The election is now over, and Barack Obama will be the President of the United States for four more years.
Despite all the Facebook status updates and Tweets saying we need to pray for our country because of the election results and warning us of an oncoming apocalypse because of Obama’s reelection, I still managed to get up this morning, shower using hot water, eat a 500 calorie biscuit from Hardee’s and attend my classes like normal.
I have yet to see any ominous horsemen. The sky is not falling, nor are the rivers running red with the blood of the sacrificed. Things are pretty much normal. It is this type of overreaction from the right that cost Republicans the Senate and White House this time around, so perhaps they should tread carefully.
When Republicans lost the White House in 2008, the backlash was extreme. Many hard right social conservatives grabbed seats in the House of Representatives and Senate because a ton of money was being poured into their campaigns by disgruntled republican PACs.
However, after this election, it is clear the nation is not on the side of extreme social conservatism, a side the Republican Party gets pandered to all too much by Republicans during election seasons. What we saw this election season was a backlash against this.
We saw same-sex marriage legitimized in three states. Minnesota voted down an amendment to its constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Tammy Baldwin beat Republican Tommy Thompson for Wisconsin’s open U.S. Senate seat to become the first openly gay senator. The president even mentioned gay rights in his victory speech. These are clear indications the nation does not agree with the extreme view that gay marriage should be banned, and when Republicans cater to this idea whether or not they actually believe marriage should be constitutionally defined, it hurts them during the election.
Republicans also took a hit because of their views on immigration. Polls now consistently show Americans want to provide illegal immigrants with a path to citizenship, and it was the Hispanic vote that put Obama over the top to win this election.
While Obama getting a second term is very important to me, he is not the biggest winner of the night. The biggest winners are civil rights for the gay community and Hispanics. Republicans will now have to consider lightening up on the suppression of Hispanics in the form of harsh immigration policy and outrageous laws if they eventually hope to win because they will need the Hispanic vote to secure the White House.
Republicans will also have to redefine their position on gay marriage because it has now been shown that public opinion has shifted, and gay marriage can be put to a vote and win.
It should now be clear to Republicans that pandering to the extreme sects of their party is only going to hurt their chances when they take a run at the White House. Republicans need to reevaluate some of their positions and evolve, or we could be looking at a Democrat in the White House for years to come.