The president’s exceedingly narrow re-election victory hasn’t kept some liberals from anointing him the “liberal Reagan” and declaring that Obama now has a “mandate” to enact every piece of leftist dream legislation that’s been swirling around their empty heads for 50 years.
Consider: They’re still counting, but the president bested Romney in the popular vote by about 2.5 million votes out of about 120 million cast — not a nail-biter but hardly a runaway either.
The Electoral College total for the president is even more interesting. Assuming he hangs on to win Florida’s 29 EVs, Obama will end up with a 332-206 victory. This could be considered a comfortable margin, but hardly a “landslide,” which has been traditionally defined as a candidate receiving 350 EVs or more. And the president may not even end up winning Florida, which would make his EV victory 303-235.
More basic to the argument of a mandate, however, is the remarkably thin margin of victory in swing states that gave him the presidency.
* A shift of less than 50,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast would give Romney Florida.
* A shift of 110,000 votes out of more than 3.5 million cast would have given Romney Virginia.
* A shift of 105,000 votes out of more than 5 million cast would have given Romney Ohio.
* A shift of 112,000 votes out of nearly 2.5 million votes cast would have given Romney Colorado.
A billion dollars buys a lot of organization and candidate Obama did not let that money go to waste. He was able to squeeze every last Democratic vote out of the electorate to give him his margin of victory. He did not win independents. He was slaughtered by Romney in the white vote. The president was victorious not because he was able to unite us, but because he used tried and true tricks of division to drive a sharp wedge between races, sexes, classes, and age groups, slicing off his supporters into readily identifiable segments of the voting population, and then carefully targeting each audience with a tailored message designed to elicit their support.
It was bloody brilliant and it was accomplished with an array of gee-whiz technology and good old-fashioned shoe leather. American politics had not seen its like before and Republicans will be hard-pressed to catch up.