Florida is still being counted, but it’s just a formality as President Barack Obama scored a decisive victory over Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s election. As it stands President Obama leads Mitt Romney with 303 electoral votes to 206, and possibly more.
As the election results poured in late Tuesday night, and it became apparent that the Obama/Biden ticket was en route to victory, some pundits were quick to declare the nation divided and despite the overwhelming victory the sitting President was lacking a mandate. The Romney/Ryan ticket became the first national ticket to lose both home states since 1972, with Romney losing his home state of Massachusetts by 23.4 points and his native state of Michigan by 53.8 percent to 45.3 percent, while losing Paul Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin 52.8 to 46.1 percent. They even lost another state that Romney calls home, New Hampshire by a 52.2 to 46.4 margin. The case can be made of that being a mandate in and of itself against the candidates from the citizens who know them and their policies best.
When George W. Bush won the 2004 election over John Kerry he declared he had a mandate due to his winning 50.7 percent of the popular vote. Republicans and the media fell in line, touting a Bush mandate for the conservative agenda as a done deal. Bush conveniently dismissed the fact that 48.3 percent of Americans voted against him. Mr. Bush’s Electoral College victory was 286 to 251, much smaller than Mr. Obama’s current 303 that can possibly grow as high as 332. By that way of thinking, Barack Obama’s “mandate” is bigger. He won the Electoral College votes by a wider margin and what will possibly win a larger percentage of the popular vote when Florida and New Jersey are fully accounted for.
The truth is our nation is not divided; it is in transformation, as a white majority resistant to change refuses to cede to their inevitable minority status. The vote breakdown reveals a country in which a declining white majority was set back by a coalition of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, women and homosexuals. It is quite a formidable alliance and one that speaks to America’s future and not it’s past. While Republicans hold the majority in the House of Representatives, it is a tenuous position that is destined to evaporate under the nation’s rapidly changing demographics. President Obama’s election represents a New Mandate: to make substantial progress in constructing the new America and his victory should be celebrated for what it truly represents; real change.
The Romney Campaign and the Republican Party as a whole were banking that the anti-Obama fever and racial animus they attempted to stoke would power them to a victory. In reality, this election was always about race, hope and change and it was evident even before the Republican primaries were completed and Romney secured the Party’s nomination. After securing the nomination, the Romney campaign and Republican National Committee (RNC), led by its extreme right-wing, ran a campaign based on race based fear mongering and denying the right to vote to people of color. It was a strategy born of desperation and one that ultimately backfired. President Obama won because in the end hope, once again vanquished hate.
As it turned out a flawed candidate, with 1950's and 60’s ideas that did not resonate with a changing electorate was no match for the sitting President’s record. American voters re-elected the supposedly unpopular President in a time of a national recession and awarded him with a more liberal Senate. The country wants the Democrats’ platform. Yes, the House remains in the hands of the Republicans; but that is more due to the localized nature of the House elections, and the gerrymandering of districts. That should not be confused that Americans want anything to do with Ronald Reagan era trickle down economic policies. Republicans retaining the House does not give them a mandate to keep obstructing meaningful legislation. No, a mandate clearly belongs to Barack Obama and the Democrats.
The nasty and hateful campaign the Republican Party ran the last two election cycles, and the blatant disrespect Grand Ole Party members exhibited toward Barack Obama and the Office of the President throughout his first term, will not be forgotten. The GOP has degenerated into a vile hate group; using the airwaves and its position in public office to advocate for the maintenance of white privilege. Mitt Romney failed the leadership test because he exhibited cowardice in not directly confronting the ugliness in his own party. Instead, Romney pandered to the worst elements of the Republican Party and put his personal interest over that of the country. Because of that, the former Massachusetts governor did not deserve to win.
Some in the media are also arguing that unless you have the White vote you don’t have a mandate. In reality the changing demographics in the country make it possible to win a mandate without the white vote. Today the “white vote” does not hold more weight than any other vote in America. In fact, Republicans lost the white vote in crucial places like Ohio, where Romney’s Bain Capital record, his auto bailout stance and his lies about Jeep moving jobs to China didn’t play well and served to further the narrative of him as a used car salesman, akin to Joe Isuzu, trying to fleece the working man.
Since losing Tuesday night top Republican lawmakers have been attempting to spin the message, with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner saying they retained the House of Representatives, therefore President Obama did not earn a mandate from the American people. They have declared that they don’t have to work with President Obama in a new Congress and are hinting towards further gridlock and partisan brinksmanship. This of course is not true. The 112th Congress with their 66 member Tea Party caucus is guilty of the worst obstruction in U.S. legislative history. While most of them were reelected some of their most high profile or polarizing members lost or faced unprecedented challenges to their seats. Florida’s Allen West will be gone after the recount he’s demanding is completed, and the rape trio of Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock and Josh Mandel were denied entrance. Even the deep pocketed Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann barely held on to her seat.
With some of these same Republicans already signaling their intention to be obstructive to the President’s agenda, Americans who supported President Obama, as well as those who voted for the third party candidates, should take that as a personal insult. If Speaker John Boehner allows the fringe elements of his party to engage in the behavior that prevailed during this 112th Congress, our responsibility as voters and as citizens is to join the fight to change America, the same way those citizens who formed the Tea Party did leading up to the 2010 mid-term elections. They should be prepared to use very means available to make their presence felt in Washington, DC to hold Congress accountable, including civil disobedience. America can no longer sit idly by and let fringe House Republicans dictate our nation’s future.
So as we move forward as a nation, many challenges still remain ahead. Americans should be prepared to do what is necessary to bring about substantive change in our nation. The Obama campaign should be congratulated on a hard-earned and well deserved victory, and the country should continue to be guided by his principles.
The country has just re-elected the incumbent President by a wide margin, and has given him a Senate firewall against the Republicans. It’s called a mandate, and Republicans refusing to work with this President and his party will face growing irrelevance and backlash.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com