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Opinion | Explaining President Obama's re-election victory

By Bradley Ouambo
On November 12, 2012

It's demographics stupid! The key to President Barack Obama's narrow victory of the popular vote and electoral landslide lies in the changing demographics of the U.S. This was an election that Republicans had every chance of winning, but they blazed a path of self-destruction beginning in 2010 with legislation that alienated the non-white male base. They created laws like the Arizona immigration law and attempted to pass legislation redefining rape.

In the GOP primary Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had to run to the right of his opponents and become a severe conservative to have a shot at winning the nomination. Romney pledged he would solve illegal immigration by self-deportation, and he got caught in the quagmire of the contraception debate. Let's not forget the GOP senate candidates and their several rape comments and the voter ID laws. The Obama team and Democrats pounced on these flubs by Romney and other republicans in an effort to build a winning coalition.

Despite these factors, Obama faced the real possibility that minorities and young voters would stay home and the electorate would look more like 2004 not 2008. This is where the President's superior ground game paid dividends. Organizing for America created a massive voter registration effort and registered hundreds of thousands of minorities and women. The Obama team was able to win because he recreated the 2008 demographics by a strong get out the vote effort. We saw more young voters, 19 percent up from 18 percent in 2008, more Hispanics, 10 percent up from 9 percent in 2008, and less white voters, 72 percent down from 74 percent in 2008. The President's support from minorities, women and young voters allowed him to lose the white vote by 20 points and still win the popular vote. This support created an electoral firewall that Romney could not overcome. Romney had to campaign in states that were once reliably republican such as Virginia and Nevada only to lose due to the changing demographics of this country.


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