Obama has only talked in broad terms about how he plans to go about the second half of the eight years through which American voters have chosen him to lead them. But he reiterated his message of consideration for all sorts of people.
The President in his victory speech said: “It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you are willing to try!”
One of the demographic groups that found the Democrat’s record and campaign promising were Hispanic voters. The Republicans only got a third of their votes.
At a polling station in Los Angeles, resident
Martha Oliveros opted to double Obama’s mandate, saying she didn’t relate to his conservative opponent.
Oliveros said: “I voted for Obama… We have to give him another chance. The other one came across as if he thinks he’s above the rest, and we don’t know where he’s going with that.”
Angeleno Manuel Oliveros said: “As a Latino, my first concern is the economic stability of this country, because we’re immigrants. We’re here to do well, not to fail.”
Obama also won the trust of a lot of working Americans. An earlier indication of this was the amounts donated for his campaign; 80 percent of the money collected was in amounts under 200 dollars, while small sums only accounted for 20 percent of takings in the Romney camp.
Construction worker Curtins Wilson, in Chicago, before all the results were known said: “I voted for the man! And you know who that is going to be: Barack Obama!”
Office worker Haleema Webster said: “I voted for President Barack Obama. I am happy with the gears he has put in motion over the past four years and I am looking forward to seeing some more results in the next four years.”
Obama still faces challenges in Congress, the Republicans having kept control of the House of Representatives, even though the Democrats held onto their Senate majority. We asked analyst Ian Bremmer whether that power-share is likely to prevent the president from moving forward with the colossal tasks ahead.
Our correspondent Ali Sheikholeslami spoke to the Eurasia Group (think tank) President in London.
euronews: Many Americans, including supporters of Barack Obama, believe he will not deliver as much change as he promised four years ago. So what is the significance of the vote for Barack Obama today?
Ian Bremmer: The American population is increasingly divided. The gap between rich and poor in the United States is greater than it has been at any point since the time of the Depression. And that continues to grow. That is growing under Republicans, it is growing under Democrats.
I certainly believe that many of the folks who voted for Obama thought that he would be more effective at supporting a rebalancing of that gap. I do believe that certainly in the terms of tax policy he’ll be less supportive of the super rich than Romney would have been.
But given the need for America to address its deficit, given the need to balance its budget, the reality is that the folks who have been doing worse, are going to continue to feel quite a bit of pain, no matter who comes in. That is the structural issue, that’s not a Democrat versus Republican issue.
euronews: Financially, it’s been a hard time for the United States. And in such a situation incumbents don’t really have much chance. But Obama has won again, what lesson can be learned here?
Bremmer: One thing I consider to be very important in this election and a big lesson to be learned is that in a world where austerity is defining so much of the policies of governments everywhere, incumbents lose because their populations don’t like it when their governments impose austerity.
Obama won and he won in a large part because he did not take any of those difficult decisions. The one major decision, landmark decision, that was made by his administration was expanding healthcare, which no-one knows how they are going to pay for over the long term. This was not a president that was all about austerity. It was a president, in economic hardship and facing mounting deficits, that wanted to focus on spending more.
The people ultimately rewarded that; they didn’t rewarded in a huge way, but they rewarded it. He’s an incumbent president that got voted back in. That will be a message to other governments around the world that are now looking at what they need to do to stay in power.
euronews: I understand that the election in the United States like anywhere in the world really is more of a domestic issue. But having said that, what did the Americans tell the world by re-electing Obama?
Bremmer: In Obama’s third presidential debate he made it very clear that it was time to focus on nation-building at home. This is not a president and this is not an America that is going to do as much internationally.
They will not be focused on nation-building abroad. They will not be actively helping to get the Europeans out of their crisis, they will not be sending boots on the ground, they will not be the world’s policemen.
There are many countries in the world that will say that’s a good thing; that America has caused more problems than it solved. There are many around the world that will be very concerned that the United States is not going to play that role. One thing that is very clear is no-one else will either.