Barack Obama was re-elected Tuesday night winning the popular vote and securing victory by winning all of the swing states, with the exception of North Carolina. Here is a recap of the winners and losers of this year’s election.
Barack Obama: For enduring through the most polarized and divisive race in modern history. Obama survived an obstructionist Congress, an unprecedented sum of private campaign funding from Republican donors and Super PACs, and the worst performance numbers of any incumbent to be reelected in history. Despite how you feel about Obama’s performance the raw numbers are pretty abysmal. The fact remains that there are 23 million people out of work, the unemployment rate is nearly 8%, Obama's approval rating is on average around 50%, we have $16 trillion debt, trillion dollar deficits and GDP is growing at less than 2%. Add in the first debate and Obama's reelection is a staggering achievement.
The LGBT Community: Same sex initiatives have passed by popular vote in Maine, Washington, and Maryland; the first time in 33 tries that the initiative has been approved by popular vote. The constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage was defeated in Minnesota. Tammy Baldwin was elected to be the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate. Baldwin won the Wisconsin senate seat formerly held by Herb Kohl. The LGBT community has to see this as a sign of a movement towards acceptance and respect for the alternative lifestyle.
Nate Silver: The statistics wunderkind is in a position to write his own ticket. He survived all the expected barbs from doubters and naysayers who felt that he had a liberal bias towards Obama. His New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog had been predicting a sure thing for Obama virtually the entire election. Silver projected that Obama would win 313 electoral votes and win practically all of the swing states. Obama won all the swing states except North Carolina and he is winning Florida. On Tuesday night, Silver's blog was generating 20% of the New York Times website traffic. After helping to introduce data-driven performance evaluation models into baseball, he applied his expertise to political polling and has come out of this election as the most accurate pollster of the lot. He generated quite a few fan-friendly tweets.
The Democratic Party: The party coalition of minorities, women, young people, and the LGBT community held firm and exceeded voter turnout expectations. The Democrats retained their majority in the Senate by winning in Missouri, Indiana, and Massachusetts. Significantly Claire McCaskill defeated Todd Akin, Tammy Baldwin won in Wisconsin, Elizabeth Warren scored a huge victory in Massachusetts over Scott Brown, Joe Donnelly unseated Richard Mourdock of Indiana, and Angus King claimed Olympia Snowe’s seat in Maine.
The Affordable Care Act: The country can now move forward with universal health care. We no longer will be the only Western civilization that does not have a universal health care plan. Any uncertainty around the ACA is now immediately gone; the law is here to stay. Businesses will now be free to no longer fear or speculate about its implications, rather they will adjust and plan to incorporate it into their business goals, strategies, and operating plans.
Potheads: Colorado and Washington became the first states in the nation to approve of recreational marijuana. The measure to legalize marijuana failed in Oregon.
The Tea Party: It is clear that the country rejected the Tea Party message again at the national level. Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann are so far the only Tea Party candidate of note to win.
The Republican Party: The party had its message rejected by the American people. The Republicans retained their majority in the House, however all the talk of Republican voter enthusiasm quickly became vaporware as the night’s results showed Obama matching Romney in the popular vote and then eventually overtaking the lead. Republicans have to come to the table now and abandon their obstructionist ways, otherwise they not only will seal their fate, and they may seal the fate of the American economy. The Republican party is a shrinking tent. The country is not center right. The Independents that they thought they picked up did not materialize. Women stayed firmly behind Obama. The Democratic tent is growing. What is left are the moderates, and the Republicans have no tolerance for moderates.
Fox News: The most embarrassing moment of election coverage was having Fox maintain that Romney was in the race even after virtually every network and news organization had called the race for Obama. It was a low-class and desperate maneuver to maintain some semblance of credibility. They had lied and let down their viewers. They had promised a victory. They had gone out of their way to obfuscate the truth and they had come up short. The Fox News executives could hear the TV sets of the viewer audience shutting off and they could feel a large portion of their base slipping away. Gone was the smug attitude, the disrespectful barbs that they constantly threw at the president, replaced with long sad faces as they watched their credibility as “fair and balanced” political analysts get flushed down the drain. The Atlantic Wire captured the disappointment on the faces off the Fox think tank.
Republican Pollsters: Rasmussen, Karl Rove, Dick Morris have lost all credibility. Maybe not so much Rasmussen but Nate Silver and other pollsters had questioned Rasmussen results. In turn Karl Rove launched a cottage industry of political wonks that filled up terabytes of online sites and reams of paper documenting how the Democratic pollsters, who amounted to anyone other than Rasmussen, were over sampling Democrats. Dick Morris outrageously led the camp of the ludicrous who predicted a landslide victory for Romney. Is Morris not the worst pollster in history?
Republican Super PACs and Donors: The Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson spent a small fortune trying to buy the White House. They epitomized all that is wrong with campaign financing. When the Democrats realized that this was the new playing field they fought back and they won.
The Biggest Winner is America: We move forward. Women’s reproductive rights are safe for another election. Entitlement reform will be addressed without eliminating the social contract with the American people. The economy will grow from the middle out, not the top down. We will have an energy policy that includes environmental concerns and is not solely dependent on fossil-based fuel. We will have a country that is not run by politicians who sign pledges made tothird party activists and non-elected officials. We can pursue immigration reform without creating questionable conditions that cause people to “self-deport.” And we can have a foreign policy based on America’s best interests, not one based on the election politics of foreign officials.
Mitt Romney: Romney ran a good campaign. Although it was reported that Romney had only written a victory speech, he seemed gracious in his concession speech. “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and this great nation.”