Today’s N&O story by Jay Price and Mandy Locke captured a telling vignette from the competing political rallies by the “Spending Revolt” bus tour and Organizing For America: Both featured videos of President Obama.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with a thoughtful Republican. He opined that the anger driving this year’s election is, yes, based partly on concerns about the economy and federal spending. But he also sees a “cultural divide” in the nation.
He said many Republicans feel, like he does, that “this isn’t the America I grew up in.”
He’s right. It isn’t. And Barack Obama angers many Americans simply because he is the walking, talking manifestation of that change.
Change, after all, is what he ran on in 2008.
But it’s more than a change in policies and national priorities, more than health-care reform. And it’s more than whatever racial and religious hostilities lurk in some dark, disturbed souls.
It’s about a deep social, cultural and demographic transformation that we are undergoing. America is becoming younger, more educated, more diverse (that is, less white) and more secular.
That kind of voter drove the 2008 election by turning out in huge numbers and electing Obama in a landslide. Those are the voters Obama and OforA are trying to energize this year.
But, as of now, the angry voters on the other side are driving the election.
Whatever happens this year, these two opposing forces – the people who were at yesterday’s two rallies – will be battling for years to come.