President Obama has been re-elected to a second term, ending a bitterly fought campaign and sending his Republican challenger Mitt Romney to defeat; presumably marking the end of the former Massachusetts governor’s political career. With the electoral map aligning with pre-election polling, the Obama campaign held its ground and rolled up victories in key swing states such as Michigan, Ohio, Colorado and Iowa. The President’s campaign performed incredibly on the ground and saw its support among African-Americans, Latinos and women help carry the day.
The election represents a paradigm shift in America. President Obama’s victory was forged by securing the support of a “new America” coalition that is girded by voters of color. While Mitt Romney performed well among white voters, and in particular white males, the Republican Party was overwhelmed by the tide of African-American and Latino voters. In Florida, a large Latino turnout in southern Florida, in the Miami-Dade area, presumably put the President over the top. While there was considerable chatter about Black voter disillusionment with the President, turnout among African-American voters was very strong with long lines in key states such as Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia. Black voters were intensely focused and intent on repeating the successes of four years ago.
This election should be viewed in historic terms, not simply for the re-election of the nation’s first African-American President, but for the end of Reagan conservatism. Mitt Romney tried to embrace the conservative mantle and conservative voters followed, but the reality of the nation’s demographics is that white voters (and particularly white males) are a declining portion of our nation’s electorate. The Reagan base is fading fast, as are those Democrats that shifted to the GOP during the Reagan era. On the other side, as Latinos become an increasingly larger share of the electorate and women and young voters again affirming their support for the President, this election is a game changer. The nation is not as divided as the electoral map suggests, it is changing and morphing into a real republic not dictated to by a narrowing white majority. It is an America that Republicans miscalculated and Romney had no chance of converting.
The results of this election should send honest Republicans back to the drawing board. There is little good to draw from the results of this race for the GOP. It is facing its demise if it does not disengage from its increasingly extreme and racist right-wing. The party will end up as a “white party,” functioning on the fringes and fueled only by resentment. In many ways the post-election reality check for the Republican Party should represent a chance for moderate party members to assert their presence and begin the process of pushing the GOP back to the center. If it does not come to terms on issues of choice, immigration, voting rights and income inequality, it will see this year’s presidential outcome become a recurring event every four years. This was a decisive victory for the President and a reshaping of our nation despite the nonsensical chatter of television analysts who are still invested in a white majority nation-view and refuse to acknowledge the declining significance of the white electorate.