America, Where To?
By Cristian Pîrvulescu
Translated By George-Cristian Samoilă
12 November 2012
Edited by Peter L. McGuire
Romania - Bursa - Original Article (Romanian)
Once the results for the electoral college in the state of Florida were released, Barack Obama's victory became even more definitive. The president secured 332 electoral votes; Mitt Romney obtained only 206. Compared to the 2008 elections, when he became president on a wave of hope, Obama only lost two states, Indiana and North Carolina, both traditionally right-wing, but he won, with a slight majority, the elections in Ohio, Virginia and, finally, Florida. Even the popular vote was more in favor for Obama than polls suggested: he won 50.06 percent (65,713,086 votes) against Romney’s 47.9 percent (58,510,160). In 2008, with a much more significant number of voters (131,257,328 compared to this year's 122,146,119) Obama received 69,456,897, 52.92 percent of all votes, which shows a slightly less dramatic drop than most researchers were estimating. The shock of this reelection for the radicals in the opposing camp was so great that Karl Rove, former counselor and consultant for George Bush Jr., contested the results of the Ohio election on Fox News despite evidence and some tea party representatives posted messages, as in Cincinnati, where they were deploring the “suicide of the entire nation” or elsewhere in Ohio, where there were fears of the country entering socialism in a few months.
These reactions, beyond the frustration of those that considered this election the chance for the definitive exit of America from the Roosevelt era, prove the ideological reasons behind Obama's reelection. If in 2008 Obama's victory was considered historical especially because of his African-American origins, in 2012 his victory is an indisputable ideological achievement. Beyond the balancing acts and the compromises made by the U.S. president, particularly in the last two years of office, after the Congress elections of 2010 when the Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives, the majority of Americans sent a clear message concerning the direction the U.S. should take.
It wasn't just the Republicans that were unsatisfied by the results in Obama's first term, but also what could be called the left wing of the Democrats, for whom the president's concessions toward Wall Street interests and major multinational companies were too large. Despite this, the majority of them continued to vote for Obama. No matter what left-wing critics of Obama say, Obamacare — the new health care system so heavily criticized by far right-wing Americans with Paul Ryan (the republican vice-president candidate) in the lead — was validated through the election. Such a reform wasn't successfully completed by Roosevelt or Bill Clinton, who attempted similar programs. After these elections, for the Republicans — who bet on economic radicalism and accepted the ideological supremacy of the tea party movement — the time has come for a reevaluation and adaptation to an American society for which democracy is at least as important as capitalism. For the Republicans, a series of local victories against religious conservatives, who also have determined the direction of the party in recent years, will have consequences. Todd Akin, the man that claimed the female body can “shut down” pregnancy in case of rape, as well as ultra-conservatives Richard Murdock and Scott Brown, were defeated by representatives of left-wing Democrats like Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren or Tammy Baldwin, the first senator to openly declare her homosexuality.
Obama isn't the one to blame for the gap separating America today in such a brutal manner, but the Republicans, who, ever since Reagan, have tried to drag the world back to where it was before the Great Depression. To Obama, this second term is an essential one, as he has only four years to accomplish unfulfilled promises, especially economic ones and those concerning international policy, but also to prepare America for another Democratic president. And, with a hostile House of Representatives, he has a long way to go.
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