Douthat calls last night a realignment:
Tuesday’s result ratifies much of the leftward shift in public policy that President Obama achieved during his first term. It paves the way for the White House to raise at least some of the tax revenue required to pay for a more activist government and it means that the Republicans let a golden chance to claim a governing coalition of their own slip away. In this sense, just as Reagan Republicanism dominated the 1980s even though the Democrats controlled the House, our own era now clearly belongs to the Obama Democrats even though John Boehner is still speaker of the House.
Four years ago, it looked possible that Barack Obama’s election heralded a new era of Democratic dominance. Now it looks almost certain. In the early 20th century, the face of America changed, and only one party changed with it. In the early 21st century, that story has played itself out again. From the beginning, Obama has said he wants to be a transformational figure, a president who reshapes American politics for decades, another Reagan or FDR. He may just have achieved that Tuesday night.
Ed Kilgore puts Obama's vote total in perspective:
Obama’s popular vote margin has grown to 2.7 million, and he’s right at the level where he may become the first Democratic presidential candidate since FDR to win a majority of the popular vote twice. Florida still hasn’t been officially called, but still looks likely to fall to Obama, but he’s over 300 in the electoral college anyway.
Ramesh Ponnuru's hopes Republicans will learn something from their defeat:
So $2 billion later, we still have President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker John Boehner – and some bitter lessons for the Republicans. Those lessons are, I should think, fairly obvious. Don’t think you can run up margins among whites so big that you don’t need anyone else. Offer some ideas that middle-class voters might think will help them out — especially if you’ve done really well from the financial economy. Keep the focus of any conversation about abortion on the 99 percent of cases that don’t involve rape.
David Bernstein wants the GOP to become more female-friendly:
Sure, the GOP needs to reach out to the growing Hispanic population. But the bigger problem is that single women vote overwhelmingly Democratic, and for the first time in American history there are more single women than married women. Single women are much more economically vulnerable than are married women, and want the government to be there to insure them against hard times. This is especially true of single women with kids–and the American divorce rate is still the highest in the world, and over 40% of American children born last year were born to single mothers. This isn’t good for the women, their children, or American society, and it’s not good for the Republicans. So how about spending (A LOT) less time worrying about gays getting married, and more time worried about women (and men) who aren’t? Reducing the number of what used to be called “broken homes” is a culture war worth fighting; gay marriage is not.
Walter Russell Mead finds a silver lining:
Even those who voted for Romney can take heart in one aspect of the 2012 campaign: racism continues its historic retreat in the United States.
Scott McConnell spells out his hopes for Obama's second term:
I hope to see Obama move “left” on foreign policy — wind down the drone wars, push hard for a Palestinian state (if it’s not too late; if it is, we can begin to talk about voting rights for all the people in one state ), explore the possibility of a detente with Iran. And move to the right on fiscal issues — revisit Simpson-Bowles, see if Romney (who gave an extraordinarily gracious concession speech) really does have any good ideas on entitlement reform. Part of the very large anti-Obama vote is based on serious worry about the deficits, about becoming "like Greece". If Obama leaves office with a deficit larger than the present one, he will be failed president no matter what else he does.
I'm with McConnell and suspect the next four years will be a battle between moderates and liberals over policy priorities. Greg Sargent argues that Obama has a clear mandate:
Republicans themselves regularly said that this election was a “big choice” between “two very different visions for America.” That was also the regular refrain of pundits just after Romney chose Paul Ryan, the leading architect of the GOP’s overarching ideological blueprint for the country’s future. So by the lights of Republicans and pundits themselves, this outcome should be seen as a big choice by the American people — a big decision about the future direction of the country. Why, now that Obama has won a resounding victory, is this suddenly being talked about as a small, no-mandate election?
And Jamelle Bouie assesses Obama's legacy:
It’s still far too early to make a judgment about Barack Obama’s overall historical standing. But by virtue of winning re-election, he has become the most successful Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson, and one of the most successful of the 21st century. Not bad for the skinny Hawaiian kid with a funny name.
First blog reax here.