11/7/2012

Well, the electoral vote wasn’t as close as some of the final polls indicated. The President won over 300 electoral votes and Mitt Romney’s narrow path to 270 never materialized. Evidently, most Americans were not ready to give up on the Barack Obama they elected in 2008.

By most objective standards, his performance in office has not been great, but it has been “good enough.” His approval rating of 49 percent is about where George W. Bush’s was in 2004 and is about 10 points higher than the rating of previous incumbents who lost reelection – Carter in 1980 and George HW Bush in 1992. A majority of American voters apparently do not hold him responsible for the sluggish economy.

Equally true is that a majority of Americans are not particularly concerned with high unemployment, the prospect of higher taxes, and the money that went to the stimulus package and the auto bailouts. And oh yeah, Obama Care. The Supreme Court has validated it, and now the voters have. It will be the law of the land.

Mitt Romney and his campaign will come under criticism. He was not a terrific candidate, and his campaign made a number of mistakes. But the truth is, incumbents are hard to beat. And the country wasn’t through yet with this incumbent.

The President and his supporters will see this as a major victory, and a validation of his policies, notably Obama Care. Republicans will be forced to regroup. The country is changing. The U.S. is becoming more ethnically diverse and more reliant on government. Perhaps the old Republican formula no longer works in national elections. Coming out of 2012 the Republican Party is going to be divided. But if it is going to survive, indeed thrive, it is going to have to adapt and come out of this stronger and in better position to win over those who voted for the President this year.

But in the short term, the President will have to work with a Republican-controlled House. Congressional Republicans may be chastened after Obama’s win, but they won’t retreat. Both sides will have to compromise on major issues, such as spending, taxes, and immigration. The President will be thinking about his legacy and Republicans will be looking ahead to 2014.