The Guardian | Thursday 8 November 2012
‘The best isyet to come’,vows Obama
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back to work for the president
that too will endear him to posterity.But the president cannot do thatalone. Action on the deﬁcit will requirea “grand bargain” with Congress andthat means the Republican party, whichretained control of the House of Repre-sentatives, though Democrats remain incharge in the Senate. The risk for Obamais that, for all his renewed talk of biparti-san co-operation, he might be thwarted by all too familiar gridlock. Yet the night marked more than justthe extension of the Obama presidency:it also conﬁrmed the arrival of theObama nation. For underpinning thepresident’s success was a shift in thevery nature of the US electorate, withwhite voters accounting for a smallershare than ever before. Now 28% of American voters are non-white, a three-fold increase over the last four decades.And these rising groups that make upthe new America vote Democrat.That much was clear in what analystJohn Heilemann called Obama’s “coali-tion of the ascendant”. The presidentcould trail Romney among white men because, polls showed, he could rely on93% support among black Americans,71% of Latinos, 60% of the under-30sand 55% of women.The US pundit class is fond of hail-ing every presidential election as the birth of a new, permanent Democraticor Republican majority. Such verdictsshould be handled with care. After all,Romney came within two percentagepoints of Obama in the popular vote.Nevertheless, the political complexionof the American people is changing.Striking was the passage in three statesof measures authorising equal marriagefor gay couples. Wisconsin elected theﬁrst openly gay senator, Tammy Bald-win. The Obama campaign understoodthis new electorate and turned out itsvote brilliantly.The Republicans are in the reverseposition. They lost because they reliedon a white vote that is shrinking. Whatwill surely follow is a battle for the soulof the Republican party, realists pittedagainst purists. The realists will argueRepublicans must expand their appeal if they are not to be doomed to perennialdefeat. Romney won fewer Latino vot-ers than John McCain, who won fewerthan George W Bush. That was partly because, to survive the Republicanprimaries, Romney had to adopt a hardline on immigration, calling on migrantsto “self-deport”. In that move, theLatino commentator Ana Navarro toldCNN: “He self-deported from the WhiteHouse.”Others will add that Republicans haveto change the way they speak to women,after two candidates who suggested thatwomen should be forced by law to bearthe children of their rapists lost winna- ble Senate seats.The purists will brook no suchchange, insisting Republicans must staytrue to their small government, sociallyconservative message. The people willcome around eventually, they believe,especially if the party can ﬁnd an attrac-tive, ideally non-white messenger – say,senator Marco Rubio of Florida.The consequence could well bea Republican civil war, or period of “reﬂection and recalibration” as Texassenator John Cornyn politely called it.But a change is overdue. Without it,Republicans will surely endure morenights like the one they suﬀered onTuesday, when they gathered in a Bos-ton ballroom for what was meant to bea victory party – a glum, all-white groupstaring at a giant screen, watching TVpictures from Chicago of a crowd of beaming Democrats, young and old, black and white, celebrating a victorythat tasted even sweeter the secondtime around.
Supporterscheer PresidentObama’s addressat the glitteringelection nightparty in Chicagoto celebrateovercoming theRepublicanchallenge fromMitt RomneyPhotograph: MattRourke/AP
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Hug photo makes social media history
The photograph of Barack Obama embrac-ing his wife Michelle with the words “fourmore years” has set new records as themost liked and re-tweeted post in socialmedia history.Obama posted the image at 0416 GMT,effectively claiming victory over MittRomney in the US presidential race. Sincethen it has been re-tweeted nearly 700,000times. More than 3.23 million people haveliked the image on Facebook, with over400,000 shares; more than 100,000 wereliking it every hour yesterday.The unprecedented viral success of the post confirmed the role that socialmedia played in the campaign. In thepast, election night ended when the los-ing candidate phoned the winner to con-cede defeat, with news of the “phone call”promptly leaked to news media.Obama pinged his tweet soon after thetelevision networks had called victory forhim in the crucial swing state of Ohio. Itwas another two hours and 20 minutes before the president appeared in personand gave his formal victory address toecstatic supporters in Chicago.Obama’s photo – which shows himhugging his wife, eyes closed – has setthe standard for future presidential vic-tors. The post also gave an opportunityfor the rest of the world to congratulateObama personally. Often in their ownlanguages. And, in a few cases, to tell himwhat a lousy president he is. “Awful. Igno-rant,” Amanda Zahn, of Illinois, wrote onObama’s Facebook page. Another posterfrom the same state added acidly: “Theregoes the US economy.”The majority of non-US posters, how-ever, warmly welcomed the president’sre-election. The “hug” photo was sharedacross continents and time zones, with con-gratulations pouring in from Namibia, Bra-zil, Denmark, Chile, Kenya, Italy, Albania,and countless other countries. Several Brit-ons also left their mark; one message read“Well done Sir from England xxxxxxxx”Another Briton keen to share in Obama’svictory was David Cameron. The primeminister tweeted: “Warm congratulationsto my friend @BarackObama.” Cameron’smessage was re-tweeted a comparativelymodest 1,500 times.Spare a thought, meanwhile, for Rom-ney. His last tweet – sent before he accepteddefeat – read: “With your help, we will turnour country around and get America backon the path to prosperity.”Since then his account has been silent.
The picture of the Obamashugging has been re-tweeted700,000 times
Obama’s plans for the second term