7 Nov 2012

Obama triumphs – but tough times ahead

Revellers outside the White House. Romney’s concession speech on the radio. I came past the presidential home just after emerging from the Republican national headquarters in Washington as the band played the last chords. President Obama is President Obama. He has won his second term.

It has been a close run thing. His majority in many states fell but never by quite enough to help Romney. It is a devastating blow for the Republicans – increasingly white, southern, evangelical and shrinking.

But an elegant concession from Romney. Obama won the key state of Ohio by a significant margin and locked a whole lot of others in behind. But this is not 2008. The euphoria is not accompanied either by much romance or much hope.

These are tough times. Although the Democrats have won the Senate with more women and a slightly more governable majority than before, the House of Representatives remains in the hands of the Republicans with a strong majority.

So we are left with all the ingredients of gridlock. The Tea Party element of the Republicans have about sixty Congressional members.

I witnessed the moment Obama’s victory was projected, at Howard University. This was the same place I witnessed his first victory in 2008. Howard is the respected seat of African-American higher education.

We were in a crammed hall with a thousand students. When victory came, they sang, they danced, they leapt about, but I saw no tears. Four years ago they all wept – tears of relief that a black American could win at all. This time around many are chastened by the scale of the job ahead.

An exhilarating night. A remarkable night, but one that makes one wonder what new Obama can bring to change the dynamic in this country and beyond.

I’ll try to gather more thoughts as the night unfolds and blog again in the cold light of day.

Tweets by @jonsnowC4

4 reader comments

  1. Paul Rowlandson says:

    Wish I’d put £10 on Greenburgs forecast on last nights Channel 4 news which we nearly missed with sound problems but he called it almost exactly much to JS surprise

  2. Philip Edwards says:

    Jon,

    A “new Obama”?

    Is that like a “New Frontier” and “getting this country moving again”?

    If so, it was tried fifty years ago by the 35th President.

    And 2013 is the fiftieth remembrance of how it ended with his unsolved murder in broad daylight in Dallas.

    So the rhetoric isn’t new at all, and the socioeconomic and cultural aspects are much, much worse. Let’s hope the other horror isn’t repeated too – but I wouldn’t make book on it. History shows there are few lengths US Nazis won’t go to.

    Let’s hope too that if Obama does nothing else he at least begins to dismantle their paranoid military National Security State.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  3. Philip says:

    It takes two to tango – and the Republicans seem reluctant to do so except on their terms. the thing that made me almost retch during the election was the republican claim that Obama had failed to get the US economy moving, when it was the Republican majority in Congress that blocked Obama’s efforts – solely to ensure that the economy didn’t recover so they could give their candidate a better chance at the 2012 election. When you’ve got opponests as dishonourable as this, whose partisanship overrules their duty to the people of their country, what can you expect? Nothing. The Republicans need, dare I say it, a Blair figure who can take on the extremists and push them back into the hills, so that the US can face its immense challenges with people who wnat to country to succeed, not those who would rather it failed than their opponents get any credit.

  4. C Abbott says:

    Oh my word! Maybe using a racial slur (I’m talking about the awful term ‘wetback’) isn’t the way to go when interviewing a union leader post USA presidential election on Ch4 news.

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