With the re-election of President Barack Obama and what was, arguably, the first real rallying of the liberal base in many years, 2012 was a great year — at least for the left.
In 2012, liberals had an unusual number of high points despite political uncertainty, an ongoing debate over the “fiscal cliff” and what looked, for a few weeks, like a certainty that President Barack Obama wouldn’t win a second term.
Nail-biting territory for sure — but as it turned out, 2012 was a banner year for liberals. And even inside that, there were a few identifiably shiny moments for the left — here are the top five liberal moments from 2012.
Number Six: Barack Obama Wins, We All Get To Play “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” At 2 AM
Barack Obama’s win is really an afterthought on this list — but it was an amazing moment nonetheless.
Not going to lie, I lost faith. As the votes began to roll in and the first few states lit up red, many liberals were nervous — Nate Silver said it was in the bag, but elections are toss-ups and living, dynamic events.
But the night wore on, and it seemed clear — Hopey was winning. The results eventually were called, and Karl Rove lost his damn mind on Fox. Hours passed, and Romney did not concede.
And again, we worried — would it be 2000 all over again? Would the election drama wear on?
Alas, it turned out, Romney had just not written a concession speech. But his thrown together words were graceful, and coming up on the two o’clock (AM!) hour, we watched President Barack Obama give his second triumphant victory speech. Hard won, and worth every penny, drop of blood and tear. We built this!
Number Five: Nate Silver Gets Drunk, Predicts Election Results With Stunning Accuracy
If Barack Obama had a fantastic year, Nate Silver had an even better one.
The poll-predicting whiz first served as a calming salve for frazzled liberals in the frenzied weeks leading up to the election, and then it sort of felt like we all climbed aboard the Nate Silver train for a victory lap celebrating the triumph of reason, science, math and facts.
Republicans so firmly insisted polls were skewed leading up to the election it was almost impossible not to buy into the hype — maybe they knew something we didn’t? But Silver stayed firm, adjusting his totals daily to ensure us that the polls were, by and large, heavily reflective of math. And he was so deliciously, wonderfully right.
Sandra Fluke didn’t mean to be a hero, but as she allowed herself to be an identified voice for a simple right most American women support — contraceptive access — she also unwittingly exposed herself to vitriolic attacks from conservatives who called her a prostitute and a slut.
Overall, Sandra Fluke was a minor footnote in 2012 — but her bravery and the subsequent attacks on her set the stage for the year’s campaign rhetoric, and women were allowed to see what some legislators really thought about feminism, equality and female sexual agency. It wasn’t pretty, but it allowed us to vote with a full picture of what we were up against.
Number Three: Bill Clinton Makes O.G. Comeback At The DNC
In terms of liberal morale, Bill Clinton’s DNC speech is perhaps the most notable moment in 2012, one that was just pure joy to behold.
The original neo-con enemy, Clinton has been largely quiet in recent years despite overwhelmingly positive perception of his presidency. And when he came back with a smile and a roar at the DNC, the left lost their damn minds.
Facebook was alight with praise for Forty-Deuce, the Twittersphere erupted in glee, and for a brief, shining moment, it felt like the retired Dem warrior was back to save the day.
In a way, he did. Clinton’s mere presence on stage was enough to excite and inflame liberal passions across the US, a momentum boost that lasted long after the DNC ended. Clinton’s speech, embedded below, was in equal parts rallying and reassuring, and voters retained that feeling all the way through November.
Number Two: Candy Crowley Pulls The Transcript
Ah, the second debate. After a lackluster first performance, Barack Obama came out swinging in the second showdown.
And while the Republican propaganda machine was out in full-force in the weeks leading up to the election — with the 9/11 attack in Libya a contentious right/left dispute — GOP challenger Mitt Romney had seemingly grown complacent in his ability to spout half-truths and untruths unchecked.
But Obama was ready for him — and when Romney tried to pass a little white lie, he urged moderator Candy Crowley to pull a transcript proving Mitt Romney wrong. The right was livid, and the left was again jubilant at the small victory with big implications.
Number One: The 47 Percent And Jimmy Carter’s Revenge
If anything solidified Barack Obama’s November win, it was the damning secret video — shot by a bartender — at a high-end fundraiser in May where Mitt Romney spoke to a room full of very wealthy people.
In some thinly-coded remarks, Mitt assured the crowd that he was their man, one unconcerned with the plight of the other half and how they live. In a stunning display of classism, the Republican challenger denigrated struggling Americans as moochers and without hope, saying that those who have it bad have no desire to better their lives.
What made the clip’s exposure ever more sweet was that Jimmy Carter’s grandson managed to find it and contact Mother Jones, thereby making it viral and sealing the GOP’s fate. When asked why, Carter’s grandson explained that he was sick and tired of Republicans trash talking his granddad.
While “binders of women” and Donald Trump’s lunacy are honorable mentions, we could only pick six of the highlights for liberals in 2012 — what were your favorite political moments this year?