Glued to my television last night, I, like probably millions of other Canadians, watched as the blue states and red states were tallied until President Barack Obama defeated former Governor Mitt Romney.
Last night and over the course of the American election campaign, I could not help but think of the similarities between the missed opportunities of the Republican Party in this election and Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Party in Alberta’s recent provincial election.
Admittedly, the comparison is not perfect, but as someone who has immersed himself in Alberta politics and, for the past few months, American politics, I could not help but notice some similarities.
Both parties likely had opportunities for significant electoral gains, yet both suffered or were seen to have suffered electorally because of the extreme elements of their electoral coalitions.
Just as the “bozo eruptions” made by Reverends Allan Hunsperger and Ron Leech drove moderate Alberta voters away from Ms. Smith’s party earlier this year, the cruel and mean-spirited “rape” comments made by extreme right-wing Tea Party Republicans Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Murdock in Indiana appear to have driven moderate voters away from the Republican Party. As some pundits have suggested, the American bozo eruptions may have cost the Republicans the opportunity to win back states that they narrowly lost to the Democrats in 2006.
It was promising to see that moderate American voters rejected this type of politics. It was also promising to see American voters support ballot initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage in a handful of states, turning the tide back against years of electoral attacks on marriage equality. In Wisconsin, Democrat Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay Senator, which is made more exciting because her sexual orientation does not appear to have even be an issue during the election campaign.
For those of you who did not have the energy to stay awake into the early hours of the morning to listen to President Obama’s victory speech, you can watch it in the video below.
If only our political leaders could work up an ounce of President Obama’s charisma and powerful speaking skills, Canadian politics could be so much more inspiring.