Last night America spoke in a voice loud and clear by re-electing President Barack Obama for four more years. The message: It's a new day in America. After the country received news of his re-election, Republican rival Mitt Romney humbly conceded in the early morning hours. His defeat can be interpreted as the United States advancing toward becoming a truly democratic nation.
Even more than Obama's historic election four years ago, this re-election signaled that the country has come far in the long march away from white male domination. As one television pundit declared, "The white male establishment is now a minority."
The President's campaign succeeded by studying and targeting the changes in our country -- of rapidly growing Latino populations, rising immigrant communities and the hunger among women and other non-whites' hunger for a rightful share of the more inclusive values of today's America. The forces that returned him to office also swept in more women of both parties in the House and a 20 percent female U.S. Senate, including that body's first openly gay woman. Voters in two states endorsed same-sex marriage and in several others they liberalized marijuana laws. These outcomes will surely elevate the hopes and long-delayed expectations of other groups.
From my point of view as a farmer, much work awaits the President and the Democrats. They have to do a better job of addressing issues that affect rural America such as farming and agribusiness. Wherever segments of our society have been neglected they are now rising to claim recognition. As President Obama said in Chicago last night, we all do better when we look out for each other.
This historic presidential election saw people waiting in long lines to cast their ballots in record numbers. Those who follow politics closely watched eagerly into the night for results in the battleground states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and others. Here in Virginia, extended hours kept the polls open in this critically important state until everyone waiting was allowed to vote.
The Obama team ran a smart campaign by underscoring Governor Romney's disconnect from the lives of ordinary striving people. They spotlighted his wealthy lifestyle and history of putting business interests first at Bain Capital. Voters took note. After MSNBC and other cable news networks declared President Obama the winner, Karl Rove and other right-wing political pundits immediately began to question the Ohio numbers. Rove was not the only one who took issue with the numbers. Donald Trump's Twitter rant calling for a revolution speaks for itself. Trump seems to have gone over the edge. It appears he might be afflicted by rich man's syndrome. Rich men don't like it when they don't get what they paid for. Nearly a billion dollars of outside money was spent on what are now called super PACs and their man still lost the election.
The Republicans retained control in the House of Representatives and the question remains -- whether or not they will work with the President to move the country forward. President Obama not only extended an olive branch, but offered them the whole tree as he called for unity during his victory speech.
There is hope for Congress as a whole: Democrats regained Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, won by Elizabeth Warren who defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown, and in my home state of Virginia Tim Kaine won over Republican former Senator George Allen.
Somewhere in all the mountain of work the President faces in this second term, I hope he will see the importance of addressing issues that affect us in rural America. Doing so could mean picking up more congressional seats in red states in the future. The Republicans' task is far greater concerning future GOP presidential aspirations. Governor Romney made the huge mistake of writing off the Latino vote by not supporting the Dream Act. His team made little to no effort to court the black vote. The Republicans will not win the White House with just their party faithful -- those days are gone.
Americans chose President Obama for a second term for one major reason: they trust his leadership in moving America forward. The President proved his ability to put politics aside by putting his campaign on hold during Hurricane Sandy. This is what Americans remembered as they headed for the polls. He demonstrated that caring leadership makes good politics.
We are all Americans and the time has come for both parties to start working together the way the American people deserve. For President Obama to be effective as President, Congress will have to do a much better job. Now's the time to show some unity and pass the laws that will put Americans back to work. President Obama: Congratulations on a hard fought win.