So went Ohio, so went the nation.
Riding a tidal wave of support from every voting demographic — excluding White males — President Barack Obama will be returning to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to complete the monumental task that he was elected to do 4 years ago.
With 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidency, President Obama finished the night with a resounding 303 electoral college votes, while his challenger, Mitt Romney, finished with 206 votes.
While it was not the clear 365-173 shellacking that Senator John McCain experienced in 2008, it was a strong message to the former Massachusetts governor that campaigns built upon racial demagoguery, stuffing women in binders, begrudging children access to healthcare, denying the gay community marriage equality, and threatening to build a fence along the U.S. border — is not the way to win elections in a rapidly changing United States of America.
In a testament to the phenomenal strategies of Obama Senior Campaign Adviser David Axelrod, battleground states around the country turned blue.
Of the 11, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin were all won by President Obama, with only North Carolina being called for Romney.
At press time, who prevailed in Florida is still too close to call.
Latino voters turned out in record numbers for the president, with a historic 70 to 75 percent supporting President Barack Obama compared to only 29 percent going to Romney. That margin is greater than Republican candidates in 2000, 2004, and 2008 and only comes second to the decisive victory of former President Bill Clinton‘s 1996 re-election, when he won 70 percent of the vote compared to Bob Dole‘s 21 percent.
See clips from President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech below:
Though Obama saw a slight decline in the White vote, it was nowhere near the White Flight that pundits were predicting; in fact, in the state of Ohio, the most contentious battleground state of them all, Obama’s support among White men increased from 16 percent in the 2008 election to 21 percent Tuesday night. This shift hinged upon the auto bailout that the president fought tooth and nail to pass through.
While Romney’s public philosophy was that America should just let the car industry fail, he secretly reaped massive profits. Though Obama has been largely panned in most states for his handling of the economy, in Ohio, where cars are big business, White men felt that he was the best man to ensure that their jobs remain safe.
But if there is one thing that this race illuminated, it is that we are still a country divided.
In 2010, Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, and they held on to it in Tuesday’s election with a decisive 232-192 victory; however, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla) lost to Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy, putting an end to a bitter race that kept the state and the nation riveted.
In the Senate, Democrats held on to control, gaining 3 seats, leaving the the body with a 53-45 liberal majority. Senator Claire McCaskill held on to her seat, defeating Republican challenger, Congressman Todd Akin, who made national headlines by saying that a woman body’s prevents itself from getting pregnant after “legitimate” rape.
Emerging Democratic star, Elizabeth Warren (pictured above), won her race in Massachusetts, defeating Republican Scott Brown, who snatched the seat from liberals in 2010 after the “Lion of the Senate,” the late Ted Kennedy, passed away. And history was made with Tammy Baldwin, who beat Republican Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, becoming the nation’s first openly gay senator.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who infamously said that his “No. 1 priority was to make Obama a one term-president,” is already promising more obstructionism in the days ahead:
The American people did two things: They gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives, McConnell said in a statement.
The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.
Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.
To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way.
House Speaker John Boehner also made it clear that he had no plans on meeting the president half-way:
Listen, our majority is going to get reelected,” Boehner told Politico. We’ll have as much of a mandate as he will — if that happens — to not raise taxes. He knows what we can do and what we can’t do — I’ve been very upfront with him about it going back over the last year and a half.
Hot button issues also revealed a lot about the shifting ideological perspective of the country. Washington State and Colorado became the first states to ever legalize recreational marijuana, and did so by popular vote, something that “Puff the Magic Dragon” smoking California hasn’t been able to accomplish. And Maine and Maryland also made history becoming the 7th and 8th states to legalize same-sex marriage.
These conflicting narratives expose the desperation of a dying breed: Those that would separate us by race, gender, and class in an attempt to maintain a flimsy facade of selective exceptionalism rather than being inclusive are locked in a battle with those who are ready to move forward in to a future where women, people of color and those in the proud economic “47 percent” have as much say in the political course of this nation as they do.
Even with the victory of President Barack Obama, these obstructionists have proven that they will not relinquish power without a fight — and those on the side of change and progress have to be prepared to give it to them.