James Carville, in discussing his 2009 book on the emerging democratic majority, places demographics front and center in the 2012 election.
Many other pundits have joined in, reaching the same conclusions, and the arguments they make are sound and convincing. When we look at the actual increases from the bell weather year of 2008, we can be even more convinced. Who would have predicted an increase in the youth vote? A decrease in the overall white vote? A decrease in the actual number of registered republicans voting during a cycle of such virulent dissatisfaction with the present White House?
But something else happened this year, and it was part of an emerging storm. Perhaps a firestorm. In 2011, a growing movement made up of various groups--some of them longstanding activists, some of them not--almost succeeded in removing the republican governor from office in Wisconsin. They did not win this recall, but We Are Wisconsin did not dismantle their organization. They continued to raise money and awareness and they used the resources they had built up to make a difference during this election. In other states, it was the issue of voter suppression that led to the formation of strong, effective grass roots organizations. In Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio, these groups were utilized by the Obama field campaigns for the reach that they had to get out the vote and to help fan the flames of anger over republican tactics.
Rick Scott in Florida made things worse for his party by refusing to extend voting hours even when confronted with the facts: hundreds of thousands of his residents in the state where he was governor were standing in line for hours and hours. The optics were horrible. There was no spinning the images.
This was a year of justifiable anger. Occupy Wall Street had been laughed at and scoffed during this past year. Republican pundits had asked: whatever happened to them? See....we told you that they would dissolve. But they didn't dissolve. They became a new national "movement." http://www.examiner.com/... Not an organized movement. Democrats are never organized in the traditional sense (while republicans have little understanding of true "grass roots"). It takes a smart national campaign like the one the Obama team put together to help coalesce these cogent "pieces" into statewide fire starters.
On election day, nothing could've been more effective in puttting Obama over the top in Florida than Rick Scott. In Wisconsin, where the governor still smugly held the reins, the people spoke again. In Virginia, democratic voters stayed in line no matter what. And all across the battleground states, young volunteers stayed on the phones, followed through with instructions, knocked on doors and made contacts in the communities that paid off.
It wasn't just demographics that made the difference. It was also a building anger with the arrogance of the republican brand and their label for more than half of Americans--many of them struggling on a daily basis--as "takers" rather than "makers."
Ironic, considering how republicans reacted to Obama's "I didn't Make That" comment.