CHH Politics: Obama win wasn’t that big of a surprise

Kwabena Boateng

If you haven’t heard, Barack Obama is still our president, courtesy of Ohio, Virginia and other swing states. Obama’s victory over Romney wasn’t surprising. Nate Silver, the statistical guru behind the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog, had Obama’s re-election chances at 90 percent, before most ballots were tallied. This campaign was in the president’s hands to either lose or win. Even with Romney’s strong showing in the first debate, Obama remained ahead in the polls. The popular vote and Electoral College weren’t close — it was all Obama, so no repeat of 2000, thank goodness. The confetti has settled, and, as The Who sang, the new boss is the same as the old boss. So, what is next?

First, people need to vent, vent some more and then relax. Obviously not everyone was happy with the results on Tuesday. I spoke to someone who was disappointed with Americans “making the same mistake twice.” Yet she said this without being distraught or raging, unlike some folks on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Both sides endlessly raging is one of the reasons our politicians aren’t productive. So, wait for Thanksgiving, and allow that tryptophan to settle your mind. 

Now my second point. Republicans seem to be at a crossroads. Will they continue the shift to the Tea Party side, forcing moderates, such as Romney, to completely adopt views they don’t necessarily share? Or will they find a new niche, one that isn’t purely about deadlocking Congress. Regardless, they can’t continue to ignore demographic changes if they want to succeed in 2016, as Al Cardenas of the American Conservative Union admitted to Politico. According to UPI, “Hispanics, Jews, Asians, women and young voters… made the difference” in swing states such as Virginia and Florida. It won’t be any different in 2016. 

Lastly, I’m not sure what has really “changed.” We still have an ever increasing national debt. We are still in two wars. Guantanamo’s detention camp is still open. U.S. drones are still killing Pakistani civilians. Obama’s victory was a far cry from his “hope and change we can believe in” of 2008. Some of that has to do with his opponents. I hope they, and all of us, emulate Mitt Romney’s gracious concession, and his call for “our leaders to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”