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ÜMİT ENGİNSOY > This isn’t your grandpa’s America, Mitt

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Barack Obama was probably not the best American president, as he couldn’t keep many of his promises in his first term. Yet he gave a good beating to Mitt Romney, his Republican counterpart, in the Nov. 6 elections in the United States. Romney was not a particularly bad campaigner. He was just suffering from the general characteristics of the Grand Old Party, the Republicans, or the GOP. He was white, oldish, presidential-looking and rich. Yet these characteristics no longer represent America.

Now a few statistics: according to CNN’s exit polls, 55 percent of women voted for Obama, while only 44 percent voted for Romney. Men preferred Romney by a margin of 52 to 45 percent, and women made up about 54 percent of the electorate. In total, the gender gap added up to something big – a significantly wider margin than the 12-point gender gap in the 2008 election.

Women’s strong support in the swing states gave Obama a significant advantage over Romney, despite the incumbent president’s losses among men and independents. While Obama lost by 10 percentage points among independents in Ohio, he won by 12 points among women in the state. In New Hampshire, women voted for Obama over Romney by a margin of 58 to 42 percent, while men preferred Romney by a narrow four-point gap. Pennsylvania showed a 16-point gender gap that tipped the scale toward Obama.

And consider the minorities now: According to one analysis in Time Magazine, “The Nov. 6 election signaled a demographic tippling point: A record number of Latino and Asian voters, the country’s fastest-growing voting bloc, formed a coalition with black and white Democratic voters to re-elect the country’s first African-American president. A new American majority – a multiethnic majority – has not only arrived but is in fact reordering the political landscape.”

The power of this new minority majority, or multiethnic majority, played out in several key states. In Ohio where African-Americans make up 12 percent of the Ohio population, they gave Obama the leading edge by turning out in greater numbers than in 2008, growing from 11 to 15 percent of voters. In Virginia, a state that not too long ago exemplified the Jim Crow South, exit polls showed that Obama won 93 percent of black voters, 65 percent of Latino voters and 66 percent of Asian voters. At the same time, Obama’s support among white Virginians was only 38 percent.

 Obama’s victories in Colorado, Nevada and Virginia came in part because Hispanics turned out in droves and voted Democratic. In Colorado, 14 percent of the voters were Hispanic, and Obama won three-fourths of them. In Florida, Hispanic voters were almost one-fifth of the electorate, and Mr. Obama won about three-fifths of them.

Romney was defeated mainly due to his failure to obtain the votes of women and minorities.

The daggers into ex-President George W. Bush’s huge Republican lands, from Virginia in the east; New Mexico and Colorado in the south; and Nevada in the west, among many other places, were examples of this new tendency.

This is also an extension of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s election successes. These men easily came to power through the support of the oppressed, the equivalent of American minorities and women.

The problem is not Romney. If the Republicans can’t find ways to integrate the minorities into their electorate, the Republicans’ return to power in America will remain a dream because demographics are not working to their advantage.

November/15/2012

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