After the most expensive Presidential campaign in U.S. history (both candidates were estimated to have spent more than $2 billion), President Obama emerged victorious November 6th. The state of Florida, so critical to President Bush’s victory in 2000, did not announce final results until Saturday, Nov. 10th (4 days after the national election) but they didn’t Matter. Mr. Obama had far more than the 270 Electoral College votes he needed and was therefore guaranteed 4 more years in office.
The results of the voting surprised most Americans, especially Republicans.
How could an election that was forecasted to be close be so decisive? Mr. Obama won virtually every swing state he needed, even those that were predicted just before the election to be slightly in favor of Mitt Romney.
There were several reasons that became clear after the smoke of the election:
1) Demographics: The Republicans failed to appeal to minorities and women, particularly single women. The Democrats were very successful in distracting these groups from the poor state of the economy (even though unemployment and falling household income affected women and minorities more than white males).
Thanks to a clever strategy to emphasize social issues such as birth control, including abortion, as well as immigration reform (particularly effective with Hispanics), Mr. Obama enjoyed a tremendous advantage over Mr. Romney.
Two Republican candidates for senator actually stated that the abortion option
Should be limited even in the case of rape. This certainly didn’t help the Republican brand, especially with single women.
2) “Get out the Vote” execution: The Republicans launched a campaign more than 2 years ago to require citizens to show proper picture identification before voting.
This appears to be a common sense requirement given that photo I.D’s are required for air travel and even to enter certain buildings. Ironically Democrats who opposed voter ID laws required picture IDs for delegates attending their political convention in September.
The Democrats recognized that voter ID laws might reduce voting from minority groups and opposed the voter ID campaigns vigorously. Sympathetic judges postponed the implementation of the voter ID laws, which many feel inspired more minority voters to participate in the 2012 election.
The Democrats also organized and practiced methods of getting voters to the polls, unlike the Republicans. Their practice and Election Day execution was very effective, leading to very strong turnout of Democratic voters.
Political observers wrote that the Republican Party may not see another successful candidate achieve the Presidency over the next generation UNLESS they transform themselves from the party of angry white older males to a party supporting individual responsibility and deficit reduction. The Republican Party needs to move away from social issues such as abortion and gay marriage to efforts to control the growth of government and encourage financial discipline. Immigration reform is essential to gaining the support of the Hispanic community.
So Obama “The Sequel” is directly ahead. After dealing with the “fiscal cliff” in 2012, the President has to focus on reducing unemployment while creating quality jobs for Americans. Over the past term, he spent much of his time using the Federal bureaucracy to create thousands of new employee and union-friendly regulations for business, including Obamacare and the expansion of the National Labor Relations Board into non-union environments.
What can business expect from Mr. Obama over the next 4 years?
That will be covered in Part 2.