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By John Helmer, Moscow

The result of the US presidential election, giving Barack Obama victory in both the popular vote and an even bigger one in the Electoral College vote by state, shows that one traditional rule of thumb still applies — incumbents must be down by a 5% margin in the polls at the end of the party conventions for the challenger to be likely to win on Election Day. This is because far more voters have decided their vote well in advance than they admit to the pollsters, and because they can be shaken from their intention only by October surprises or obvious mishaps. Accordingly, Mitt Romney was bound to fail.

That other traditional predictor, the misery index – the inflation rate multiplied by the unemployment rate – has always doomed the incumbent when it is rising. But this year, unemployment was at a peak of 9.8% in January, and had fallen to 7.8% in October (7.9% in November). Inflation has followed the same downward trajectory — from 2.9% in January to 1.4% in August, 1.7% September, 2% in October. The falling index was bound to undercut Romney. Then he did himself in in mid-September at a fundraising event.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. [My role] is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives… what I have to do is to convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents…” That remark showed a wealthy candidate asking money for votes by spitting at the misery index. He was doomed. Not even Obama’s subsequent show of vacillation and cowardice in the first television debate was as damaging.

But there is something new in the US election result. According to the early demographic breakdowns of Obama’s vote, he gained majorities among women, blacks, Latinos and other minorities. Romney’s constituency, by contrast, was concentrated among white males, for whom his message was a calculated combination of explicit and subliminal arousals. This is pseudo-warfighting talk. Romney’s attacks on Russia, written for him by military men with careers full of failed amphibious landings, were an example.

Still, maybe for the first time in US political history, there are simply not enough Vicious American Males (VAM) country-wide, or in enough states, to win the presidential election, nor even the wars they started, and can’t let go of. So it’s now a case of Vicious American Males Out Of Support forEver (VAMOOSE). In American slang, that means Beat it! It’s a tougher term than Let’s go!, or vamos, the Spanish original from which it was derived. Defeating Romney’s electorate is probably the first achievement of the Spanish-speaking voters of the US. How enduring that will be depends, like the history of German warfare, on finding the means to keeping the VAM down and OOSE.

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