Election Day: Across-the-Board Sucess for Democrats
by Hannah Hoffman on Friday, November 16th, 2012
At the end of a competitive Presidential race, President Barack Obama was re-elected on Tuesday, November 6, to serve another four-year term. Republicans retained their control of the House of Representatives despite losing seats, and Democrats gained one seat to expand their majority in the Senate.
The winner of the presidential race needed to win 270 of 538 electors in the Electoral College; Obama received 332 electoral ballots while his opponent, Mitt Romney, received 206. Though Obama won many more electoral votes, however, and finished with a greater percentage of the popular vote than George W. Bush had in either of his victories, the margin of victory was significantly closer than in 2008, when Obama bested Senator John McCain by 7.2%. This year, Obama garnered the votes of 62,613,405 people, 50.6 percent, and Romney won 59,140,591 votes, or 47.8 percent. One of the more lopsided results occurred in the District of Columbia – 91.4 percent voted for Obama and only 7.1 percent for Romney. As expected, the state that most favored Romney was Utah – 72.8 percent voted for Romney, and only 24.9 percent cast ballots for Obama.
In his victory speech, Obama promised middle class families that they “won’t see [their] income taxes go up a single dime,” instead raising taxes on the wealthy. President Bush’s tax cuts, a perennial campaign issue, lowered the highest income-tax rate to 35 percent– Obama said he would restore it to the 39.6 percent rate set during Bill Clinton’s presidency. “I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses. I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs… or pay down our deficit.” President Obama said that getting the United States on the right track “will require… a set of goals – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and [the rebuilding of] our economy.”
In his concession speech, Mitt Romney focused on the tight race and his hopes for the future. He concluded by saying: “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, and so… I earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.”
Also a competitive race, the highly publicized Senate race in Massachusetts also saw a close but decisive finish on November 6. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, won the election with 53.7 percent of the vote. Scott Brown, the Republican incumbent, received 46.3 percent of the vote. Democrats now hold a total of 53 seats in the senate and Republicans have 45 seats. In the House of Representatives, Democrats now have 193 seats to the Republicans’ 233.
In a recent poll, 72 percent of Milton students said they would have voted for Obama for president; 28 percent said they would have voted for Romney. But students’ opinions go beyond merely which candidate they preferred. One student said, “I would have voted for Obama, because I… agree with his positions on social policy. At the same time I didn’t really feel any strong dislike towards Romney, but, through seeing the debates and some of [Romney’s] speeches, I felt as if his plan for the economy would favor the upper-class.”
Another student said, “Obama’s auto bailout, health care reform, financial reform, and higher educational standards help ensure that everyone in this country has an equal opportunity to succeed. Mitt Romney has changed his position on many issues – abortion, gay marriage, fiscal policy, and most noticeably, health reform – too many times for me.”
In contrast, another student who supported Mitt Romney said, “I’m not stuck on one party or the other like some people [are]. I think there are good things and bad things with each, but I think Romney was the lesser of the two ‘evils’…Obama I agree with socially, but I think his economic policy is awful.”
The opinions of the Milton students also echoed a growing sentiment of frustration with the political deadlock in Washington, a concern which both candidates stressed in their post-Election speeches. Most commentators agree that bridging the partisan divide in Congress and the wider political culture will be President Obama’s first task in his second term.
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