Tea leaves — 2012

In four hours, the two-year-long, multibillion-dollar campaign for the presidency came to a no-surprise conclusion. The polls closed at 7, and by 11 p.m., we knew. President Obama won a second term. The House remains Republican. The Senate remains Democratic. Most states voted as experts expected.

What can be gleaned from the results?

1.    Too much money was wasted. The U.S. needs reform of its campaign finance laws. With this Supreme Court we are unlikely to get it.

2.    Democrats like President Obama, even those who have criticisms of some of his presidential decisions. Republicans didn’t really like Mitt Romney. They just wanted to beat President Obama. Their passion was negative. Their candidates were mediocre.

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3.    As I wrote here a few weeks ago, the states in which President Obama and Vice President Biden reside voted for them; those states the Romney-Ryan candidates resided in voted for President Obama. How can a presidential candidate win when the people who know him best reject him (Michigan, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Hampshire)?

4.    The electorate has changed: the president's majority was based on pluralities of women, minorities and young people, the new American majority.

5.    The extreme right wing of the Republican Party is responsible for the Democratic control of the Senate by forcing recent middle-of-the-road winners out of office and replacing them with losing extremist candidates (Delaware, Nevada, Maine, Indiana and Missouri, for example.)

6.    The Republicans might have won this election, given the economic situation that drove voters, and the president’s diminished support compared to the 2008 election. But its devotion to extreme conservative positions permitted a progressive president to capture the middle.

7.    The Republicans hid their former president, and ran away from his policies, good and bad. The Democrats revived theirs, who reminded voters that his political vision resulted in good times — the economy in the black, at peace in the world.

8.    The Republican Party has no national leader now, and won’t if its driving motivation for the next four years continues to be to obstruct the president.

9.    How long before the question pundits and pols ask is: Who shall it be in 2016, Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden? Where do the Republicans look for their national leader?


Ronald Goldfarb is a Washington- and Miami-based attorney, author and literary agent.

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