The Election of 2012 is ready for the history books. President Obama made history in 2008, and now he has secured a second term. A constellation of factors brought him to victory.
Image by George Cassutto
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The Election of 2012 may equal or exceed the watershed moment of American electoral politics when the nation elected its first African-American president. Four years after President Obama took office, the American electorate affirmed its faith in the direction the Obama administration wanted to go: ”forward.” The electoral vote tells the story: 332 to 206. Some supporters are saying that the President has a mandate to implement his agenda of middle class tax cuts, investments in infrastructure, and the reforms of Obamacare. But the popular vote is not so clear: 50% to 48%. Reservations remain about the strength of the economy and the ability of the Democratic administration and Senate to bring along the Republican House of Representatives to implement a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction. With considerable obstacles ahead, President Obama received the consent of the governed to begin a second term through a constellation of factors.
The Republican Party no longer reflects the mainstream of America
American governance seems to move in the swings of the pendulum of politics. When the economy crashed as a result of the laissez-faire and trickle down policies of the Bush administration, the voters chose President Barack Obama to bring balance to the process of regulation and restoring the US economy. They moved to the left, resulting in the regulation of Wall Street and the health insurance industries. Sensing the expansion of government power, the Tea Party emerged and captured the House of Representatives, acting as a break on Obama’s liberal policies. The Tea Party implemented an austerity budget and a policy of refusal to raise taxes in the face of rising federal debt. Moreover, Republican positions on social policies such as Planned Parenthood, abortion, and Medicare tended to alienate key voting blocks such as women and the elderly. The electorate rejected Republican ideology not only by re-electing President Obama, but also by choosing Democrats in several key Senate races as well as Republican losses by certain Tea Party House members.
Obama Has a New Coalition Behind Him
The Republican Party seems to have the support of mostly wealthy white males while women, blacks, Hispanics, the youth, gays, and other subgroups in American society are moving toward President Obama and the Democratic Party. Democrats are seen as being more inclusive and reflective of the diversity of American society, while Republicans appeal to the economic elite, the business class, and the white majority, the latter of which will soon be extinct as minorities become the majority of the voting electorate. Moreover, Democrats claim to have the best interests of the middle class and the working class at heart. Their tax policies and protection of the social safety net in the form of federal programs support the Democratic Party’s appeal towards average and low wage earners. If Republicans can only claim to be the party of America’s wealthy, their numbers will continue to shrink as the income divide in America continues to widen.