It’s been three days since a record number of people went to the polls in the U.S. and we can finally say that all of the states have finally been called and allocated to one candidate or the other. The result, President Obama has been re-elected.
Of course you all knew that, but Florida, the Sunshine State where so many seniors go and meet their sunsets, did what it always did, screw up on election day, and it took until today for CNN and the other networks to officially call the state for the President.
Let’s see what else we can take away from Tuesday’s elections.
There has been alot of talk about the President’ strategy for winning the vote and it usually comes down to demographics. He goes after the minority groups (note that woman are usually also included in this) and a bigger turnout in these groups gave Obama and the Democrats their victory. Or at least that’s what I hear. The numbers, however, tell a different story.
Just look at the county by county data and you’ll notice that, surprisingly enough, some of the counties that voted heavily Republican where also the counties where voter turnout has increased since 2008. Granted, this doesn’t say anything about the absolute population numbers in those counties and the effect they have on the statewide and national election results. In fact, if you look at the national map, you will see more red than blue. But well, with some states divided up in only 2 counties and holding just 1 or 2 congressional seats, their impact is small.
If you stay with those county numbers and go the margin of victory, you will also note that the election wasn’t close by any margin, at least not on county level. There are only a fistful of counties where the margin of victory is less than 2%.
This election, of course, wasn’t just about the president. It was also about the House, Senate, and much much more. With Congress’ power split across both parties, many wondered what good this election and all the money that had been poored into it had done.
Let’s talk about what good it did first. Granted, Republicans keep control of the House, Democrats the Senate, but there have been some changes. Some of the tea-party favorites from the 2010 election have been kicked out of office (even Michelle Bachmann in Minnesota only managed to win with a 1% difference) and other candidates such as Todd Akin and their like failed in their bid for the Senate. Not only that, but Democrats have picked up more seats in both the House and the Senate, and hopefully this will all result in more cooperation, though I’m not holding my breath.
Secondly, the money. If we go the pragmatic approach, you can say that all that electioneering and the Super PACS stimulated the economy, just think about those millions and billions of dollars that have been spend on staff, advertising and travels.
But the truth of the matter is, even with corporations and Super PACs spending money like crazy, they couldn’t sway the election. That’s not to say that they didn’t have an impact, but they are no guarantee for victory. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t like seeing mayor Bloomberg’ Super PAC spending left and right, especially there where it helped get all four of the four ballot measures legalizing same sex marriage passed. But even he didn’t win everywhere he spend his money.
On the issues, I hope this election will mean that healthcare is here to stay, that gay rights will be increased and that the tax cuts for millionaires will be a thing of the past. I hope that woman will have the right to seek whatever treatment they want, despite whether or not their employer thinks they should get contraceptives or not and that the administration will forgo trying to get things such as SOPA and ACTA passed.
After 2008, Obama went to the middle of the road and forget much of what he had promised his base. Some of that is pragmatism, but some of that was probably not to antagonize the independents. With him having run for office for the last time, let’s hope that he will come back to base and fight for what he believes in and always talks about. He has made an effort the past year but there’s still a lot to be done, not only on civil and social rights, but also on economic matters. That deficit does need to be reined in.
Last but not least, let us not forget Fox News in all this. They were the first network after all to call Ohio for President Obama and thereby giving him the victory. They even went against the Republican establishment in defense of their exit polling. Granted, they went on and interviewed the statisticians themselves and asked whether or not they had made a mistake, but they didn’t retract the calling, in fact, they stood by it. Of course, after the initial shock and that one moment of journalistic clarity wore of, they reverted back to their fair and balanced coverage that we’ve come to expect.