On Line Discussion Focuses on Election Stats to See Where We Go From Here

On 11/10/12, after the regular "Intro to CPUSA" webinar, I led a discussion that looked at statistics from the last election in order to see where we are in the class struggle and help determine what we should do next. President Obama won the 2012 electoral college 344 to 206. That's a 62.5% win. Worker-friendly candidates increased their strength in elections across the country. Liberal causes like gay marriage and recreational marijuana won. Working people celebrated. Unions celebrated. Communists celebrated.

Happy Democrats watching election returns

Anti-worker leaders were dismayed, along with a small segment of people, including workers, who were confused by the tremendous pressure from capitalism. This pressure included unprecedented $billions$, voter suppression laws, and capitalist control of almost all information sources.

Unions Hit the Ground Running with Post Election Fight Against Austerity

Union leaders map post-election plans
nov9 2012
WASHINGTON - Fresh off of a consequential U.S. election that saw union members vote by a 2-to-1 margin to reelect Democratic President Barack Obama and expand a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, union leaders started planning future legislative priorities for the labor movement.
But before they could even think about next year and beyond, they had to deal with an immediate problem: What to do about the "lame duck" session of the 112th Congress and the nation's "fiscal cliff" that lawmakers are supposed to avoid.
"Starting tomorrow - Yes, I said tomorrow! - working families will be more out in communities at close to 100 events to talk to members of Congress about the coming lame duck session and fiscal showdown," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka declared on Nov. 7. 
"We will send the message that it's time to say 'no' to benefit cuts for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and 'yes' to fair taxes on America's wealthiest 2%. It's time to rebuild America's middle class, not tear it down."
...And "it is time for our nation to move forward and continue the fight for economic and social justice for all Americans," Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley said in a statement.

...labor has other priorities down the road.  Some of them are:
*Trumka said "labor law reform," type unspecified, will always be the union movement's #1 priority. 
*AFT President Randi Weingarten and Service Employees Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina each placed comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to legal residence - and labor law protection - for undocumented workers high on next year's "to do" list....

Unions say the vote reflected a changing America
nov 8 2012

WASHINGTON - Union members scored a big victory Nov. 6 by re-electing president Obama. Equally big for them, however, was the success of pro-worker Democrats who ran for U.S. Senate seats in every one of the states where GOP governors and state lawmakers have been attacking the labor movement over the last two years.
Barely able to catch their breath after the impressive wins, however, union members are fanning out to over 100 cites across the country to demand that lawmakers act to create jobs and to demand no cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They are also pushing hard for higher taxes on the rich.
"This election was about a choice between two very different visions for our nation," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told a Nov. 7 post-election press conference here. "One vision rewards hard work and the people who do it, while the other benefits only those at the top...."

Communist Party Chairman Reflected the Importance of Election Victory

Democracy comes out on top on Nov. 6
november 6 2012
After a long and bitterly contested battle, the forces of inclusive democracy came out on top yesterday. The better angels of the American people spread their wings, as they went to the polls.

An African-American president was re-elected to the office of the Presidency, the Democrats unexpectedly strengthened their hand in the Senate and House, and victories, including big ones for marriage equality, were registered at the state level.

Moreover, the balance of forces - that is, the ground on which people fight going forward - has shifted in a progressive direction. And thanks in large measure goes to what might be the most notable development in this election - the emergence of a multi-racial, male-female, working-class-based electoral coalition that has the potential to transform America in the years and decades ahead....

Working people undoubtedly had an important victory, but how big a victory was it?

By Thursday afternoon, the state Division of Elections said on its website that Obama led Romney, 49.9 percent to 49.2 percent, with a difference of about 55,000 votes from more than 8 million votes cast. Several counties continued to count absentee ballots throughout the day.
An official declaration is expected Friday, and an Obama victory would give him 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.

As of Noon on Friday, with nearly all votes in, Obama assuredly will win the popular vote, leading Romney by a count of 61,173,739 or 50.5% to 58,167,260 or 48.0%. At this point, a few final votes are being counted and then all that's left is for the results to be officially certified.) //So he won by 3,006,479 or 2.5% of the votes cast.//

How many eligible voters are registered to vote in the United States?
Statistical Information and Demographics Questions
Best Answer
About 150 million. There are 207,643,594 eligible voters in the U.S. The census bureau estimates as of July have the US total population at 303,824,640. As of the 2006 general election the Voting Age Population (all adults) was 225,964,346 whereas the Voter Eligible Population (adults - ineligible people like felons or non-citizens) was 207,643,594. //That's 72%//

72% are Registered, 28% are not Even Registered!

Report shows turnout lower than 2008 and 2004
Posted by CNN's Kevin Liptak
(CNN) - A report estimating the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in Tuesday's election shows the rate was lower than in the past two presidential contests, though it surpassed the rate from 2000.
Thursday's report, from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, put 2012 voter turnout at 57.5% of all eligible voters, compared to 62.3% who voted in 2008 and 60.4% who cast ballots in 2004. In 2000, the turnout rate was 54.2%.

President Obama's Margin of Victory, Considering All Potential Voters, Was Only 1%!

//so, of 72% registered and eligible to vote, only 57.5% actually voted. So about 41.4% of the people who might have voted actually did vote.
Of those, President Obama got 50%. or 21% of the total number of people who could have voted for him. HIs margin in the popular vote was published as 2.5%. But if you figure that only 41.4% of those who might have voted actually did vote, he got a margin of 1.03%. That's how close it was//

voter turnout graph


Who's convinced, who needs convincing?

Obama, Romney split votes by age, race and gender, exit poll shows
The Associated Press
Mitt Romney took a majority of the over-45 vote, according to exit polls, while President Barack Obama kept the youth vote. 
07 November 2012 12:22 AM
* Obama wins convincing re-election, nearly sweeping battleground states
President Barack Obama rallied women, minorities and young people to his side Tuesday in a split of key voter groups with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Romney bested the president among the wealthy, white men and older voters.

Here’s a look at the early findings of a nationwide exit poll.
Gender gap
Obama repeatedly played up policies that he said benefited women, and they returned their votes in kind. They not only turned out in larger numbers than men, but they also backed Obama (55 percent) over Romney (43 percent).
Romney did better among men, but they made up 47 percent of the overall turnout.

Economy top issue
Sixty percent of voters said the economy was the biggest issue facing the country. About 40 percent said it was getting better, while a third said it was getting worse.

Other issues mentioned as top concerns: health care (18 percent) and the deficit (15 percent). A measly 4 percent said foreign policy was the top issue.

Blaming Bush
Four years after George W. Bush left office, about half of voters still believe he’s to blame for the weak economy. About 40 percent faulted Obama.
Romney had argued that Obama should bear the burden of a recovery that has been tepid at best. Obama said the country’s economic struggles are a result of the disastrous situation Bush left him. Democrats and Republicans, predictably, were split on the question. But independent voters — a key group — blamed Bush more than Obama.

Racial, age divisions
Obama got more than 93 percent of the votes from blacks and 71 percent from Hispanics. Romney beat him among whites, with 58 percent. Overall, the turnout among whites was slightly lower than in the 2008 election.

By age group, Obama prevailed among those 18 to 44 and Romney among those 45 and older.

vote by age

Obama: more in touch
Fifty-two percent of voters said Obama was more in touch with people like them, compared with 44 percent for Romney.
Voters also were more likely to say Obama, not Romney, stands for the middle class or the poor. Half said Romney’s policies generally favor the rich.

Taxing the wealthy
Broadly speaking, most voters said they were wary of raising taxes to lower the nation’s budget deficits. But nearly half said taxes should be increased on incomes over $250,000, as Obama proposes. //This statistic, and the one on immigration, are especially important//

Health care split
Fifty percent of voters favored repealing some or all of Obama’s health care law. Forty-three percent preferred that it be expanded or left as is.

Immigration overview
Only 3 in 10 voters said that most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be deported. Nearly two-thirds said such people should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.

Job approval score

Romney repeatedly sought to undermine Obama’s handling of the economy and other issues. But a narrow majority of voters approved of the way Obama is doing his job....

// We can conclude that working people won key victories on November 6th, but it was very close. Marxists take a dialectical approach to all this data. We recognize that the 2008 and 2010 elections reflected a trend toward a more progressive America, one that will give the working class more traction. But it is not a hard or substantial trend. It was close! Keep in mind that a trend toward victory, while good news, is not the same thing as a victory.

The continuing battle against austerity will intensify the class war that is already raging in America. The rich will continue to push, primarily through the Republicans, for tax cuts for themselves and heartbreaking reductions in everybody else's standard of living. Workers will fight it in the electoral arena and elsewhere.

As an ongoing supplement to the Little School, I help organize on-line discussions (webinars) from time to time. Your suggestions are welcome.

--Jim Lane