Hope and Change, Part II
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The cheers of Democrats exploded across the nation at 11:12 p.m. last night when multiple media outlets declared President Barack Obama had won over the state of Ohio, securing his re-election.
NBC, CBS and Fox News all reported that Obama had won the pivotal state of Ohio, and with it the 19 electoral votes necessary to boost him over the magic number of 270, sparking scenes of jubilation at Obama headquarters in Chicago, among other places.
In the moments after Obama secured Ohio, however, some Republicans insisted the race to the White House was not yet over. Outspoken radical Republican Donald Trump tweeting, “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”
Nearly an hour later, though, it was clear — President Obama will serve as the leader of the free world for another four years.
After a 17-month, multi-billion dollar campaign that turned nasty at times, Obama used his acceptance speech to try to begin healing the partisan divide between a polarized electorate.
“Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated,” he said, addressing a throng of supporters in Chicago shortly before 2 a.m. “We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty.”
Obama earned reelection from an electorate weary from a weak economic recovery, with unemployment still hovering near 8 percent. Obama took an optimistic tone in his speech, while noting the problems many have gone through.
“Tonight, in this election,” he said. “You, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.”
His acceptance came after a hastily prepared concession speech from Romney, who publicly said earlier in the day that he had only prepared an acceptance speech.
After passing a litany of signature legislation in his first two years, the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives led to partisan gridlock over the past two years on Capitol Hill, and leaving voters frustrated with elected officials, driving their approval ratings to record lows.
Republicans and Democrats blamed each other during the campaign, but Obama expressed hope that the two sides could reach common ground.
“By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward,” Obama said. “But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.”
About an hour and a half after Obama secured Ohio, Romney delivered his concession at Romney headquarters in Boston. He thanked his wife, sons and daughter-in-laws for standing by him through this process.
Romney concluded his speech with, “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead your country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, so Ann and I join you in praying for his success.”
The defining moments of the 2012 campaign and election are moments that many Americans will have engrained in their minds for years to come.
Moments such as Clint Eastwood speaking to a chair at the Republican National Convention, Obama’s poor performance in the Oct. 3 debate against Romney and Romney’s comments about the 47 percent of Americans that were secretly recorded are a few.
Key phrases used by liberals such as; “Binders Full of Women”, Big Bird, the war on women and “Horses and Bayonets” engulfed the election for weeks.
Romney supporters, for their part, taunted the president with his own words, “you didn’t build that,” reprised their accusations of Obama’s secret socialism and criticized the president’s handling of the terrorist attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens.
A close race through most of October, many pundits believe that the response of Obama to the devastation of Superstorm Sandy helped tip the balance in his favor. The storm, and Obama’s strong response in the aftermath led to the endorsement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and praise from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of Romney’s top surrogates.
The last defining moment took place yesterday. America decided and they decided to reelect President Obama.
The woman and Latino vote may have made all the difference this election, with the Latino vote providing a critical boost to Obama in swing states like Florida., and 55 percent of women voted for Obama and 44 percent for Romney, according to CNN exit polls.
Social media played a significant role in both the campaign and final election results. The statement, “Four More Years” made by President Obama’s official Twitter account late last night, was re-tweeted more than 400,000 times, setting a Twitter record.
To coincide with social media, the youth vote, which was essential to Obama’s victory in 2008, played a major role in this election. CNN exit polls revealed 60 percent of 18-29 year olds voted for Obama while 37 percent voted for Romney.
Additional reporting by: Christopher Brito, Michael E. Cunniff