President Barack Obama’s resounding re-election yesterday shows recommitment to the Obama plan for the economy. This election in support of the policies of the last four years solidified Democratic control of the Senate and helped shrink Republican control of the House. The electorate broadly rejected the Bush Administration policies of cutting taxes for the rich, deregulation and smaller government. Americans believe Democrats are more qualified to solve problems with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, taxes and government spending, based on last night’s elections.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly progressive this election as it pushed through measures that helped small auto shops against big car dealers 85 to 15 percent and legalized medical marijuana 63 to 37 percent, last night’s poll results showed. Question 2 legalizing physician assisted suicide is too close to call at the time of publication. All Massachusetts House seats voted Democrat; Joe Kennedy III won in the 4th District.
Challenger Elizabeth Warren won the Massachusetts Senate election against Sen. Scott Brown by 53 percent to 47 percent; Obama won Massachusetts 60 to 38 percent. Warren won by courting women, the youth and arguing that Sen. Scott Brown could give control of the Senate to the Republicans.
The Democrats retained control of the Senate and added at least 1 seat at the time of publication for a 54-seat majority; however, Democrats are too close to call in Montana, Nevada and Wisconsin and could potentially have as many as 56 seats in the Senate.
Former Gov. Tim Kaine defeated George Allen for Senate in Virginia 51 to 49 percent; Obama, however, is projected to lose Virginia in presidential voting.
The Tea Party nominations for Senate earlier this year played into the Democrats hands in Indiana and Missouri. Sen. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” statement in August and Richard Mourdock’s similar statement in October showed extremely conservative positions on abortion and the right to choose. Sen. Claire McClaskill won re-election in Missouri and Congressman Joe Donnelly won Sen. Richard Lugar’s seat in Indiana.
The slow economic recovery advantaged Republicans entering the election, but momentum in Senate races and swing states faltered as the Obama campaign attacked radical policies on abortion, equal pay and contraception access. Women, especially younger women, did not favor these policies, and women voted for Democrats by a huge margin. The conservative movement must emerge from this election with moderated positions on women’s issues if they expect to win elections in the future.
Obama’s voters are a diverse and incorporative coalition of minorities, the youth, women and white Americans. The Latino vote strongly supported Obama; they will grow as a share of the vote in 2016. The president’s ability to draw on demographic shifts moved the states of Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia into the Democratic column in 2012. Republicans need to moderate positions on immigration, higher education, and social issues to attract diverse groups.
With this outstanding mandate, the Democrats will legislate on a variety of issues. Immigration reform will certainly be on the docket and could bring with it a loosening of restrictions, tightening of border, and easing the judicial attack on productive immigrants that do not have papers. The president can emphasize responsible energy policy involving wind, solar, nuclear and fossil fuels to reduce American dependence on foreign oil and attempt to repair and restore the nation’s environment.
A Democratic Justice Department and the appointments to the courts will provide a much needed boost to civil rights protection in the U.S. Perhaps most importantly, the president for the next four years will nominate one to three justices to the Supreme Court. Obama can overturn the conservative majority that has destroyed campaign finance law and affirmed the inequality that plagues our economy and society.
The 2012 election has reaffirmed the promise of Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and the Founding Fathers. America can have liberty and equality; the second Obama term will bolster the past four years and attempt to rein in corporate control of the political process and the economy.
This President is consequential and our country will see a brighter future.
Zac Bears is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at email@example.com.