Nov 08 2012
Ninety three percent of African American voters, 71% of Latino voters, 73% of Asian voters, and 55% percent of women voters, chose Barack Obama as their President on Tuesday, handing him reelection to a second term. After a first term of intransigent opposition from the Republican party and policies that disappointed many on the left, the electorate selected the President over an increasingly reactionary opposition party and a candidate whose fluid stances on issues alienated many. Significantly, Mitt Romney lost despite getting 59 percent of the white vote, indicating the weakening of that demographic’s voting power amidst a more multi-racial voting public.
Conservative New York Times writer Thomas Friedman in his column yesterday attributed the GOP’s loss to their shift to the radical right. He said, “The Republican Party today needs to have a real heart-to-heart with itself. The G.O.P. has lost two presidential elections in a row because it forced its candidate to run so far to the loony right to get through the primaries, dominated by its ultraconservative base, that he could not get close enough back to the center to carry the national election.”
A majority of women voters picked Obama, suggesting that women’s issues may also play into future Republican strategizing.
Although all this may indicate a possible opening for Obama’s policies over the next four years and a potential softening of his rivals’ obstructionism, the Republican Party and its pundits have indicated they will continue to fight Obama on key issues. Obama will immediately have to negotiate what has been called the “fiscal cliff,” $600 billion of spending cuts and tax increases that will be put in place at the end of 2012. Many believe these austerity measures will cripple an already staggering US economy.
House Speaker John Boehner who Obama will have to negotiate with did not indicate any softening of Republican opposition right after election night. On Wednesday he reasserted the Republican position of remaining firm against tax increases on the wealthy. However, in a press briefing yesterday, Boehner conceded that he would be open to a broad deal that included revenue sources.
GUESTS: Roberto Lovato is a writer whose work has appeared in the Associated Press, the Nation Magazine, New America Media, Los Angeles Times and other outlets, Eric Mann, long time local activist in Los Angeles, host of Voices from the Frontline, and author of Playbook for Progressives