As I’ve made my presidential endorsement and my prediction as to how next Tuesday’s election will go, it’s clear to see that I both want and expect Barack Obama to win a second term as president. But what if I’m wrong, and what if I don’t get my way? What if I wake up on Wednesday morning in a world where Mitt Romney is the President-Elect of the United States of America? How will I feel about it and how will it affect me personally?
Well, I won’t feel great about it, of course. No one really likes it when their presidential candidate of choice doesn’t win the election. Up to this point I’ve had that happen 50% of the time I’ve voted for a president. I don’t really remember liking it any of those times. The time I felt the most sanguine about it, actually, was in 2000, when I thought George W. Bush might actually be the sort of moderate fellow he’d advertised himself as during the campaign. Look where that got me. But in each case, the “feeling somewhat depressed about my presidential candidate getting the thumbs down” phase lasted about a week. I figure there’s no point in marinating in it after that. There’s too much to do.
As for how it will affect me personally: Guys, I’m a white, heterosexually-paired, well-off dude. I’m on the right side of the divide, for various definitions of “right,” many deeply ironic. The GOP is going to go out of its way to make sure nothing bad ever happens to me. If Romney gets his way, I’ll be getting a tax cut, so my already historically-low federal tax burden will get even lighter. Being well-off I don’t use a whole lot of obvious federal government services, so on a day-to-day basis I wouldn’t notice any immediate change. Likewise I am well-positioned to take short-term advantage of any relaxed financial regulations the new president is likely to attempt to enact. Basically, in the short term at least, there’s not much downside to a Romney presidency for me.
Also, I’m not going to lie to you: if Romney becomes president, I’m going to take advantage of every single break he would give me, because the long-term effects of his intended social and economic plans are, in my opinion, largely ruinous. I would be stupid not to insulate myself and my family as much as possible against the day when that bill comes due. Sure, I’ll give to charity and all that; I do already. I don’t pretend that giving to charity has the same systematic benefit as paying taxes.
(Now, this is the part where the fatuous would say “you could always pay more to the government if you want!” Sorry, no. Say there’s a dam that’s been built, for which I am willing to pay my share of its upkeep but not enough others are. When that dam is cracking all across its surface, I’m not going to listen to the idiot who didn’t pay for upkeep screaming “stick your finger in that one tiny hole!” while he’s running for higher ground as fast as he can. I’m going to already be on that higher ground, watching him try to outrun the deluge.)
Bear in mind that Romney getting to enact the more dam-cracking aspects of his proposed agenda is contingent on the GOP winning back the Senate, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s already told Romney he can forget trying to get most of his proposed agenda past the upper house. On one hand, the polls tell us that the GOP taking the Senate is unlikely. On the other hand, the polls also tell us that Romney winning is unlikely as well. If I’m willing to assume the polls on Romney are wrong, I should also be able to believe that they’re possibly wrong on the Senate front as well. So if Romney wins, I suspect a better than even chance on the Senate going GOP. In which case Romney should have no problem passing the more reactionary aspects of his agenda and/or the GOP should have no problem getting the President to sign his name on their most reactionary bills. In which case, again: Lucky for me I’m a white, well-off, heterosexually-paired-off dude.
If Romney wins but the Senate stays in Democratic hands then what we’ll have is a right-leaning version of the status quo, in which Romney uses his executive power to neutralize as much as possible the things he can’t get Congress to change, and starts working on the 2014 mid-term elections. From my personal political point of view, this is about as optimal as it’s going to get under a Romney presidency, although it might mean I forego a tax cut or two. Or maybe not, as the congressional Democrats seem to be spineless about tax cuts for the well-off.
So, again: Personally speaking, as political matters go, I’ll be just fine under Romney, just as I’m likely to be fine under any GOP presidency. The GOP sees me at its kind of people — or at the very least, I get swept along as collateral under its definition of what “its kind of people” is. After the sting of not having my guy win, I’ll be chugging along nicely. So don’t you worry about me.
But if you’re not like me — white, well-off, male and heterosexually-paired — you might worry about yourself.