The numbers behind the numbers
At first glance, the presidential election results look similar to what was projected. Obama received a little over 3 million more votes than Romney did which accounts for about a three percent edge and he garnered 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206 (Romney has conceded Florida, although it has not been officially called yet). So it was close, but not as close as many were predicting.
But the real story lies in the numbers behind the numbers and it's a dire warning for Republicans in national and state wide elections. White voters dropped 2 percentage points from the 2008 election and are expected to drop two more points before the 2016 election and the President received only 39 percent of that vote. But he won 93 percent of the black vote, 75 percent of the Asian vote, 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, and 58 percent of the female vote. In addition, he won the 18-to-44-year-old male vote, the college educated vote and young people (18-24) voted in larger numbers than they did in 2008.
So how do we interpret those numbers? For several years, the minority population has been increasing and the white population has been decreasing and that trend will continue. The experts predict that by the year 2050, whites will be a minority population in this country. Now the Republicans have this information too and that's why they ran perhaps the worst presidential campaign ever. They catered to the extreme right wing of the party and lost the election because of it. That portion of the Republican Party disrespects women and minorities and when you disrespect someone, you can't expect them to vote for you.
Karl Rove and other prominent Republicans were shocked at the outcome because they went through the entire election cycle with blinders on. They honestly didn't think they had alienated a large portion of American voters by their rhetoric. They were living in a bubble.
This was an election that should have been easily won by the Republicans. Obama promised "change we can believe in" in 2008 and he didn't deliver on that promise. The economy was stagnant for most of the past four years and he didn't do much to change that. Although he had some accomplishments, most people would agree he had more failures and that's the platform the Republicans should have ran on. But they didn't. They focused on their extreme right base and by the time Romney started coming back to the middle, it was too late.
It was also a perfect time for them to retake the Senate but because the Senate is based on statewide elections, they weren't able to do that, either, for the same reasons. So instead of having a Republican president, a Republican Senate and a Republican House, they only have one of those because of the hateful nature of their politics. And if they don't change, the next election, which will most likely see Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee, will be a carbon copy of this one.
George H.W. Bush spoke when he was President about the Republican Party being 'a big tent' where everyone was welcome. The last 20 years have seen that idea go out the window because the party has become exclusive rather than inclusive. That spells doom for them in all elections except for the House of Representatives where they've managed to gerrymander districts that almost guarantee they will keep control of that arm of government for the foreseeable future.
I've said before that the most important thing a President does is not the economy or defense or education; it's the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, because they serve for life. Long after a President is gone from office, his appointees will still be around, crafting the laws that govern this nation. It's expected that Obama could have as many as three appointments over the next four years and that would change the nature of the Court and it's rulings for the next thirty years. And if he's succeeded by Hillary Clinton, it's likely to end up being an all Democratic court with the exception of Chief Justice John Roberts.
The stakes are always high in state and national elections and in this past election, the Republicans made a fatal flaw that could haunt them for decades to come.