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Yesterday it was heart in mouth. Today it's hat in hand

Obama has won the US Presidential election, giving way to four more years in the White House

Barack-obama
Obama wins
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The Commentator
On 6 November 2012 23:41

Many will be delighted that the US presidential election has finally ended for another four years. Many will be disappointed with the result.

Regardless, the extensive campaign and coverage over the past few months has finally yielded a result: Barack Obama is to be the President of the United States for the next four years.
 
A significant result whichever way you look at it, the next four years will no doubt be about the economy, about the healthcare debate, and arguably most importantly, about the future of America in the world.
 
A decade of uncertainty has plagued the US and its allies - the weight of responsibility for the President now to right this problem will intensify as the global economy picks up, and as clashes in the Middle East come to a head.
 
It is not beyond the role of the presidency to rectify these problems, but it requires leadership and right-headedness the sorts of which were absent in Obama's first term.
 
As the first results began to emerge last night, tensions ran even higher than anyone would have thought just a few months ago. As far as the Obama campaign was concerned, the election was sown up. Then we had the first debate. And it all changed.
 
The Virginia exit poll put the race at 49-49 tied at midnight GMT. As if the election wasn't already a heart in mouth affair.
 
But as the night wore on, it was plain to see that none of the Republican battlegrounds, none of the swing states, were changing hands last night.
 
Critics and strategists will ask for many years, "what went wrong?" The truth is that a plethora of factors contributed to Romney's devastating loss last night. No consolation can really even be taken from the Senate and Congressional races. America is experiencing a 2010 déjà vu. 
 
Instead of the 'all change here' that Republicans had hoped for, last night has delivered a rebuff to the GOP in the form of an 'as you were' order. This will cause major rifts in the Republican leadership and no doubt the party will have to reassess its overt commitment to policies and candidates that are thoroughly unpalatable to the independent voting public. Perhaps it's about time the GOP stopped trying to be the third person in everyone's bedroom.
 
But the lessons in strategy are for the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, it is important for America to get on with the business of renewal.
 
With the likelihood that the House and the Senate will be locked again, it will take some tax cutting for Obama to get what he needs from the House Republicans. 
 
The President will face one of his first major tests of a second term on the Iran question, when by Spring the Israelis, having gone through their own election in January, will seek to put a stop to Iran's nuclear enrichment programme. If its anywhere that Obama can still wield clout, it's on the international stage.
 
A second term domestically may bring more stimulus spending, it may reinvigorate Obama to take up the healthcare mantle again, instead of opting for a system (Obamacare in its current form) that effectively cements the insurance industry's expensive monopoly on the system.  It may finally give Obama a chance to weight the Supreme Court in favour of the Democrats.
 
But by the end of four years if Obama has failed again to deliver the hope and change he once again promised, then a Republican victory in 2016 is almost assured (as long as they don't field another Mitt Romney)
 
For Democrats, yesterday was a heart in mouth moment. For Republicans, this is truly a hat in hand four years.
Read more on: us elections, US Election 2012, US2012, barack obama, Mitt Romney, US Presidential election 2016, who will win the US Presidential election?, and Democrat Party
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