Thursday, November 8, 2012

Did Obama's re-election REC the country?

Updated: November 17, 2012
 
The electorate has spoken. And it appears to want to move beyond liberalism to secular humanism, empiricism, and pluralism! Is a secular government "guided by Reason, inspired by Compassion, and informed by Experience (Humanist Manifesto III) now possible? Did Obama's re-election REC the country?

My favorite post-election analysis so far: Jennifer Ouellette's piece in Scientific American on the "Math Honey Badger" and Jon Stewart’s bit on “Karl Rove’s Math.” And Ron Rosenbaum on the Bruce-factor. And a conservative, Wick Allison, on the core issue of fairness no less.

This election showed how data-driven analysis and well-run, demographic and/or issue targeted campaigns that add people to the electorate can be game changers to our broken electoral process.
“The Obama campaign found voters in battleground states that their opponents apparently didn’t know existed. The exit polls suggest that finding and turning out the winning coalition of young people, minorities and women was critical — and data-driven campaigning clearly played a role” (Oreilly).

The Atlantic and Slate have good pieces on the conservative “bubble” that made it all so fun to watch! But...try not to be mean while exercising your patriotic duty. And beware the smart campaign with big data on voters...
Be careful what you wish for. Understanding how people will vote in advance, and using marketing techniques to manipulate votes, are both scientific methods, but that's quite different from Madison's goal: focused critical thinking about policy and candidates on the merits. There's no turning back, but face the reality that these sophisticated means of assessing and changing the horserace may undermine Madison's noble ends: to apply scientific reasoning to public policy.
 - Sean Faircloth, Richard Dawkins Foundation
And don't expect this crushing defeat for the GOP to make them, or the country, a bunch of rational empiricists...


Finally, as noted in Slate, this was a good election for science and reason overall. And women, including a bisexual TED Fellow. And gay rights. And Charles Darwin! And pot heads. And it was a disaster for the religious right! The long campaign of politicized Christianity deeply infected by hate was finally marginalized (so expect them to become uglier and nastier). And the “Nones” may finally be a real political force to be reckoned with. We’re good at math and science, and we're on the march! So watch out "Christian conservatives"! The next party will be even more fun! Don't leave now.

For my tarheel readers who want to join the secular movement...


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