By Rodney Blu
When the news anchors and political pundits loosened their ties, let down their hair, packed away their equipment and went back to their respective headquarters and offices early Wednesday, Nov. 7, President Barack Obama had been re-elected into office. With 50 percent of the popular vote and 96 more electoral votes than required for victory, Obama defeated rival Mitt Romney of Massachusetts in one of the closest in the last 70 years of presidential elections.
“Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny,” President Obama said, opening his victory address, “the task of perfecting our Union moves forward.
This election differed from past races in not only that, in the face of economic downturn and soaring unemployment, the reigning presidency remained (something that hasn’t happened since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s win in 1936,) but that what seemed most important to most voters this time around was less the economy, government and politics-as-usual, but unyielding social matters confronting specific groups within the American population.
Various issues, strewn within the political fabric throughout election season have pieced together the parchment of this nation’s future. What determined the outcome of the 2012 presidential election was not as much experience, political allegiance or even the trillion of dollars raised and spent on behalf of each camp’s political aspirations, as it was: where the candidates stood on today and the future’s most pressing issues.
According to the Washington Post, President Obama consistently showed favorable attitude and intentions towards particular circles of society regarding their present individual concerns, including: middle working class issues, women’s rights, immigration, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender equality and the future of the America that young voters are soon to inherit. A national exit poll surveying more than 10,000 voters, echoed this sentiment in finding the majority of Obama’s supporters felt his greatest quality was, “He cares about people like me.”
Foxnews.com, too, indicated that Obama’s “key groups made the difference,” as his campaign was supported with sweeping unanimity among voters between the ages 18-44, nonwhite, female, the political liberal and moderate and those whose annual income fall short of $50,000. USA Today online suggested that his adamancy with the automotive bailout of GM and Chrysler, nearly four years ago, edged President Obama the victory in Ohio – arguably the most imperative battleground state where one of every eight jobs is related to the auto industry.
It became the president’s obligation to these socially specific grievances that would amass the collective spirit towards his re-election. The theme of the year’s electoral race seemed to scream, “what will the candidate do for me and mine?” while the all-encompassing issues of war, the economy and healthcare took a seat further back than their placed significance in both previous campaigns and opponent Governor Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential platform.
Where Romney’s presidential ticket failed was with the erroneous assumption that the core moderate values of the Grand Old Party could topple what he and many opponents of Obama’s presidency felt was a fizzling energy of hope and the feverish fluke of promise and sensation, according to Republican strategist, Mike Murphy. “The country is changing and our party appeals to a static group,” he said in a post-election article on FDLReporter.com.
Over the passing year, it has become apparent that the America of 2012 and ultimately, for years to come, is a strange and new animal to passing generations. “The white establishment is now the minority,” Fox news’ political pundit Bill O’Reilly said in one of his grown-to-be characteristic network tirades, condemning the nation’s current evolution, “it’s not a traditional America anymore.”
The tone taken by O’Reilly and scores of his contemporaries indicate a reluctance to forfeit America to a generation who seeks to legitimize gay marriage, reimagine the route to citizenship for illegal immigrants, refocus the accepted perspective of a woman’s personal rights, emphasize dedication to the middle economic class, consider reevaluation of the healthcare system and other progressive stances taken by a growing population often deemed “socialist” and variants of such endearing terms.
If nothing else, the reelection of President Barack Obama will signify, for the next four years, an emergent commitment to the values and perspective of a rising generation. Everyday, the American and world torch is growing closer into the hands of the next in line. It seems that 2012 does not represent the end of the world but, rather, the dawn of a new.