By Justin David Tate
Barack Obama defeated Gov. Mitt Romney by a wide margin to win his second term despite a storm of controversy that plagued the election process.
Days before the election, Hurricane Sandy struck New York, damaging millions of homes, businesses and polling stations. On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania voting machine was videotaped choosing Mitt Romney even as a voter tried to select Obama.
Through all the disputes and conflicts, Obama managed to become the third consecutive United States president to hold a second term in office.
“I think this is generally good news for community college students,” history professor Matt Hinckley said. “Obama has made community colleges a centerpiece of his agenda, in terms of job retraining and as a means of getting more students some college education by making student loans more affordable.”
The two candidates sparred vigorously over an assortment of topics throughout the campaign, but their most-visited topic was the economy.
Romney’s team focused his campaign on what it believed to be Obama’s lack of economic knowledge and credentials to solve America’s financial crisis. Romney cited his experience as a co-founder of the successful multi-billion dollar asset management company, Bain Capital.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Obama is the first president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to be reelected while unemployment rates are higher than 7.4 percent.
Obama initially won in states where he led in the early polls such as New York, Maine and Illinois, while Romney took many historically red states such as Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Oklahoma. Traditionally red state Florida was too close to call at press time.
“[Democrats] had what’s called a good ground game,” government professor Dr. Cindy Castañeda said. “They registered a lot of new voters, particularly in Florida. … I think the Hispanic vote made a big difference.”
Battleground states such as Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina became the major deciders in the race. While Romney was able to take North Carolina, Obama won in Ohio and Virginia.
At almost midnight, Romney conceded the U.S. presidency to Obama as the electoral map began to reflect an impending loss. Romney was reserved as he wished the president and his family luck.
“This is a time of great challenges for America and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” Romney said. “Paul [Ryan] and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign. I so wish I had been able to fulfill your hopes.”
Although Eastfield Democrats cast their vote in a historically Republican state, professors encouraged their participation.
“Every single vote counts,” Castañeda said. “I was telling students in class today that while it may be true with Libertarians and Democrats in Texas that our vote doesn’t count in the electoral college, there are a lot of races on the ballot. There’s still a lot of people running out there. We are more touched by state and local government than we are by the national government.”
As Obama delivered his speech and thanked his wife Michelle, his supporters and even his detractors, many pondered his next four years.
Dr. Glynn Newman, professor of government, is happy that Obama will remain in office, but he is concerned about how close the popular vote was. Nearly 50 percent of voters didn’t vote for Obama. With that kind of divide, Newman fears the president’s job will be that much harder. Despite those who may worry, Obama seems confident he can make the most of his next four years.
“But that common bond is where we must begin,” Obama said. “Our economy is recovering, a decade of war is ending, a long campaign is now over, and whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you have made me a better president. I have returned to the White House more determined than ever.”