BY Adeyemi Oshunrinade
The undecided have decided. At 303 to 206 electoral votes, America has delivered the mandate to President Obama for another four years in office. It was a campaign that cost the nation about $6 billion according to the Nonpartisan Center For Responsive Politics. The Ads and debates dominated the news as the candidates tried to present their policies to the entire nation but this morning, America finally made the decision that the nation is better off with Barack Obama.
As the votes began to pour in from different parts of the nation, it became clear the incumbent would retain his position as the nation’s President. When the CNN projection finally came that Obama had won, the entire country waited to hear the concession speech of the opposition Mr. Romney. On his concession, Mr. Romney congratulated the President and his base and thanked his running mate Paul Ryan. He thanked his wife and family for their support and laid down the importance of both party coming together to solve the national problems. He also offered his prayer and support for the President.
When the time came for Mr. Obama to make his victory speech, the President thanked every American who participated in the election. “Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward,” he said. The President did not forget to acknowledge his opponent. He thanked Mr. Romney and congratulated him and Paul Ryan, on a hard fought campaign. “We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honor and applaud tonight,” he said to his supporter’s applause.
The way Mr. Obama won is a proof of how America believed in him and his policies in contrast to his opponent Mr. Romney. Mr. Obama was able to gain the support of moderates, women and minorities who voted for him overwhelmingly thereby, enabling him to win reelection on Tuesday. It is incontrovertible that the President’s policies on immigration, women issues especially abortion and his relentless support for the Middle Class resonated to the particular group and was a motivating factor in helping him gain such a huge support from them.
Based on CNN projections, Mr. Obama got more than the 270 electoral votes required to be President. The victory in Ohio and Virginia finally gave him 303 electoral votes to 206 for Mr. Romney. The President was able to withstand the last minute push by his opponent to grab the battleground state of Pennsylvania and captured major swing states of Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and Colorado. Mr. Obama also won Michigan the birth place of Mr. Romney just as he took Wisconsin where Paul Ryan serves as a representative.
According to the Exit polls, Mr. Obama got many African American votes as well as Hispanic votes similar to his success that gave him victory four years ago. No doubt his campaign on immigration and the passage of the Dream Act played important role in why he got the support he needed to win from the Hispanic population. To some, the writing of his victory was already on the wall when polls showed the President had taken the state of Ohio. In fact, Mr. Romney lost Massachusetts where he previously served as governor to Mr. Obama. The victories in New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, Maine, Hawaii and the District of Columbia helped seal the deal for Mr. Obama.
The fact is Mr. Romney failed to sell his plan to America. He did not appeal to voters and he could not convince the general populace his economic and fiscal policy would work. The blow was dealt to his campaign when the video in which he relegated 47% of America was released. The Republican policies on abortion, gay issues and immigration helped push voters away from his base and the ideological approach to the way the Republican Party believed the country should be run, may have failed to convince those who believe there should be a pragmatic approach to running the nation.
The issue is where do we go from here? No doubt the Republican Party needs restructuring in order to gain voters’ confidence. The party is broken and right now has no strong leadership. Moreover, the base has moved too far to the right and as long as it is unwilling to work in a bipartisan mode and concede on some of his policies on things like immigration, abortion and gay marriage its dream of taking the oval office once again may be far from reality. The Republican Party must straighten up and work with the Democratic Party on issues affecting the people in order to establish belief in its core principles.
On the other hand, the Obama administration must not see the President’s reelection as a total victory. The President must get unemployed Americans back to work, many have moved from being democratic to the middle and some who normally would have voted for him, did not even vote for his reelection. The President must immediately work on a bipartisan fiscal policy, the looming tax issue and the fiscal cliff bubble must not be allowed to burst. A tax hike and a spending cut amounting to $1.2 trillion will not sit well with American people currently hurting.
As Congress is still divided with a Republican majority in the House and Democrat in Senate, Mr. Obama must encourage bipartisanship and work with both Houses on a comprehensive deficit reduction that would relief the nation of its debt, without creating a burden on the Middle Class. With Congress so divided, the President must show the American people he is willing to work with the other party where possible or else, his second administration may become unpopular and his legacy irrelevant to history.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E.JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Murder of Diplomacy’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ a recently published fiction. Follow on Twitter @san0670.