I am thinking of two things this morning.
First. I’m thinking I have to send a check for $25 to the EFF for Whimsical. Whim, if you’d please confirm that and provide the address so that I’m sure I’m sending it to the right place?
Second, I am thinking of a scene from the original Star Trek series. Spock discovers that his fiancée has been two-timing him, and he releases her from the obligation of their arranged marriage. He then turns to Stonn, the other man in the situation, and tells him that he may have her. Spock then points out, “After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting.”
All the results aren’t in yet; the New York Times site has something like 30 Electoral Votes unassigned, and the total number of Senate seats is at 97. The popular vote went 50% to Obama and 48% to Romney. A little Wikipedia checking shows that the Republican presidents (Nixon once, Reagan twice, GHW Bush once, Dubya once) have a better record of crossing the 50.0% line of the popular vote than do the Democrats. LBJ and Carter did it, but neither JFK (49.7%) nor Clinton (he won the plurality each time in a three-way race, but never a majority) managed it. Even in his first election, Barack Obama, a wildly popular figure that fired up the electoral base, beat the daylights out of John McCain but still only managed 52.9% of the popular vote. Compare that to LBJ’s and Nixon’s 60%+ popular votes.
And was then able to do practically nothing because (choose any or all):
We didn’t elect a king, he has to work within the system.
He’s playing the long game (aka 11-dimension chess).
You don’t understand, blowing up brown people half a world away, calling them terrorists, and double-secret classifying the whole thing is what a Democrat is supposed to do.
The point of all this is that Obama has less of a mandate this time. By a lot. He had a lower percentage of the vote, and he got fewer votes as well. Last time, he got 69,456,897 to McCain’s 59,934,814. This time, Obama has gotten (so far) fewer votes than McCain got, 59,564,466 votes.
Ten million voters didn’t show up for Obama, and that is unique in modern American presidential elections. Two-termer Dubya gained 12 million votes in his second election. Clinton gained 3.4 million votes in his second election. Reagan gained 11 million votes in his second election. Obama LOST 10 million voters, a seventh of his base either switched, stayed home, or whatever.
Does anyone really think this term is going to be anything other than four years of gridlock?