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Quick thoughts

With the election almost 24 hours behind us, it's high time we start to analyze what happened. What follows are a few of my initial thoughts, in no particular order.

  • Those who favor healthcare reform and an adequate safety net that supports women, families and those in need; sane and humane immigration reform; more rather than less regulation of Wall Street and other corporate conduct; an expansion rather than a contraction of voting rights and real electoral reform; adequate public investments in education and infrastructure that produces good jobs and economic growth; and politics which are more inclusive and reconciling than divisive and polarizing on issues like GLBT rights—among many issues to choose from—had a good night.
  • Doorknocking and phone calls, when smartly targeted, still matter a lot, in spite of unlimited amounts of anonymous cash that fuels ugliness and rancor and gets a lot more media attention.
  • Like the two years between the Gingrich et al takeover in 1994 and the 1996 election, 2010 to 2012 demonstrates that politics considerably right-of-center doesn’t play well between the coveted 48-yard lines.
  • The composition of the electorate and their votes speaks volumes about the result. This from the Washington Post:

The electorate was less white (from 74 percent in 2008 to 72 percent this year), more Latino (9 percent to 10 percent), just as African-American (13 percent to 13 percent), more female (53 percent to 54 percent), more low-income (38 percent making less than $50,000 in 2008 to 41 percent Tuesday) and — perhaps most remarkably, younger (18 percent to 19 percent).

It all suggests that Obama’s laser-like focus on turning out each of his key constituencies — minorities, women and young people — paid dividends. And in many cases, these groups backed him as much or more as in 2008.

Women gave Obama 55 percent of the vote and low-income voters gave him 60 percent, about the same as four years ago. Latinos gave Obama 67 percent of their vote four years ago, and 71 percent on Tuesday.

And Democrats supported Obama even more than they did four years ago, with his share of the Democratic vote rising from 89 percent to 92 percent.

  • In the meantime, the Republicans strategists—overwhelmingly white males—ran a campaign that appealed to the core of their base—white males. And for anyone who stayed up late enough to see the scene at the hall in Boston, there wasn’t a person of color in the crowd, at least that I saw. Many said this election would be the last hurrah of the conservative white voter. They were off by four years.

  • The gender gap deserves more attention. A clear majority of women continue to prefer a “we’re in this together” message to a “you’re job is to make it on your own” message. The import for politics going forward seems significant.