started thinking about what happened in this election year and remembering some things that may have been glimpses of reality that went unnoticed. Back during the Republican primaries there was a field of candidates that was so far to the extreme right in their ideas that, truthfully, they were just not taken seriously by most Americans. Literally, most people laughed at them, or would have if it had not been feared that they represented who Republicans had become and that they would actually choose one of them as their candidate. The results of that primary, the nomination of Romney, may have been one of those glimpses of reality that went unnoticed. Is it possible that the result was because most Republicans didn’t take them seriously either? The fact is that Republicans rejected all but the most moderate of the lot. Romney’s choice for VP certainly did not inspire confidence except to that part of the party that had supported one of the other candidates in the primary. It suggested that Romney was as extreme as the others in the field that had been rejected. It was obviously meant to placate the supports of the losers in the primary and solidify their commitment to the nomination. Everyone expected, and were not disappointed, to see Romney move left after he had secured the nomination.
The conduct of the campaign raised eyebrows – no, it was just outright beyond belief. The flip-flopping on positions previously taken and blatant lies that left everyone’s mouth hanging open made one wonder what the campaign’s runners were thinking about; and it’s still hard to wrap ones head around. They obviously needed to keep their base on board, but (at least at the beginning of everything) they probably knew that the extreme right was way too small to actually win them the election. Were those running his campaign (and Romney too) themselves convinced by their own propaganda? The impression left is that they believed the positions of those candidates the party’s voters had rejected in the primaries were the positions held by the majority of all voters.
The size of the vote that Romney received in the general election would appear to suggest that almost half of the population hold those views, but does it? If you look at what happened to candidates in other races who hold those views you get a very different impression. There are hints out there that an optimist like me can point to and say, “Hey, things may not be as bad as they look.”