While my Electoral College prediction was just four states off, it was more than enough support to reelect Barack Obama. The President’s wider Electoral College win overshadowed a narrow popular vote margin, which was a little over two million votes out of almost 120 million cast.
There is no denying that America remains a bitterly divided country. This campaign did nothing to change that. The resulting structure of the American government is the same as it was prior to the election. Republicans control the House and Democrats have the Senate and the Presidency. A divided nation chose to keep a divided government.
As for what’s next for Obama the next four years, it’s a bit hazy. The President did not really have a clear second term agenda besides saying he’d be doing more of what we saw in his first term. The President’s signature accomplishment of healthcare reform is safe. It weathered a court battle and now an electoral one. So I suspect healthcare will not get rehashed as a policy matter. Obama’s signature second term policy will surely not be as sweeping as healthcare either. He has to get it passed in a GOP controlled House. The good news there is typically the most successful pieces of policy legislation are the bipartisan ones.
The unanswered questions that linger are many. The ‘fiscal cliff’ that’s going to be dealt with in December. Will the President put another jobs package on the table? Will said package cut spending in any significant way? How will the GOP and Obama work together and will their relationship be any better than the last two years?
In the end, Barack Obama has done something remarkable. Winning an election that produced almost complete change in 2008 and winning an election in 2012 that almost entirely maintained the status quo in Washington. Unless Obama himself changes his tact and the Republican House gives a bit too, the resulting dysfunction will look as if we never had an election at all.
*The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.