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Barack Obama wins election for second term as president

Barack Obama wins election for second term as president

President Barack Obama handily defeated Gov. Mitt Romney and won himself a second term Tuesday after a bitter and historically expensive race that was primarily fought in just a handful of battleground states. Networks project that Obama beat Romney after nabbing the crucial state of Ohio.

The Romney campaign's last-ditch attempt to put blue-leaning Midwestern swing states in play failed as Obama's Midwestern firewall sent the president back to the White House for four more years. Obama picked up the swing states of New Hampshire, Michigan, New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Ohio. Florida and Virginia are still too close to call, but even if he won them, they would not give Romney enough Electoral College votes to put him over the top. The popular vote will most likely be much narrower than the president's Electoral College victory.

The Obama victory marks an end to a years-long campaign that saw historic advertisement spending levels, countless rallies and speeches, and three much-watched debates.

The Romney campaign cast the election as a referendum on Obama's economic policies, frequently comparing him to former President Jimmy Carter and asking voters the Reagan-esque question of whether they are better off than they were four years ago. But the Obama campaign pushed back on the referendum framing, blanketing key states such as Ohio early on with ads painting him as a multimillionaire more concerned with profits than people. The Obama campaign also aggressively attacked Romney on reproductive rights issues, tying Romney to a handful of Republican candidates who made controversial comments about rape and abortion.

These ads were one reason Romney faced a steep likeability problem for most of the race, until his expert performance at the first presidential debate in Denver in October. After that debate, and a near universal panning of Obama's performance, Romney caught up with Obama in national polls, and almost closed his favoribility gap with the president. In polls, voters consistently gave him an edge over Obama on who would handle the economy better and create more jobs, even as they rated Obama higher on caring about the middle class.

But the president's Midwestern firewall--and the campaign's impressive grassroots operation--carried him through. Ohio tends to vote a bit more Republican than the nation as a whole, but Obama was able to stave off that trend and hold an edge there over Romney, perhaps due to the president's support of the auto bailout three years ago. Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan all but moved to Ohio in the last weeks of the campaign, trying and ultimately failing to erase Obama's lead there.

A shrinking electoral battleground this year meant that only 14 states were really seen as in play, and both candidates spent most of their time and money there. Though national polls showed the two candidates in a dead heat, Obama consistently held a lead in the states that mattered. That, and his campaign's much-touted get out the vote efforts and overall ground game, may be what pushed Obama over the finish line.

Now, Obama heads back to office facing what will most likely be bitterly partisan negotiations over whether the Bush tax cuts should expire. The House will still be majority Republican, with Democrats maintaining their majority in the Senate.

The loss may provoke some soul searching in the Republican Party. This election was seen as a prime opportunity to unseat Obama, as polls showed Americans were unhappy with a sluggish economy, sky-high unemployment, and a health care reform bill that remained widely unpopular. Romney took hardline positions on immigration, federal spending, and taxes during the long Republican primary when he faced multiple challenges from the right. He later shifted to the center in tone on many of those issues, but it's possible the primary painted him into a too-conservative corner to appeal to moderates during the general election. The candidate also at times seemed unable to effectively counter Democratic attacks on his business experience and personal wealth.

Obama Wins; "Four More Years"

The president shows a picture on his Twitter embracing his wife Michelle, the Democrats retain the majority in the U.S. Senate

Barack Obama won reelection as NBC and CNN, quoted by the news portal Huffington Post.

In her Twiiter account, the only U.S. President wrote: "Four more years", in Spanish, four years.

Furthermore, the Democrats retain the majority in the U.S. Senate, according to CNN estimates issued.

President Barack Obama won the states of Ohio, New Mexico, California, Washington, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine (four electoral votes), the District of Columbia, Delaware , New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Opposition candidate Mitt Romney has won Missouri, North Carolina, Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska (five electoral votes), Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama and Oklahoma ..


Wisconsin's Baldwin becomes first openly gay senator
  MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Wisconsin Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin made history on Tuesday by becoming the first openly gay U.S. Senator, defeating former governor Tommy Thompson in the most expensive Senate race in state history, Fox News projected.

Between them, the two candidates raised at least $65 million.

Fox News is the only major news organization to so far project Baldwin the winner. If confirmed, her victory would be another blow to Republicans, who needed to make a net gain of four seats to take a majority in the U.S. Senate.

Baldwin assumes the seat of retiring Democrat Herb Kohl, who is finishing his fourth term in the Senate. The 50-year-old Baldwin, first elected to Congress in 1998, also becomes the first woman senator from Wisconsin with her victory Tuesday.

Although historically significant, Baldwin's sexual orientation never became a major topic on the campaign trail.

"Baldwin's victory ensures the (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) LGBT community will have a voice in the Senate," said Jason Burns, Executive Director of Equality Wisconsin, a gay rights organization.

Baldwin, who represents Dane County, a Democratic stronghold of the state, is expected to be replaced in the House by Democrat Mark Pocan, another openly gay politician.

Baldwin, one of the leading liberals in Congress, moved to the center during the campaign, promising to support investments in infrastructure, education and research to create jobs. She also painted Thompson as favoring tax cuts for the wealthy.

Throughout the bruising campaign, Thompson argued that lower taxes, fewer regulations, large spending cuts and entitlement reform will boost the sluggish U.S. economy. He also attacked Baldwin for supporting President Barack Obama's health care reforms.

Thompson moved more to the middle as the campaign went on, describing himself during the race against Baldwin as a "moderate conservative."


The Republican Party Believes In A Make-Believe America

Matt Pressberg | November 7, 2012 | 3:57 a.m. PST
(Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy)
Dick Morris was right. The landslide was coming. The Republican base just couldn’t get its Medicare-sponsored rascal scooters out of the way.

President Obama decisively won a second term with at least 303 electoral votes and likely to grow to 332 if his slight lead in Florida holds up. This result beats most predictions, including mine, and as uncomfortable as Republicans are with mandates (and man dates), 332 EVs definitely qualifies.

Mitt Romney failing to win Florida with an unemployment rate that’s been above 10 percent for most of the last four years, one of the most devastated real estate markets in the country and an opponent named Barack Hussein Obama who has had a chilly personal relationship with the high-maintenance president of Israel, would be proof positive of just how toxic of a brand the Republicans have become.

Willard Mitt Romney is not my ideal candidate, but there’s no reason to think middle-of-the-road Floridians would find him so offensive. There was no auto industry in Florida for him to let die, and besides, Mitt looks and sounds like the type of guy a lot of snowbirds invest their money with or buy Lexuses (Lexi?) from.

But it’s not about Mitt. Republicans will blame him for the loss and claim that a candidate who was true to their conservative values, someone like Mullah Omar, would have carried them to the victory they felt was ordained. This is why they ignore polls. Only God’s plan matters. I guess they have to accept Nate Silver as their Lord and Savior now.

Mitt didn’t make Todd Akin (who got smacked by Claire McCaskill) talk about “legitimate rape” or Richard Mourdock (who also went down) rationalize rape babies as “something God intended.” Mitt stumbled by not pulling the commercial he made endorsing Mourdock, but he was cooked before that, having had to embrace all kinds of insane Santorumbabble during the Republican primaries. It’s tough when you are trapped between a rock and a padded wall, especially for a soulless mercenary manager like Mitt. He’ll say whatever to advance a short-term goal.

The Republican ship has sailed to Crazytown and there was really nothing that rudderless Romney could do. Alienating women, Latinos, LGBTQ (great people, terrible acronym) folks and non-Christian Americans is a great way to win an election that takes place 40 years ago.

With his big win Tuesday, President Obama claimed back-to-back victories in the bastions of European socialism known as Colorado and Virginia. Colorado in particular was an impressive four-point win for the president, which was probably boosted by a growing Latino population (which has been almost systematically alienated by the Republican party for reasons that could only be explained by soft bigotry and in some cases, outright racism) and a ballot initiative calling for the legalization of marijuana, which had to motivate youth turnout.

The Republican Party’s current strategy of tax cuts for the people who need them least, very un-sexy pale men talking about lady parts and racist photoshopping of Michelle Obama was soundly rejected by the American people. Colorado, a solid two-time George W. Bush state that was not in contention since the Clinton years, may provide one possible re-tooling opportunity.

The War on Drugs is much less popular with younger and more ethnically diverse Americans than it is with old white people. It’s also probably the one issue where the Democrats have shown the least amount of political courage, and this includes President Obama, which is shameful for someone who is familiar with both smoking marijuana and especially how drugs are often used as a tool to reel poor black and Latino youths into the criminal justice system.

Ron Paul, who was the one candidate running for the Republican nomination with strong youth support and non-token non-white support, campaigned vociferously against the War on Drugs, calling it “a real abuse of liberty,” according to the Huffington Post. This is not a coincidence

The regrettable nanny-state element of the Democratic Party gives the Republicans an opportunity to outflank the people who brought us bike helmet laws on the Drug War. This would play extremely well with younger voters, non-white voters and voters in places like Colorado and Nevada with a strong libertarian lean. (They shouldn’t take Paul’s inspiration and go back to the gold standard though—that would be worse for the economy than a Romney presidency.)

This argument makes logical sense, but this is now a faith-based party. Mitt Romney tried to get his supporters to “Believe in America” but they only believed in a make-believe America where Latinos don’t exist and rape babies just take themselves out. Fortunately, in real America, our electoral process allows us to kick these crusading legislators out too. Legitimate democracy.

Read more of Neon Tommy’s coverage of the election here.
Reach Editor-at-Large Matt Pressberg here.


Dying of the White: Requiem for the 2012 Election

Cord Jefferson

"It makes me wonder who my fellow citizens are. I've got to be honest, I feel like I've lost touch with what the identity of America is right now. I really do." —Boston Republican voter Marianne Doherty, on her feelings following Obama's reelection.

Poor, scared, Bostonian white lady Marianne Doherty is not alone today. Last night, with Virginia bending toward President Obama more and more by the minute, cartoonish Fox alarmist Bill O'Reilly used the smarts he got at Harvard to whinge that Obama was winning because "the white establishment is now a minority" and blacks, Latinos, women, and other groups want "stuff." Later, when Obama was the clear winner, O'Reilly's fellow idiotic rich man Donald Trump went apoplectic on Twitter, calling for a "revolution" to take back the country, a vague call to violence he's since deleted.

Across America today, conservatives, many of them white and old, are wondering what went wrong. How did a black guy with a Muslim name beat his aged wealthy opponent and his opponent's exciting young running mate—again? There are a host of missteps one can point to in Romney's campaign, of course: his inability to articulate any real economic plans, his unwillingness to be fully transparent about his own finances, the time he was caught calling half the country lazy takers to a room full of other millionaires. All of that stuff and more certainly didn't help Romney during his bid for the White House. But if you'll allow me to take a step back and speak in blunter terms, what happened last night is this: The brown people and the black people and the women handed the white men's asses to them as unsentimentally as white men have bought and sold and manipulated America for centuries now. Welcome to the future.

Though this election cycle was steeped in a deep skepticism of math and its proponents—"Unskew the world!"—it would do conservatives well to look at some numbers today: 75 percent is the chunk of the Latino vote that went to Obama, according to polling data, along with 93 percent of blacks. Seventy-three percent of Asians broke for the president, and only 44 percent of women voted for Romney.

Not that Team Romney was shocked by the electorate's racial divisions, of course, as it had intentionally banked on courting the majority of the white vote and ignoring minorities: "Romney's camp is focused intently on capturing at least 61 percent of white voters," noted the National Journal in August. "That would provide him a slim national majority-so long as whites constitute at least 74 percent of the vote, as they did last time, and Obama doesn't improve on his 80 percent showing with minorities." As we know now, things didn't work out as they planned.

In a mostly white America, these realities are bad enough. But adding to the GOP's woes is that, in just a couple decades, the U.S. is going to be a country where brown people outnumber white people by a lot—then they're double-fucked.

The grim realization that the world is a far different and more diverse place than it once was has fallen like a shadow over the GOP since its defeat last night, and the resultant fear is turning its already pallid complexion an even lighter shade of alabaster. Besides the over-the-top, RAcialHOlyWAr kvetching from O'Reilly and Trump, Fox News contributor Dick Morris, who had predicted an Obama trouncing, is eating a big black crow today. "[T]his is the new America," he said on Fox after Romney's loss. Adding: "The percentage of single women, minorities and voters under 30 is so large at this point that unless the Republican Party fundamentally changes its appeal to those voters, it can never win an election."

On Fox News' website, former State Department adviser Christian Whiton mostly missed the mark—"Romney was too moderate"—before getting to the real issue in his final paragraph (emphasis mine):
There is a new generation of Reagans and Gingriches out there somewhere. There are probably even more than a few of them who are Latino. The task of conservatives and Republicans is to find them, cultivate them, and get behind them.
Predating the Republican acknowledgment that it needs minorities in its ranks by a few hours was Politico editor-in-chief John Harris, who said on C-SPAN early last evening that he thinks the Romney-Ryan ticket will be the last one composed solely of white men in American history.

While only time will tell if Republicans will go the way of the Whigs before them, other entities outside of politics should learn from the GOP's all-white fumbling. Earlier this year, new indie comedy grrrl Lena Dunham made a TV show about living in Brooklyn that, like so many New York shows before it, cast minorities as mostly bums and nannies, colorful background noise to the white girl tragi-comedy unfolding weekly. The backlash—of which I was a part—was instant and sustained. Last month, after a much ballyhooed 2011 relaunch, Newsweek announced that it would cease publishing at the end of this year after a brief run in which race baiting Muslims became a business tactic. The now defunct Newsweek's "Muslim Rage" stunt was, once again, roundly and instantly condemned.

Increasingly, the message in America is clear: If your organization or project is a myopic den of white homogeneity, or if your strategy for success includes trying to gin up fear around people who are different, you are destined for irrelevance, and nobody will care how rich you are, or who your daddy is, or at what ivy-draped liberal arts school you cut your perfect teeth. Those who haven't learned that lesson are mocked, shunned, or, worse, totally ignored. Either way, they don't win elections.

If you'd like to follow the Republican example and turn your nose up at diversity and bridge-building between races, genders, and creeds, more power to you. It is, as the call of children and patriots alike says, a free country. But don't be surprised when you end up like Romney in his final moment last night: red-eyed, tired, dizzy, and congratulating the black guy who just beat him at his own game.


Against Demographics

Against Demographics

John Cook

As my colleague Cord Jefferson notes, the 2012 election returns have been widely interpreted as the ratification of an ethno-political realignment that first occurred in 2008: Black, Latino, and Asian voters are firmly in the Democratic column, and they will remain so in ever greater numbers. The white population is shrinking relative to its brown counterparts, and demography is destiny. Brown people are Democrats, white people are Republicans, and brown people are having more babies. Good luck, GOP! 

This narrative has been seized by both sides. On election night, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly mournfully announced the death of the "white establishment" and calmly explained to his viewers that black and brown people simply outnumbered them now, and would be coming soon for their "stuff." Joyous liberals have essentially endorsed that analysis (minus the racism): After decades of marginalization, the nonwhite electorate is finally—and permanently—making its voice heard in a decisive way.

At some level, that demographic view of the 2012 election is inarguably sound. It worked. Obama set out a year ago to mobilize black, Latino, and Asian voters (as well as young ones). He did, and he won. And to the extent that, in secret war rooms full of humming servers and gimlet-eyed operatives, narrow demographic coalition-building works as a political strategy for electing Democrats, I heartily endorse it.

But it's a lousy way to explain elections to the public, and to think about politics. Black people have reasons beyond their blackness for favoring Barack Obama. So do Latinos. And Asians. Barack Obama didn't win by getting more nonwhite people to the polls. He won by advocating policies that appeal to more people, period. To splinter that appeal into ethnic categories is useful to the folks concerned with what's under the hood of the campaign machinery, and it's important to know how those people view their jobs. But to chalk up the nonwhite vote to a simple "Latinos vote Democrat" formula does a disservice to real policy preferences that exist independently of, and matter much more than, the race of the voter.

The black vote, for instance, is commonly thought by right-wing Republicans to have gone almost exclusively to Barack Obama in 2008 and this week as a matter of racial solidarity: An expression of tribalism, not rational preference. To some extent, that's probably true (and eminently unobjectionable, given the historical breakthrough he represents). But Jimmy Carter received 83% of the African-American vote in 1980, versus Obama's 93%. There's obviously something more than blackness at work. Black people tend to vote Democratic not because they are black, or because their candidate is black, but because the Democratic Party embraces policy proposals around a number of areas—particularly education and urban poverty—that many African-Americans also embrace.

The Latino vote is of course a function of the GOP's toxic attitude toward immigrants and their children. But the pride on the left at having won that group—the Latinos are ours!—threatens to reduce those voters to mere self-interested actors who vote for the people who are nicest to their race. When Romney surrogate John Sununu dismissed Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama as unthinking racialism, rather than a thoughtful choice, he was roundly castigated. Every Obama voter deserves the same respect that Sununu failed to show Powell—the presumption that their votes are based on values and reason rather than thoughtless self-interest.

One of the reasons the right-wing "brown people won" argument is so irksome is the implication that nonwhite votes don't really count in the way white ones do. That white people vote based on logic and argumentation, and are persuadable, but nonwhites just press the "D" button and wait for their Obamaphones. That appealing to white votes and nonwhite votes are fundamentally different things. We would have won—we had more votes, but they had the blacks. What are you gonna do?

This is vile. All votes are the same. Persuading an African-American to vote for increasing taxes on the wealthy is precisely the same as persuading a white voter. Every Latino who cares about the treatment of illegal immigrants in this country and so voted for Obama did so for the same reason I did. There's no difference between us. But the giddiness among the left over the racial coalition Obama built sometimes strikes me as uncomfortably close to eliding that fundamental equality, and regarding nonwhite votes as gimmes that don't require persuasion. And it subtly ghettoizes those nonwhite voters, splintering issues of national importance into slivers of self-interest. Obama didn't win because Latino voters want immigration reform. He won because more Americans want immigration reform than don't.

I don't mean to say that race doesn't matter, or that we are all atomized political actors calmly evaluating positions without reference to our own cultural identities. And the overwhelming margins Obama got among nonwhite voters speak for themselves. But when it comes to explaining and analyzing the results, we do those voters a disservice if we let their race stand in for their reasons.

(By the way, Cord's boss and mine has crudely dismissed the view that Obama won because of a realignment in the nonwhite vote as "Brown Triumphalism." Nick is wrong. The demographic trends are real and will grow. The close overall margin this year doesn't negate the long-term impact that 71% of Hispanics voting Democratic will have on our politics. I don't dispute the trends; merely the weight we place on race as an explanatory tool.)


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