I am so happy this morning. I am so gratified that the forces of decency prevailed. I believe that Barack Obama won a second term because there are more Americans who value truth and integrity and guts and sheer human decency in a candidate than were co-opted by untruths and hate speech. Obama won the popular vote, he won the women's vote by eighteen points, he won the youth vote as robustly as he did four years ago, he won virtually all the Black vote (no surprise there), he won the Latino vote by seventy percent, the Asian-American vote by seventy-three percent, and he did better than expected with the White vote, winning forty percent, especially in Midwest battleground states where they respected what he did with the auto bailout. And he won decisively, a sure march across the map, getting to the all important 270 electoral college votes without Ohio, Virginia and Florida! The country voted and the mandate is clear. Obama is the next president of this nation.
I loved his speech at almost 2 a.m. this morning. It was a soaring call to action, an invitation to heal the bitter divide, and it truly is bitter. But I felt so gratified that the majority of the electorate was not mired in the hate. My children voted in this election, and we were texting all night. And when Obama won, we called one another. I could hear screaming and celebration in the background. My son was watching the returns at the 21st birthday celebration of one of his friends; my daughter watched with other students in the lounge of her dorm. Together, we whooped and cheered.
I was also on the phone non stop with my cousin Karen in Virginia and my friend Leslie across town. I could have attended a viewing party staged by my job at a restaurant downtown, or joined other friends to raise a glass as we watched the returns come in. But somehow, I just wanted to dig in at home. I didn't know the night would go as well as it did, and I remembered how barren I felt eight years ago when Bush won a second term. The night didn't feel particularly social to my husband either. He lost himself in a book and visited me in the living room occasionally for updates. But he was sitting next to me at the moment CNN announced that Barack Obama had been re-elected, and he stayed through the back and forth that followed, with Romney refusing to concede Ohio, the state that was projected to put Obama over the top. When Colorado was finally counted, giving Obama comfortably more than 270 votes without the big three battleground states, my husband put down the remote and went to bed.
Of course, I stayed till the very end, until Ohio and then Virginia were more surely decided. I wanted to see the concession speech and the victory speech. Karen and Leslie kept me company, a round robin of phone calls, our elation and relief palpable. Okay, I'm not stupid enough to pretend that there are not bitter comments scrolling up a lot of people's Facebook walls and Twitter feeds today. Some of them will chill you right quick. But you know what, these sentiments did not, after all, carry the day and that is worth celebrating.