Are We Getting Along Yet?: Post-election Politicos Share Thoughts on Another Historic Election

Professor David McCuan had several four-letter words to describe the reasons for the outcome of the 2012 election---Math, Data, and Womb.

"It was a victory for science,' he declared to the standing room only crowd that filled Schulz 3001 on the day after the Nov. 6 election at his now traditional post-election panel.

The political science professor can be counted upon to round up a group of local politicos after each major election cycle to explore the reasons for victory and defeat.

This time he was beaming about the success of the polling models.

Polling has shown itself a strong predictor in the effort to understand voter behavior and attitudes and McCuan called it "a humbling experience" to watch the models work so well.

This election was about independents, the Internet, ideas and identity as we move forward. It was an historic election on many levels," he said.

SSU president Ruben Arminana, one the five panelists that included newspaper editors and a Santa Rosa City Council candidate, said "those Chicago boys and girls really know how to run an election. They put together a terrific coalition and ground game, just like in 2008."

"Romney lost the election in the primaries," said Arminana, tainted by Republican adversaries who created an image of "a scary rich man who was detached from the everyday wishes and concerns of the ordinary person."

The SSU president also said "the Tea Party and their wacko, stupid candidates did great damage to the party. They are just too attached to what happens in the womb. They need to appeal to Latinos and women."

As for the passage of Proposition 30, which will pull the California State University system from its own fiscal cliff, Arminana says he can now "sleep better at night."

The passage of Proposition 30 means reimbursement for fees for last semester, he explained. "It does not add a penny to higher education. It just prevents them from taking more money. It's passage was attributed in the end to the undecided - women and mothers."

The newspaper editors at the table echoed Arminana's ideas and expanded upon them.

Paul Gullixson, editorial director of the Press Democrat, said "an election is always about turnout and the Obama machine did a great job."

More than a mandate for Obama, the election is a repudiation of the Republicans and the Tea Party, he said. "All they had to do was defeat a president who faced a large unemployment rate."

Bohemian editor Gabe Meline said "journalists and citizen-journalist did their job," citing the undercover video capture of Romney's 47% remark to his base at a private party and the work of independent press like his newspaper's own investigative articles.

Jim Sweeney, a Press Democrat editorial writer, added a contrarian view that, as Republican House Speaker John Boehner noted "our mandate is as big as theirs," the country could look forward to more "whipsawing" between the two parties until they learn to the art of compromise.

Sweeney also tried unraveling for the audience the realities of the new top two tier election system where Democrat vs. Democrat campaigns could include some candidates not as honestly "blue state" as some voters would think. A big impact on local elections lies ahead, he predicts.

Getting along was also the theme of Caroline Banuelos' remarks about her experiences trying to storm the walls of the Santa Rosa City Council.

Banuelos is an SSU poli sci alum who has served the city for ten years as a volunteer and is president of the Sonoma County Democratic Club. She also serves on the Santa Rosa planning commission. She had lost her attempt to serve on the council the night before as well as saw Measure Q, the proposal to conduct elections by district in the city council race, fail.

She painted a picture of being regularly being excluded from input to Council activities due to her "views" and also had criticism about the local press who she says "does not listen."

For more from the panel on Measure Q, the need for more socializing in politics, voter suppression and the electoral college, see the entire discussion in the video above.

- Jean Wasp

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