Barack Obama is our president-elect and will become the 44th President of the United States. But I don’t want to focus on what this means for this country, or speculate on his choices for his cabinet. There will be plenty of those stories in the coming months. No, I want to focus on the loser of this election, John McCain
John McCain lost this election by an electoral landslide, and roughly seven percent of the popular vote. When looking at the results of the election, the voter breakdown for each man is telling. It seems McCain and the Republicans lost in three important categories.
First, taxes. Obama proposed a tax hike on families making $250,000 or more a year, and they voted for him. McCain proposed a tax cut for this same group, and they said no. This shows voters almost ignoring taxes as a main theme for this race and instead focusing on the broader economy as the core issue.
The next is race. Nearly a large majority of eligible black voters voted in this election an awesome statistic and roughly 95 percent of them voted for Obama. For a few decades now Democrats have been able to count on black voters but nominating Obama may have cemented the black vote for Democrats for several generations.
Latino voters on the other hand have been consistently Republican over the last few elections, which most attribute to the number of orthodox Catholics in this population and their concern over social issues. The Latino vote seemed to be a lock for McCain as prior to his presidential campaign. McCain was known for his efforts in immigration reform, but in a move to solidify the Republican base shifted his campaign platform to be starkly anti-immigration. As a result 60 percent of Latino voters went for Obama. This may have also shifted the Latino vote to the Democrats across the board. This change may prove costly to Republicans as this group slowly moves towards being the majority in this country by 2050.
Finally, women. After the bitter primary battle between Obama and Clinton, McCain’s campaign made obvious moves to draw in distraught Hillary voters, culminating in his selection of Governor Sarah Palin. The pick was an obvious attempt to draw in female voters desperate to elect a woman to the executive office. The move backfired. The effect at the polls was clear with 48 percent of white females voting for Obama and 56 percent of women total siding with the Democrat.
These groups comprise the future demographic of America. The GOP as a whole needs to sit down and think about how they are going to change tactics to survive. Because if these same demographics vote in this same pattern 2 and 4 years from now the GOP will no longer exist as the party we now know.
But the question I really want to examine is what becomes of Sen. McCain? McCain has been a very influential and powerful Senator, leading efforts to reform campaign finance, immigration, and opposing radical elements of his own party. That image was tarnished by his 2008 campaign for president.
McCain had steep odds from the beginning, with an incredibly unpopular Republican president and a majority of voters still placing most of the blame for the countries current situation of the 2006 outgoing Republican congress. But McCain did little to separate himself from his party line, in fact, he moved sharply in 2008 to shore up his conservative credentials to convince Republicans to give him the Republican nomination. This move was almost necessary to win his nomination but made it difficult if not impossible to win the general election amongst liberals and independents.
That leaves the question, where does McCain stand in history? A proud American war hero who had become an icon of independent leadership in government and doing what’s right even when it means you may lose, is left as an after thought because of his attempt to win the White House.
As someone who was more than disappointed when Sen. McCain didn’t receive the Republican nomination for President in 2000 it seems impossible to me that he now will represent forever the perfect metaphor for a historic, demographical, ideological, and generational change in American. As is often said, you can’t make this stuff up. An old rich white male senior Senator representing the party of old rich white males was defeated soundly by a relatively young biracial male who, while not poor, does not come from money, and who has not even finished his first full term in the senate.
We will see how McCain responds to his election loss and if he returns to the form of 2000 McCain. If so, he may be remembered in a positive light instead of as opposition to history. I can only hope the 2000 Sen. McCain returns and works diligently to hold President Obama to the same values and ethics he once stood for. He took a large step Tuesday night in his concession speech to regaining his old tone and candor. I hope for his sake, and ours, he continues on that path.
Edward Trevorrow is a student at West Chester University. He can be reached at ET666499@wcupa.edu