Chait puts Obama's win in perspective:
Democrats will not keep winning forever. (In particular, their heavy reliance on young and non-white voters, who vote more sporadically, will subject the party to regular drubbings in midterm elections, when only the hardiest voters turn out.) Eventually, the Republican Party will recast and reform itself, and the Democratic Party’s disparate constituencies will eat each other alive, as they tend to do when they lack the binding force of imminent peril. But conservatives have lost their best chance to strike down the Obama legacy and mold the government in the Paul Ryan image.
S.M. at DiA is optimistic that Obama "will have a chance to work on some challenges that eluded him during his first term":
I expect Obama will finally turn to immigration reform and climate change in earnest. I think we might see a more muscular Obama in the second term who confronts Congress assertively in pressing for his agenda. The presidential mandate might be largely a myth, but with his last campaign behind him Mr Obama will have an opportunity to make more of a mark on domestic policy without worrying about the next election — if we can move into 2013 without falling off the fiscal cliff. More generally, I'm gratified that American voters have re-elected a black president despite deep strains of racism in our society.
Dreher emphasizes the GOP's need to expand its coalition:
There really has to be some way for Republicans to connect with Hispanic voters in a big way. I don’t like what that is likely to mean for immigration policy and affirmative action, but I fear that a GOP that remains principled and purist on these issues will continue to be marginalized nationally, as the country becomes a lot more Hispanic, and a lot more liberal.
Ezra Klein celebrates the changes Obama's second term will bring:
The Affordable Care Act — the single most significant bill of Obama’s first term — is law. It’s law that mostly won’t go into effect until 2014, but it’s law nevertheless. Mitt Romney’s key campaign promise was that, on day one, he’d begin working to pass a new law that would repeal it. But Obama doesn’t have to do anything to make health reform happen. He doesn’t need 60 votes in the Senate. He doesn’t need 218 votes in the House. It’s already happening. Obama’s reelection is all that was required to for the United States of America to join every other industrialized country in having a universal — or at least very near-to-universal — health-care system.
Grover Norquist spins:
Obama won a smaller percentage of American votes in his reelection than in his win in 2008. America gave him less support after watching him govern for four years than when he ran promising hope and change. Normally a reelected president expands his margin of support.
Adam Sorensen wonders what is next for the GOP:
If Republicans blame Romney for this election’s outcome, another conservative retrenchment could mean more gridlock and more primary bloodletting. If the fault falls on conservative candidates like Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock — a group that not only weighed down the top of the ticket but may have cost the GOP control of the Senate — things could be different. Republicans might rethink the wisdom of playing to a shrinking coalition, as Democrats run up margins with women and Latinos. More importantly, they might resign themselves to work with the President they couldn’t get rid of.
Chauncey DeVega has related thoughts:
Will the Republican Party mature, reach out, and bring in the old guard centrists who were/are the adult voices in the room so that they can be competitive and work for the Common Good? Or will the Tea Party GOP dig in, become even more extreme, and further obstruct the Common Good in order to advance their increasingly narrow partisan agenda? Does Romney's defeat lead to a more reasonable Republican Party or one that is even more extreme and intransigent?
Stanley Kurtz hopes for the latter:
Barack Obama has won reelection. Will America now lose its distinct characteristics and be transformed into a Euro-style welfare state? Quite possibly, yet there remains one way out. At this point, only a sweeping new grassroots rebellion on the model of the Tea Party could change things. In the wake of a presidential election so discouraging for conservatives, a massive new tea-party wave may not appear to be in the cards. Yet a resurgent second-term challenge to Obama from populist conservatives is far more likely than it seems.
D.R. at DiA weighs in:
[E]verything depends on whether the GOP decides that obstructionism has failed it or not. If so, the coming years could be remarkably legislatively productive. If not, prepare for two more years of gridlock, followed by a midterm campaign in which the Democrats can make a convincing case that you now need 60 votes in the Senate to get anything done at all in a more partisan America.
And John Sides calls the race for stats geeks:
Barack Obama’s victory tonight is also a victory for the Moneyball approach to politics. It shows us that we can use systematic data—economic data, polling data—to separate momentum from no-mentum, to dispense with the gaseous emanations of pundits’ “guts,” and ultimately to forecast the winner.
Second blog reax here.
(Photo: Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer after networks project Obama as reelected during the Obama Election Night watch party at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. By Win McNamee/Getty Images)