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L'Express, France

The New Obama Era

By Philippe Coste

Translated By Lindsey Cambridge

7 November 2012

Edited by Jane Lee

France - L'Express - Original Article (French)

One would have to be a frosty ideologist to not feel the moving humility of a president re-elected by a population still stuck in a crisis, in their fears and in their doubts. Obama himself, known for being reserved and a bit technocratic these last four years, took the moment to remind Americans, in the tone of a political Sinatra, that “the best is yet to come.”

By re-electing him tonight, 80 percent of “non-white” voters in the country showed everyone, in a decisive vote, the face of tomorrow’s America. And the approval of voters from the industrial Midwest, the primary beneficiaries of the government’s automobile industry bailout, represents unexpected support for a new American social democracy. Hurricane Sandy also played a role. Not so much by placing Romney out of televised news, but by simply revealing the obvious fact repudiated by Republican exaggeration: the necessity of national solidarity and government involvement in the tormented life of its constituents.

Obama, through a speech that rivaled the quality of his famous address in Manassas, Virginia the day before his victory in 2008, repeated his favorite theme: national unity and necessary compromise for the good of the public. If his campaign couldn’t draw up a plan (and thus a mandate) with precision, the president now has legitimacy and wiggle room that, in a period of economic recovery, largely exceeds that of 2008.

Very well. He will still have in front of him a predominantly Republican House of Representatives, but tonight’s defeat also leads to an agonizing revision of strategy for the opposing party. Americans clearly rejected the destructive extremism of the conservative opposition and the perilous vagueness of the Romney candidacy. From the Republican side, the fate of the tea party and some of the incendiaries in Congress is in discussion today. The role of the governors from this party, pragmatic for the most part, promises to be held up as a token of inclusion and efficiency.

More importantly, the Republican Party inevitably discovered that the transformation of a predominantly multiracial country set its strategy up for failure, a strategy which consisted of placing all bets on white American voters. Tonight, Romney looks at a 40 point deficit against Obama with Hispanic voters. Ninety three percent of Black voters were in favor of Obama. What position, what proposal can the Republicans mold in order to accommodate this new reality?



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