by Dennis Dalman
President Barack Obama delivered an electoral knock-out punch to challenger Mitt Romney Tuesday, celebrating a re-election victory with a vast audience of cheering supporters in Chicago.
Just minutes before, in Boston, Romney gave a gracious concession speech to a somber, subdued gathering.
Obama scored 303 of the 270 electoral votes needed for a win, but the popular vote was not quite as decisive – as of Wednesday morning 58,720,000 to 56,146,000, or 50.1 percent to 48.4 percent of the vote. Obama won in virtually all of the nine or so crucial battleground states. He also won in Minnesota.
Romney’s main support came from the American South and West, excepting Florida and the western coastal states.
The stunning election night revealed a political irony, a confirmation of the adage “the more things change, the more they remain the same.” Obama is still the president for four more years; the United States House remains virtually unchanged, still in Republican control; and the U.S. Senate still has a Democratic majority.
The big post-election question, so evident Wednesday morning, was, “Will the president and the U.S. Congress begin to work together and learn to compromise after at least two years of virtual deadlock?”
Pundits far and wide are doing political autopsies as to what went wrong with Romney’s campaign. Most agree the Hispanic vote was crucial for Obama’s election triumph, especially in the states of Florida, Colorado and Nevada. There also seemed to be a consensus among political observers that Romney and the Republican Party had moved too far to the right-wing extreme regarding social and economic issues, thus alienating many groups of people, including women and ethnic minorities. Romney’s message about a stalled economy did not have a decisive effect on voters.
Many political analysts are attributing Obama’s triumph to a long-term, steadfast ground support in all of the battleground states and on Americans’ perceptions the economy and the jobless rate is slowly but steadily improving.