President Obama’s re-election on November 6, 2012 was the ultimate political high point in a year filled with lies, unnecessary voter ID laws, long lines and 47% of Americans being disrespected by the Republican presidential candidate—just to name a few.
President Obama will continue what he started in 2008, being the President of all the American people and not just a select rich few. In winning the election, President Obama not only beat Mitt Romney by winning more than 50% of the vote, he won consecutive elections with over 50% of the vote and won re-election with a high almost 8% unemployment. Time magazine summed it up this way in naming him “person of the year” saying: “For finding and forging a new majority, for turning weakness into opportunity and for seeking, amid great adversity, to create a more perfect union, Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year,” Stengel explained in his note this year. For his next term, despite all odds still facing the country, President Obama must now find a way to lead the country out of the fiscal abyss despite the Republicans reluctance to lead America anywhere except down a dead end.
Mitt Romney’s 47% tape was the good, bad and ugly political moment of 2012—all rolled into one. Mother Jones published the tape of Mitt Romney speaking before a group of wealthy business persons declaring that 47% of the country receive hand-outs and will vote for President Obama no matter what. Romney’s debacle recorded at a May, 2012 fundraiser and given to Mother Jones publication, showed he believed that 47% of Americans receive a hand out from the government. He was heard saying:
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
The tape helped to show how out of touch Romney was with the average American whom he referred to as freeloaders. It ended up being the gift that kept giving for Democrats. It also gave Americans the opportunity to see whom a Mitt Romney presidency would help. In the end, it helped President Obama win the election.
The GOP bad voter ID laws aimed to suppress minority voters ironically helped to win the election for President Obama. The voter ID laws enacted in over 34 states including most swing and battle ground states were enacted out of a lie. The GOP wanted Americans to believe that in person voter fraud was running rampant and such laws were needed to combat them. In reality, everyone has a better chance of getting struck by lightning than seeing voter fraud. And at some point, Republican lawmakers, like Pennsylvania Mike Turzai boldly stated that the purpose of the laws was to give Mitt Romney the win. In the end, minorities came out overwhelmingly in support of President Obama. In some areas, like Ohio and Florida, people stood in early voting and election day voting lines for over 7 hours to cast a ballot. Despite the fact that the laws backfired on the Republicans in 2012, we still must fight these unnecessary voter suppression laws enacted out of a lie.
The 2012 election brought out the power of the woman. President Obama received more than 50% of women voters. More women were elected to national offices in the House and Senate than ever before, including progressive Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, the first openly gay woman to serve. There are now 20 women serving in the Senate and 78 women in the House of Representatives.
In 2013, we still have our work cut out for us. There is still much to do to form that more perfect union. And as President Obama stated on the early morning hours of November 7, 2012 in his victory speech, “the task of our union moves forward.”