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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Obama Wins Close National Vote, Mandate Denied, US Future Dim

Obama had no coat tails whatsoever in this election. He barely got over the hedge himself.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney conceded the race on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney conceded the race on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.
Photo Credit: YY

It hasn’t been a long night. Around 10 PM Eastern, someone on one of the channels I had been following said that President Obama’s motorcade was getting ready to take him to his election center, in Chicago. It meant that the Democrats were certain about their presidential win.

I could feel the anguish emanating from our own chat line here, at the JewishPress.com. I was hearing similar cries of woe from a few open Skype lines on my desktop. Towards the end there, I think many of us started believing that a Romney win was a real possibility. A Dick Morris prediction of a Romney landslide win we ran here got close to 30 thousand page views in half a day. Regardless of its very loose connection to reality on this planet, the story expressed the yearnings of so many who flocked to our website in search of a voice to reflect their own.

The Democrats have retained control over the Senate, with 51 seats plus two independents. Not the kind of numbers that can break a filibuster. The Republicans will keep the House, with a net loss in the single digits. This means Obama had no coat tails whatsoever in this election. He barely got over the hedge himself. He has won better than 300 delegates to the Electoral College, but that does not mean that he received a mandate from the people. He won by a squeak.

I believe the Republicans have achieved their most basic goal this time around, namely, that their presidential candidate—who was destined to lose to an incumbent—wouldn’t perform so atrociously that his defeat would coat-tail the Republican House with it down in flames. Remember Governor Perry? Speaker Gingrich? Congresswoman Michele Bachmann? So Romney delivered the bare minimum that was expected of him: Don’t make matters even worse. That was the reason the party leaders, along with the Bush clan and Karl Rove were so adamant about supporting Romney – they and the billion dollar budget they brought in with them.

The fact that Romney almost won the presidency while he was at it was above and beyond their initial expectations. I think Romney spent much of the campaign playing to tie rather than win. It was only when he met the enemy in the first debate and drew blood that he realized he could actually make it. That’s my hunch.

Political Science majors should take note of the miracle performed by Obama Tuesday. Until this year, no incumbent president since FDR in 1940 has won re-election with unemployment over 7.2%. Well, Obama has broken the mold, winning despite unemployment hovering at between 7.6 and 7.9%. This means there were additional circumstances that weighed in his favor. I believe two factors were in play:

1. America is losing its White majority. It is sinking fast, and this year it is 72.4% White. Back in 2000, it was 75.1% white (In 2011, White new births were outnumbered by non-White 50.5% to 49.5%). Since Romney lost by such a small margin (roughly a million votes nationwide), it means that had this election been held in 2004—all other things staying the same—it would have been a Republican victory.

A good friend suggested to me early Tuesday morning that the Republicans were experiencing the broken glass effect, meaning they would crawl over broken glass to vote their choice, that’s how much they hated Obama. But my wife commented that, judging by the images of long lines of African American and Hispanic voters standing in line in Florida, Virginia and Ohio, it appears they, too, would be perfectly willing to take the crunch. That’s how much they feared Romney.

2. The Republican Party has to regain the center for real. Let’s face it, Romney was working hard to appear like a benign centrist, but you can’t be against the Dream Act and against abortion rights in this country and hope to be considered a centrist. I’m afraid that with its zeal to embrace the authentic Tea Party candidates, the Evangelicals, and the NRA crowd, the GOP has edged out the last of its liberal and moderate stars. This works well for the red states and even for local races in many blue states, but if the GOP wants to govern, it has to rediscover its businessmen/women, its bankers and its moderate intellectuals, or it won’t stand a chance to win presidential politics ever again.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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195 Responses to “Obama Wins Close National Vote, Mandate Denied, US Future Dim”

  1. Cris Ortiz says:

    Two things, unrestricted abortion is heinous, to kill a child even up to the day of birth is an anathema. A majority of Americans favor some restrictions, Romney failed to embrace this. Second, the Hispanic vote carried Obama. A country verging on bankruptcy cannot realistically threaten to accept the costs associated with deporting millions of people. You cause mass chaos, and possibly armed conflict. A better choice would have been a modified Dream Act, with a path to citizenship available to all.

  2. Yori Yanover says:

    According to Jewish Law, the life of the mother is favored over the life of the fetus until the very moment of birth. Also, Jewish law only recognizes the fetus as having a soul after 40 days of gestation. This means, to the best of my understanding, that morning after pills are absolutely fine and do not constitute anything more than medical care. We obviously frown on pre- and extra-marital relations, but not on the grounds of caring for the life of the fetus in the first month.

  3. Charlie Hall says:

    You wrote this too early. It is important in analyzing elections to recognize where the uncounted votes are from. I was following Virginia all night and realized that although Romney seemed comfortably ahead, all the Republican areas save Virginia Beach had reported and there were lots of uncounted votes in Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Norfolk, all of which were Democratic. In the case of your popular vote majority, CNN now has it at more than two million because all the Pacific Time Zone states have come in for Obama — and there are still significant numbers of votes to be counted in California and Washington. Obama's popular vote majority will likely end up being similar to Bush's in 2004.

    Four Republican-held US Senate seats flipped to the Democrats, with one going the other way and one still too close to call.

  4. David Oke says:

    I was trying to explain this to people all night, but they couldnt grasp the concept. I also had people get angry when I called the race after Colorado was called…

  5. Neil Stoloff says:

    You are good, Charlie. What's the secret to posting only when you know what you're talking about?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow this is some unadulterated hogwash on display. Obama trounced Romney. 332 EV's and a 2Million plus national margin. A decisive victory. The first step in any battle is to face the truth.

  7. Yori Yanover says:

    Charlie — with all due respect, you're nitpicking. First, because I didn't feel Bush had a mandate in 2000, never mind in 2004, for the kinds of major moves he undertook, both in going to war and in enforcing an extreme right-wing policy, such as killing stem cells and altering the traditional way of staffing DOJ.

    But whatever happens to the actual final numbers, in 18 years America's demographic will be altered so significantly that we can't yet imagine what our politics will be like. The Obama win today has to sound an alarm to the Republican party that if it sticks to extreme wedge issues it will continue to lose. I believe the Republican party has to bring in from the cold its East Coast liberal republicans and re-establish itself as the party of the grownups.

  8. Liad Bar-el says:

    Yori, you may be correct according to political civil law but Jewish Law is something else altogether. You’ll find this issue covered quite extensively at this site: http://www.jewishsexuality.com/

  9. I HAVE SENT THIS TO THE MEDIA. SEND IT TO YOUR CONTACTS. DO NOT GIVE IN OR UP. RABBI

    Obama wins. This is what I PREDICTED ALL ALONG. WE NEED A DYNAMIC ORGANIZATION TO REPLACE THE REPUBLICAN JEWISH COALITION. We need to develop rabbis with batzim, kahoonas that will speak out.. I AM READY FOR THAT CHALLENEGE. ORTHODOX RABBIS WERE TOO TIMID OR NOT WILLING TO JOIN Rabbis for Romney and many sided witht Obama. The majority of Jews and their Conservative and reform rabbis also sided with Obama. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG founder and president rabbis for ROMNEY. The great majority OF Israelis wanteded ROMNEY to win.
    THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL IS AT STAKE AND WE MUST CONTINUE THE FIGHT.

  10. JEWS AND NON JEWS United for Israel & the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (forming a new group) group name is open to change. Seeking guidance and advice from those who which to participate.

    President Obama wins. This is what I PREDICTED ALL ALONG. WE NEED A DYNAMIC ORGANIZATION TO REPLACE THE REPUBLICAN JEWISH COALITION.
    THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL IS AT STAKE AND WE MUST CONTINUE THE FIGHT. Ben Rosenberg

  11. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    I also had tears in my eyes when Obama won in 2008, but it wasn't because I was proud that the U.S. finally elected an African American. I knew, based on his years in Rev. Wright's church, and his decision to marinate his own children in that hatred, that we had elected our first anti-American American president.

  12. Lou Averbach says:

    how did a member of Wright's church get one Jewish vote

  13. Interesting article Lori Lowenthal Marcus. I don't agree that its time for the "right" to moderate. In the long run the "right" wins.

  14. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    I hope you noticed, I did not write that article.

  15. Of course I noticed. The author is the first thing I notice:-) Thanks for posting it:-)

  16. Charlie Hall says:

    All good points, Yori! I agree with you, particularly with the way Bush treated a popular vote loss as a landslide majority.

    I'm worried that the Republicans still are acting in this Take No Prisoners way. The defeat of NY State Sen. Saland in a heavily Republican district is quite upsetting, as it was caused by right wing Republicans running a third party candidate to punish him for his deviation from orthodoxy. And this is in a state where Republican elected officials have rarely been dogmatic ideologues.

  17. Charlie Hall says:

    Maryland voters approved a form of the Dream Act in that state.

    And the Republican opposition to the Dream Act is really nothing more than unmitigated meanness. Almost all the illegal immigrants who would benefit are actually permitted under existing law to enroll in college or to join the US military — they just have to return to their countries of nationality to apply, which is simple harassment. Some were brought here as small children and don't have any memory of those countries.

  18. Charlie Hall says:

    I would not judge Rev. Wright based on a few clips from decades of sermons. Plenty of rabbis say offensive things at times and Baruch HaShem we don't have cameras rolling on Shabat. And his church is part of one of the very few Christian sects that explicitly teaches that God's covenant with the Jewish people is still in force, and was not superceded by the one the Christians claim.

    Furthermore it should be clear to everyone after a four year record as President that even though one may disagree with Obama's policies on taxes or healthcare or even the Middle East, he is NOT anti-American and is NOT an anti-Semite.

  19. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Sorry Charlie, not clear to me at all, based on his 4 year record, that he is not anti-American, I have no basis for judging whether he is an anti-Semite, and I am convinced he is not pro-Israel. Would love to see that speech he gave at the Rashid Khalidi farewell dinner, wouldn't you?

  20. Charlie Hall says:

    It was a clear win, but not a landslide. It is similar in popular vote margin to the Bush victory in 2004. Democrats made gains in both houses of Congress as well, but not huge gains. And a few state legislatures flipped from Republican to Democratic majorities.

  21. Any word yet on what percentage of the Jewish vote went to Obama. Remember, I predicted 70-75%.

  22. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    The story will be up momentarily. Stay tuned.

  23. Lynne Bishop says:

    I agree. I'm an evangelical and I can't believe Jews still voted for Obama. I'm a one issue voter — pro-israel. Israel now needs our support and prayers more than ever. Baruch Hashem.

  24. Myriam Obadia says:

    Where did you see unrestricted abortion in the US law under Obama or any other US president? There are restrictions, of course. The 1st one being that women do not abort for "fun", but because they must, due to health or circumstances. The least you could do would be to quit adding insult to injury by begrudging women the right to do what they must for their welfare and that of their family. If you really want to reduce the number of abortions then a) teach your sons to respect women, b) teach your daughters to respect their bodies, c) give proper sex education to pre-teens and move the soap operas to after 10 PM instead of right after school lets out.

  25. Poilitico says it was 69%. Close enough for me. One percentage point below the Latino vote. Not bad.

  26. Rc Fowler says:

    Mr. Yanover, Of course the life of the mother is more important than the fetus–but where in the Torah or the Tanakh is a fetus a human being at forty days of gestation?

  27. Myriam Obadia says:

    Liad Bar-el, Yori is right, the Jewish law does give priority to the life of the woman over that of the fetus. This doesn't mean that women can give free reign to their sexuality, or that they prefer to abort than to give birth, on the contrary, but it does mean that -if their health or the welfare of their other children are at stake- they have the right to make that choice. According to the Jewish law, the obligation to have children is on the man. Women are given the option.

  28. Charlie Hall says:

    I'm not a rabbi or even a talmid chacham, but see Niddah 30a and Yevamot 69b.

  29. Avner Garbi says:

    Yori Yanover you delusional he won big we didn't count Florida yet he won the popular vote and the Electoral vote that's not a squeak. face it you lost!

  30. Myriam Obadia says:

    I am aware that many Israelis are disappointed by Obama's reelection. still, how can someone get over 50% of the popular vote and a large Electoral College margin and his win be considered "close"?
    Had the GOP fielded a moderate ticket willing to heal the rancor and reach for consensus, most American would have voted against Obama.
    The GOP chose, on the contrary to go Medieval Inquisitor on women and immigrants, and pull the rug from under the young, the elderly, and the poor. They lost because no one in America wanted to wake up with less civil rights and economic safety net than they had, going to bed the day before. The only reason this will not happen in Israel is that our Left has deserted its responsibility to Am and Eretz Israel and we either vote for the Right or vote ourselves out of a country and into exile again.

  31. Justin Stern says:

    Why would you go out of your way to say that you weren't proud that the U.S. had elected its first African American president? That is a ROUSING achievement. People talk about "American exceptionalism," but by most counts we are not that exceptional. We're not the smartest and we're not the healthiest anymore–and we're also not the only ones that democratically elect their government, despite what Fox News might have you believe. What we CAN claim is that we are the first western nation to have elected a black man president of the country that was built on the black of African slaves.

  32. Edward Lobel says:

    Cris ortiz, No matter how wrong you are you are entitled to your own opinion, but you should be more carefl when you say things especially when they are wrong! NO ONE in thi country favors abortions up until the time of delivery! Secondly, the MAJORITY of Americans favor a woman's right to choice! Thirdly,The United States is NOWHERE CLOSE to bankruptcy! That is a blatet Lie started by repubs and tea baggers. If you knew anything about the situation you would know that the credit raing companies ALL said the reason they downgraded the debt was because the repubs would not increase the ceiling and that there is PLENTY of money available to pay off the debt!

    As for Hispanics playing an imprtant role in the election, you are correct! You have to ask yourself why that happened. The reason they overwhelmingly support President Obama was because he talks to the Hispanics and did indeed make it possible for many of them to stay here even though willared and the foolharty repubs want them out!

  33. Justin Stern says:

    This is the United States of America. It's not reasonable to judge a government based on how it treats one other nation. This guy has won the popular vote now twice–that means the MAJORITY of Americans approve of what he's doing.

  34. Justin Stern says:

    I voted for Romney, but this consistent bashing of the President is really shameful. We survived GWB and we will survive Obama, too.

  35. Edward Lobel says:

    Charlie Hall – have to disagree with you, winning by well ove 100 EV is a landslide by anyones deffinition.

  36. Edward Lobel says:

    Foolish! Alol those evangelicals who listen to robertson or Jews who listen to bibi or shmuley also have much hatred ion them so how can you say someone you did not know anything about would breed hatred! And if you think President Obama has bread hatred over the last four years not only are you wrong, but now everyone knows how foolish you are!

  37. Edward Lobel says:

    Lori Lowenthal Marcus not only are you showing how foolish and full of hate your are, but to say he is not pro Israel is a down right Lie and you hould be ashamed of yourself!
    Just what do you know about being a Amrican?
    President Obama has had the same policies as had every other U.S. President. He will defend Israel should the need arise. He has given Israel tremdous defense capabilities with missle shields. Today Bibi said Presient Obama was a great friend to Israel! I suppose you now think Bibi is "un-Israeli" or hates America?
    I personally think you do know have a clue about what you are sayingand say it to stir up controversy

  38. Edward Lobel says:

    Caryn Lipson If you had a clue as to what you are saying you would be ashamed of yorself!

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