By State of the Union Intern
There is no shortage of stories dominating the news this week, but what will be leading the headlines on Sunday morning? These are some of the stories we are looking at this week.
How Obama won. President Obama’s 303 (332 if Florida, where Obama leads, is called for him) to Romney’s 206 electoral vote victory was largely a result of the country’s changing demographics that are increasingly favoring the Democratic Party and were a part of Obama’s coalition four years ago. According to exit polls, Hispanics, who made up 10 percent of the electorate, overwhelmingly supported Obama, at 71 percent, compared to 67 percent in 2008. The president also enjoyed 93 percent African-American support and over 70 percent of Asians. These groups allowed Obama to overcome winning only 39 percent of whites, the lowest for a Democrat since 1988. The president also received the support of 60 percent of 18 to 29-year olds and 55 percent of women. Political watchers will be looking to see if Obama’s coalition becomes a permanent Democratic majority in future elections.
GOP second-guessing begins. With Romney’s loss comes much soul-searching and “what-ifs” from the Republican Party, and differing explanations for Romney’s defeat among the party faithful has already begun. Conservatives and Tea Party supporters, who never had a comfortable relationship with Romney, are slamming Romney for not being conservative enough, but others in the party are believing the exact opposite, with Romney going too far right in the primaries to be able to win in the general. Some are also pointing to Romney’s lack of support among Hispanics as a huge problem for the GOP. Political watchers will be looking to see which of these claims gathers the most support in the party and what effect it will have on the GOP’s future, with the party either moving towards the center or continuing to move further to the right.
Status quo in Congress. While the GOP held the House, as expected, the Democrats actually gained seats in the Senate, an unthinkable prediction just a year ago. Republicans were unable to capitalize on seats where they had long been expected to pick up or hold. Rep. Todd Akin, now infamous for his comments on “legitimate rape,” lost to Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and Richard Mourdock, who also had a much-criticized rape comment of his own, lost to Rep. Joe Donnelly. Democrats also picked up seats in Massachusetts, where Elizabeth Warren defeated Sen. Scott Brown, and in Maine, where Independent Angus King won, and is expected to caucus with the Democrats. Democrats also held onto competitive seats in Montana, North Dakota, Connecticut, Virginia, and Wisconsin, where Tammy Baldwin became the first ever openly-gay member of the Senate. All told, Democrats are expected to have a 55 to 45 Senate majority come January.
Avoiding the fiscal cliff. With the election behind him, President Obama must now work with House Speaker John Boehner to deal with the looming “fiscal cliff” that is set to occur on at the end of the year. If not dealt with, it would result in about $700 billion in spending cuts (called “sequestration”) and tax increases from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Economists warn that the country could possibly slide back into recession if it occurs. On Wednesday, Boehner said he would be willing to allow increased increase revenue as part of a deal, but not if it included increasing the rates on top earners, and instead wants to overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs. Obama has repeatedly called for all of the Bush tax cuts to expire except for people making below $250,000 a year. Political watchers will be looking to see if Obama and Boehner can reach a compromise on deficit reduction, which has eluded them previously, before time runs out.
Much more to come, make sure to check back on Friday for our full Rundown and don’t forget to tune in Sunday at 9am & Noon ET.