Published on November 19th, 2012 | by Brandon White
Debate: What Is the U.S.’ Political Future After Obama’s Re-Election?
After election, Obama needs to push forward
Ben Pavur, Contributor
The results of this election show that the electorate has changed, and that the old image of America has faded away.
Now that the election has come and gone, the hard work of re-establishing America needs to begin. This election was hard-fought, and the outcome was never certain. Yet, with the re-election of President Obama, the path forward for America has been firmly charted.
As the results came in from across the country on election night, they clearly showed the changes to the American electorate.
Before the election, Gov. Romney knew that he had to pull in as many of the white voters as he possibly could. With Obama holding onto a substantial part of the African American and Latino electorate, Romney knew that he needed the support of whites to gain the presidency.
Yet, as the returns came in on election night, it was clear that Romney was not gaining the support he needed. Only 68 percent of eligible white voters had voted — substantially less than what he needed.
In fact, Romney was facing a tough obstacle because the amount of white voters has been dropping substantially since the 1990s. This drop shows that American society is changing. America is not as firmly dominated by whites, but it now is more of a collection of diverse groups who are all getting stronger and working to gain power.
Obama was able to sense this change, and he spoke directly to a wide range of voters of not just one select group. As of now, it is not known why Romney was unable to grasp this shift, but it is clear that it cost him the election.
This election ended with a much more decisive victory than was expected. To the surprise of many, Obama was able to win the popular vote and exceed 300 electoral votes.
However, now that the process has ended, Obama must face the first crisis of his second term — the looming fiscal cliff. In seven weeks, the federal government will be faced with $60 billion in mandatory cuts, unless a solution is found to America’s mounting debt. How Obama handles the fiscal cliff will define his entire second term, and possibly his legacy as president.
Also in his second term, Obama must learn to be more collaborative with Republicans and members of his own party. For his second term to be successful, he must reach out to Republicans and Democrats alike.
Now that the time for campaigning has ended, Obama needs to quickly get down to the work that he promised to handle over the course of the campaign. The issues facing America have not subsided because of the election, and the time to rectify them is here.
The Republicans need to adjust
Brandon White, Contributor
2012 should have been a slam-dunk for Republicans. They absolutely crushed the Democrats in the 2010 midterms on the back of the tea party movement.
The economy is stagnant at best, Obamacare is beyond unpopular and gas prices are soaring. It seemed as though Republicans of varying conservative degrees could all unite behind the singular cause of defeating Barack Obama. Clearly, that did not happen.
Once the final votes were tallied and some of the exit poll data was available, I was astonished to find out that compared to 2008, Romney received 2 million fewer votes than McCain, and Obama received 10 million fewer. If my math is right, that means 12 million people stayed home this year.
That says two things to me: voters were unable to see a distinguishable difference between the candidates, and the conservative base stayed home.
Many Republican “experts” compared this to Carter vs. Reagan in 1980. The reason it wasn’t: Romney isn’t Reagan. As governor, Romney had an individual mandate signed into law in Massachusetts, he has changed positions on social issues and he has a Wall Street background at a time when people generally dislike financiers. These disqualifiers made Romney look hypocritical at best, when attacking Obama on a wide range of issues.
Romney was unable to provide voters with a clear distinction between himself and President Obama. I believe that if voters are unable to tell a difference between the two candidates, they do not see the purpose of voting. That is certainly part of the reason 12 million people stayed home. It became a question of, “the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t,” and millions of people didn’t see the point.
For the conservative base of the Republican Party, it was going to take a lot of convincing that Mitt Romney was the real deal. A lot of the tea party bloc did not believe that Romney would bring about the reforms they desire.
Two elections in a row, the establishment GOP has pushed moderate, “safe” candidates. Two elections in a row, they have lost huge. A dominant grassroots effort is the only way you can win a presidential election. And when the foot soldiers of your party do not like the candidate, the grassroots effort falls to pieces.
So no, Romney isn’t Reagan. Reagan was a strong conservative, with an unyielding sense of principle and conviction. He believed every word he said, and he was amazingly articulate at delivering his message. That is what the Republicans have been lacking for two elections now, and until they find someone, it is not likely they will win any time soon.
Obama didn’t win this election because he pandered to women and Latinos more successfully. He won because Romney failed in expressing his ideas. This is still a center-right country, and the sooner Republicans feed into that, the sooner they will win.