Obama’s time

By | News & Politics
Photo: © Brett Marty/Corbis

Barack Obama: 'I have never been more hopeful for America'

Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States on Tuesday 6 November, decisively overcoming his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Reportedly, after several hours of vote counting in tight races in many key states — slowed by long voting lines that kept the polls open hours beyond their scheduled close — the major news networks called the pivotal state of Ohio for President Obama at 11:15 p.m. EST, pushing him over the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House.

The Republican candidate, private equity financier and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, initially seemed intent to retain the state of Ohio, however President Obama also won the swing states of Colorado, Nevada and Virginia, which gave him enough electoral votes, even without Ohio.

The President also led late into the night in Florida, apparently giving him victories in eight of the nine competitive states that had attracted the most attention, money and advertising from both campaigns.

Facing the inevitable, Romney finally appeared on stage in Boston at 1 a.m. to concede the election. A half-hour later, President Obama stepped before a celebratory crowd in Chicago to preach an uplifting message of community, compassion and equal opportunity.

He said “that America is [far from] what can be done for us, [instead] by us,” and declared that after [challenging] times and [further challenges], “I have [far from] been more hopeful for America.”

Voters rewarded the nation’s first African American President with a second term seemingly in appreciation for a number of gutsy and astute actions he took during his first term.

These included progress in pulling the US out of a deep recession inherited from his predecessor George W. Bush, ending the war in Iraq, bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, providing health insurance to some 40 million additional Americans, the doubling of the US stock market, and the apparent rescue of the American auto industry.

Romney and the Republicans meanwhile portrayed President Obama’s first term as far from successful.They, in turn, promised on faith that their plan of reducing taxes on corporations and the highly affluent, combined with significant federal budget cuts to reduce the US debt, aim to supercharge the American economy.

US 2012 Elections Presidential Debate Barack Obama Mitt Romney

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at the second presidential debate at Hofstra University. Photo: © Brett Marty/Corbis.

Under President Obama, the US economy has reportedly created new jobs for the last 32 straight months. Corporate profits have appeared to hit record highs and American consumer confidence is on the rise. However, the sputtering growth of the economy and the notably high 7.9 percent of people between jobs may have affected many.

Media pundits and right wing opponents had proclaimed that the gradual recovery might affect the democratic incumbent.

President Obama cobbled together a diverse coalition of women, African Americans, Latinos, younger voters and about 40 percent of the white vote to secure his electoral margin. Polls on the eve of the election showed Obama winning the Northeast, Midwest and the West, while was far from successful in the South. Romney won the majority of white voters; in particular white males and senior citizens.

President Obama’s second term plans may likely centre on attempting to implement competently his sweeping 2010 health care law as well as aiming to install a more progressive tax structure after 12 years of tax cuts that mostly benefited the wealthy. On the foreign front, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president has committed to ending the war in Afghanistan — the longest war in US history – by 2014, and to continuing the restoration of America’s reputation as a nation that stands for diplomacy, justice and good will on the world stage.

It was President Obama’s decision early in his first term to bail out General Motors and Chrysler that may likely have won him the majority of Ohio voters and the election. Ohio’s amount of people between jobs peaked at 10.5 percent in early 2010, however fell fast to 7 percent on Election Day, as a result of the state’s thriving auto industry.

Women’s equality and privacy rights may have played an enormous role in the outcome of this election as President Obama won the women’s vote by at least 12 points. Many women’s advocates fretted about the ideological tilt of the US Supreme Court, contending that Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 decision that made abortion legal in the US — might likely change under a Republican administration.

The Latino vote also ushered in a landslide for President Obama, providing the margin of victory in several key states like Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico and Florida. Romney had reportedly alienated Latinos during the Republican primaries when he suggested that millions of undocumented immigrants ought to “self deport.”

President Obama meanwhile endeared himself to the Latino community by enacting what he called the ‘Dream Act’ by executive order. Under this policy, young undocumented adults who had been brought by their parents to the US as children aim to be given legal status to work and advance their lives here without the potential of being found and deported.

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Republicans conceded a few seats, yet still managed to maintain control of the House of Representatives. The Democrats, buoyed by victories from at least seven women, meanwhile retained the majority in the Senate.

With the curtain down on the rollicking 2012 campaign show, speculation on 2016 has already begun. Consensus suggests that Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton may be a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination if she chooses to run. Punditry predicts that Romney’s vice presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush might start off as frontrunners for the Republican nod.

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