After 2 years and over $2.5 billion, America re-elected Barack Obama to office.
With Florida undecided, the Democrats won 303 electoral votes, 12% more than needed, 50%-48% of the popular vote and swept all the swing states; despite an unemployment rate of 7.9%, a budget deficit of $1.6 trillion, a national debt of $16 trillion and 23 million Americans looking for work. The question is not how the Democrats won and won bigger than expected; but how the Republicans lost a race that was theirs for the taking. The latter had the money, the organization, the backdrop, and by most accounts, the candidate best qualified to fix the economy. Where did the Republicans fail?
While the economy figured largely, Americans must have decided social issues were equally important like reproductive health, climate change, immigration and a caring Government. The Democrats presented a holistic vision where community, “love and charity” are ideals as fundamental to the American Dream as individual achievement and free enterprise. This resounded with women, minorities (especially Latinos) and the young who were the foundation of the Obama victory. Ironically, these are the very constituencies badly affected by the current recession.
What were the lessons of the elections? Here are some: