The Top 10 Lessons of the 2012 Presidential Election

What we learned about Republicans, Glenn Beck, Karl Rove and other key players.

10. The Tea Party? Not much of a party.

If there’s one thing 2012 proved conclusively, it’s that the Republican Party needs to be more and not less inclusive. That means shedding itself of associations to the “wackadoodles” who cost the GOP a couple of Senate seats. When even Lindsay Graham says, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term,” change is in the air. Too bad, Tea Party Tom Smith.

9. ¡Vivan los Latinos!

As much as he tried to play up his (ha!) Mexican roots, Mitt Romney never had a chance with Hispanics, who didn’t seem at all eager to self-deport. He scored a scant 27 percent of the Latino vote, compared to the 40 percent that went for George W. Bush in 2004 and John McCain’s 31 percent in 2008. No one who stands up for the anti-immigration bullying in Jan “I Love Me Some Guns” Brewer’s Arizona will ever be elected president again.

8. Old white men should not talk about rape.

No, they should not, as this “GOP Rape Advisory Chart” (categories include “Emergency Rape,” “Easy Rape” and “Gift-From-God Rape”) makes clear.

7. Glenn Beck’s direct line to God isn’t working very well.

In the days leading up to the election, the Pale and Flabby Oz informed his listeners that all was proceeding according to God’s plan to see Mitt Romney elected. The day after the election, the Pale and Flabby Oz said, and I quote: “Man, sometimes God really sucks.”

6. Money walks. Bullshit does, too.

You can’t buy the presidency. This may be the most heartwarming lesson of all, and it might even be worth the tons of cash and waves of indignation and vitriol and bad, bad, bad ads. For all the hand-wringing over the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, the billions of bucks poured into this election by would-be hijackers like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Karl Rove (see number 3) in attempts to poison races weren’t enough to swamp President Obama’s smaller, humbler, but wider-spread financial base. It is, of course, possible that the Republicans may get smarter about how to spend their ad dollars in future races. Wait—nah.

5. Most Americans support health-care reform.

Despite a host of efforts to scare them into opposing Obamacare—including wild-eyed last-ditch preaching from Catholic pulpits that a vote for the President endangered one’s eternal soul—the majority of Americans, who have experienced firsthand (unlike, say, priests and pols) the unreformed system, came out in favor of it.

4. Cell phones have changed politics forever.

It used to be that guys sat around in smoke-filled rooms, making deals to keep themselves in power. Guess what? They still do. But somebody has to come and empty out the ashtrays, and fetch the brandy, and wipe the tables. And all those somebodies now have, tucked into their apron pockets, weaponry that can bring a presidential campaign down.

3. Science trumps blowhardery.

This nifty graphic from Slate illustrates in dartboard form the relative accuracy of left-wing and right-wing pundits in predicting the election’s outcome. Let’s just say the right-wingers would be very, very dangerous in bars. On the other hand, Nate Silver may be thin and effeminate, but he’s also right. Suck it, Dean Chambers.

2. Karl Rove is batshit crazy.

In the words of the astonished Megyn Kelly, “But he won, Karl. He won.”

1. The American people can tell when someone is lying.

They realized Chris Christie was sincere, and they recognized that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were not. What a refreshing revelation. Now, let’s get to work, everybody, and put America back together again.