A Review of the U.S. Presidential Election.
by Andrew Frank.
Tuesday, Americans reelected President Barack Obama for a second term. Compared to 2008, the President retained electoral votes from every state he won except for Indiana and North Carolina. The final electoral tally came out to 332 – 206, which is less than the 365 Obama received in 2008.
Importantly, Democrats increased their majority in the Senate by two, by winning some races that Republicans felt confident in taking. Republicans retained their majority in the House and among state governors. Thus after billions of dollars spent on the 2012 campaign, the outcome assures almost the same political representation nation-wide.
While this election was a big win for Democrats, it was by no means a total repudiation of the Republican Party. President Obama won by just under 3.5 million votes – 50.6 percent to Romney’s 47.8 percent. More local and state legislatures are turning to the GOP.
Even so, the electorate is changing, and changing fast. In a continuation of past trends, metropolitan and coastal areas reliably turned out for Democrats, with suburban and rural areas backing Republicans. But demographics in the United States have become increasingly diverse, with an ever-shrinking white population and a minority population that is growing.
In 2008, whites made up over 76 percent of the electorate. This year, they made up about 72 percent. By 2020, that percentage will decrease even further. According to The Nation, if only white people had voted this year, Romney would have won every state except Iowa, New Hampshire, and, ironically, Massachusetts.
While President Obama has received over 300 electoral votes in both elections (270 is needed to win), no Republican president has won with more than 300 electoral votes since 1988. With the economy still struggling to recover from the worst financial climate since the Great Depression, and with the unemployment level similar to that of 2008, it is clearer than ever after Obama’s victory that a GOP future path to national success has narrowed.
The implications of President Obama’s reelection could be numerous and far-reaching. Now that he has secured a second term, the President may feel less obligated to pander to certain groups, while at the same time look to sharpen his place in history.
The continuation of the global economic crisis - and if Wednesday’s market movement along with protests in Athens are any indication - and the financial pressures at home, will force American politicians to make tough decisions that will have ramifications far outside our borders.
Other challenges that lie ahead: How will our changing national demographics be reflected in foreign affairs? While a second term certainly signifies the continuation of first term policies, will it also mark the beginnings of a bolder, less cautious administration? Will relations with Asia and the Middle East become less economically and militarily adversarial, and will we continue to identify most strongly with Western Europe?
As the President’s plans for his second term come into greater focus over the coming months, Karv Communications will periodically assess what his policies – coupled with an ever-evolving national identity – will mean to the international community.