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Karlasaurus Rove

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The 2012 US Presidential election is over, and congratulations to Barack Obama. The internet is filled with infinite analyses on what the election means, both in the short term and the long term, so I won’t go on too long about my impressions.

But a couple of things are clear and worth noting.

First, the game of politics in the United States has changed, empowered now by technologies ranging from social media to big data forecasting. Secondly, the make-up of the American voting population has changed, as more Hispanic Americans, young people and women assert themselves electorally.

These two facts work against the traditional Republican establishment that was so successful in electing George W. Bush in 2000. And it seemed to catch them by surprise. Perhaps the most poignant and telling moment for me (and many others) was Republican strategist Karl Rove’s election night meltdown on Fox News.

Here’s the video, in case you missed it.

The point here isn’t Ohio, of course, and I have little interest in heaping ridicule on Rove or the arrogance of Fox News (well, maybe a little). But really, Rove’s meltdown is a telling moment in the sense that here is an aging white male establishment political strategist protesting stubbornly against the behavior of a nation that no longer seems to operate the way he expects it to.

The beautiful subsequent sequence when the Fox crew consult their own data geeks sharpens the poignancy of Rove’s meltdown.

Rove looked like a dinosaur. Karlasaurus Rove.

The fact is that Karl Rove’s generation and assumptions are rapidly aging, no matter how much he might wish to deny it. It’s there, demographically. American voters are young, multi-ethic, tech-savvy, and female. It’s there, culturally too. There is support for gay marriage. There is support for the legalization of marijuana.

It’s tough to know exactly how demographic, cultural and technological trends will impact the US political process in the future, but they will continue to impact it. That much is certain.

It’s also possible that we’ll see more statisticians than strategists next time around.

Author: Eric Kingsbury

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