I see that all the states have been called except Florida. And that’s fine; Florida can take the next few days to count chads to its heart’s content, and it won’t matter. That’s nice.
Later on I’ll probably write something about What It All Means, but I was struck by this column at Buzzfeed, of all places, by Ben Smith:
ObamaCare is now a firmly rooted component of the nation’s social compact. Americans appear to have accepted his campaign’s argument that he deserves more credit for a nascent economic recovery than blame for its slow pace.
And the vision of a conservative resurgence appears to have fallen short. The best the Republican Party could muster was a Massachusetts moderate masquerading as “severely conservative.” The Tea Party is a memory, an embarrassment to a party that didn’t even mention it at its national convention in Tampa. And the network that led the conservative resurgence, Fox suffered a sort of televised meltdown as the results came in, with Karl Rove berating host Megyn Kelly for calling the election, he said, prematurely.
Republicans have warned of a more liberal Obama over the coming term, an outcome Democrats hope for and consider likely. But the scale of the decisions facing the country will create an intense pressure for compromise, and now on Democratic terms.
But the 2012 election marked a cultural shift as much as a political one. Ballot measures that had failed for years — allowing the marriage of two men or two women in Maine and Maryland; legalizing marijuana in Washington state and Colorado — were voted into law. The nation’s leading champion of bank regulation, Elizabeth Warren, handily defeated moderate Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and the nation’s first lesbian senator, Tammy Baldwin, was elected in Wisconsin. Even climate change, which was absent for nearly the entire campaign, came roaring back with Hurricane Sandy and was the subject of endorsements for Obama and harsh attacks on Romney.
These measures were passed, and Obama re-elected, by an American electorate that Republicans had dismissed as a fluke of African-American pride and youth enthusiasm, and which a generation of pundits — Michael Barone, George Will — wrote off as a fantasy.
What I’m seeing, here and elsewhere, is a sad admission that the day when the angry white male voter ruled is over. Of course, in some states, especially the South, it will linger for a long time. But on a national level, the racial dog whistles don’t work. Putting down feminists, promising to repeal Roe v. Wade, doesn’t work. Hysteria over same-sex marriage doesn’t work. Nativism doesn’t work. The All Hate All the Time campaign doesn’t work.
Smith’s column is headlined “Welcome to Liberal America.” Heh.