La Repubblica, Italy
Women, Youth, Factory Workers, Immigrants: “The Other America”
By Angelo Aquaro
Translated By Linda Merlo
7 November 2012
Edited by Heather Martin
Italy - La Repubblica - Original Article (Italian)
The president found the consensus again of all the categories of people who led him to the White House in 2008. Social strata that the Republican Romney neglected as he counted on the support of the economically dominant class.
It really seems like a story of the last becoming the first; it's the 47 percent winning back over the 1 percent, it's the victory of that America that Mitt Romney reviled: The 47 percent who are, in fact, so poor that they can't even afford to pay taxes — you don't take care of them, you just look and pass them by — while what should have counted was the mere 1 percent of the super-rich who already have everything and yet, naturally, needed their taxes cut.
Yes, Barack Obama's victory really goes to the truest part of America, right to the part that his opponent didn't cultivate — people who are strong — rather than going after the support of billions of strong powers. Women, for example. Yet Republican ears must have been ringing for a while. How do you win the vote by antagonizing the female electorate, how do you say no to contraception which is used by 90 percent of women in the United States? And especially how do you not distance yourself from the likes of Richard Mourdock or Todd Akin, who are capable of such horrors as the justification of children born of rape as a gift from God? All the polls said that women were Obama's strength; they were pushing their preferences up high, even splitting traditionally Republican families. And a woman, Meggie Hassan, is the one who pulled Barack to victory in a state he was in danger of losing: New Hampshire. The new governor is now the only leader of a U.S. state who is pro-choice: That is, she's in favor of abortion; the only other women in power are Republicans and obviously against terminating pregnancy.*
No, you don't govern in the third millennium without governing issues of sexuality — and here the mobilization of gay people was decisive, too. Obama is the president who canceled the ban on homosexuals in the military and who has explicitly come out in favor of same-sex marriage. And it is no coincidence that even in his talk on “reinvestment,” he remembered them, this absolutely important constituency that Romney, on the other hand, had made enemies of, firing his own spokesman for obvious homosexuality.
And how, in the years of globalism and a web without borders, how do you win without immigrants and young people? Of course they want facts, not just words. The first black president failed, given Congress's obstruction, to pass the grand immigration reforms that he dreamed of. But for the children of illegal immigrants already working and studying in the U.S., he's removed the shame of forced repatriation; he himself signed the decree that bypassed the powers — and especially the inaction — of the House and Senate. It was a fundamental move: The black-Hispanic axis is exactly the lever upon which the man who would become the first African-American president built his success four years ago. And today's results, from Florida to Colorado to Nevada — that is, in the states in which Hispanics were the deciding factor — speak volumes about the success of the operation.
Here, again: The great strength of Barack four years ago was young people. And in recent months all the experts warned: The focus has shifted; the excitement of 2008 isn't there anymore. The running mate — he's relatively young, too, 42 years old — who Mitt Romney chose was also ironic: We can't let our kids grow old in the privacy of their rooms staring at a poster of Obama. As if to say: Barack enchanted them, but he was unable to do anything for them. Instead, young people responded wonderfully en masse to the appeal of their president; actually thanks, too, to the mobilization, which was also extraordinary, of those who, in his Chicago speech, the president called the most organized campaign team in history.
Women, gays, immigrants, young people. And pardon me if in this country, reborn after the worst crisis since the Great Depression, there are still factory workers. Here the triumph in the [United] States, the symbol of American industrial structure, from Michigan to the Big Three in Detroit, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler — in fact even in the coveted Ohio — is proof that the working class really has a long memory. Romney was against saving the car that Barack wanted: And the factory workers remembered.
Yes, it is really the story of the last that became once again the first: Now it's up to Obama II to demonstrate that it's not going to be only for one night.
*Editor’s note: The author misspelled Maggie Hassan’s name and incorrectly calls her the only governor of a U.S. state who is pro-choice. There are also two other Democratic women governors, Bev Perdue of North Carolina and Christine Gregoire of Washington, who are both pro-choice.
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