Isn't four million a nice big number? So hug that number and hold on to it through the next couple of anxious days.
And it's meaning? There are now 4 million MORE Latino registered voters than in 2008. Since Obama is pulling about 70% of Latinos, he could get about 2.8 million more votes than in '08 from this one group. (I said 4 million to open because it's a bigger and rounder number and thus more comforting. The difference between the two numbers is not as important as us hanging on to our sanity these next few days.)
This number illustrates the most important factor in American politics: two segments are growing rapidly: minorities and the young. And they are Democratic.
We will likely see the effect of this growth this week as the votes are tallied EVEN IF these groups DO NOT TURN OUT in as big a percentage as they did in 2008.
Go back and read that last sentence again.
Why is it true? Because the sheer numbers of these groups is growing so fast that a lower percentage turnout does not doom Obama's chances. That was true even in 2008. As the Obama campaign murmured about a year ago - and no one listened - the percentage of turnout among young voters was NOT remarkably higher in 2012 than in prior elections. Instead it was their sheer numbers that produced their big contribution to Obama's victory. And since 2008 a hell of a lot of more kids have come of age to vote.
Yes, there isn't the wild excitement visible on campuses and elsewhere as there was in 2008, but you have to face it, folks. The 2008 election campaign was a once-in-your-lifetime phenomenon. Treasure the memory, to be sure, but it's not a yardstick to measure against. It was a spectacle!
So what's the GOP answer to all this? Pat Boone.
Yup. That aged milk-toast sort-of-singer from the 1950s. Do you remember him? If you do, I feel sorry for you, not so much because it means you're old - being old is actually kind of fun - but because, of all the great memories we oldsters could have, Pat Boone is a disgusting one. He wasn't even 50s hip. He was a joke among us who knew how to rock and surf and started the great social revolutions that blossomed in the '60s and 70s. He was a jerk as well as a joke.
I thought he was DEAD!
But he's on the robophone, calling voters on behalf of Mitt Romney. This is a logical follow-up on Clint Eastwood highlighting the GOP convention by talking to an empty chair. Together, these two truly symbolize the GOP and Romney. The two are old, white, and male and one is crazy and the other is a jerk. They are so yesterday! But this is all Romney has. He is winning among old white males and older white married women. And that's all he's got.
By 2016 there will be lots more minorities and LOTS more young people.
And it's likely that by 2016 Pat Boone and Clint Eastwood will both be dead, as will a lot more of the GOP's aging white voters. (Are they sure Pat Boone isn't already dead? I could have sworn he was.)
And so will the Republican Party. Be dead, that is.
So watch this election day with a keen historic sense. It is the last stand of a dying and once powerful ruling class. A class that ruled the world until recent decades: white males. They colonized, they enslaved, they oppressed, and they exploited rapaciously, poisoning the environment mindlessly.
Free at last! Great God Almighty, we are free at last! Or almost. We still have to get through November 6.
And those who are to be free at last include a goodly number of good white males who never wanted to oppress or do other crap-o. They are free now too. Now it will be okay for them to be the nice guys they always were. No more dictatorial male peer pressure to be ruthless.
Will minorities, women, and the young be better at ruling the world. Let's hope so.
At least they won't be as boring as the old white guys who have run everything. NOBODY could be as boring as Mitt Romney and Pat Boone!
Well, Mitt, I sure hope you love your undisclosed tax returns as much as you apparently love Pat Boone. Because, kiddo, they are partly why all the polls are showing that - like ol' Pat's "Love Letters in the Sand" - your chances of winning are just washing away to sea.
BUT, DAMN IT! NOW I'VE GOT THAT STUPID SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD!