Yes, it’s confirmed, President Barack Obama has been returned to the White House for another four years as leader of the free world, and with an impressive majority.

I’ll confess, I thought it was going to be a lot closer than it turned out to be. Lets look at why.

Broadly, I thought the states to look at would be Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida. The usual suspects. I figured Obama would take Virginia and Wisconsin (though I’ve been paranoid ever since the failed recall vote against Govenor Scott Walker). I also thought he’d take Ohio (car industry). I thought they’d all be incredibly close, and they largely were.

It could have gone so much worse of Barack. A mere few percent lost in these highly contested states could have been a waterfall victory for Romney. But it failed to materialise.

I’d hoped for Obama to win Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and New Hampshire, and to lose North Carolina (but that one would still be in contention, he had a surprise victory against McCain here).

That would’ve left the totals at 283-206, and a comfortable Obama victory, even if Romney won the remaining Florida, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. Losing Virginia and Ohio could have finished Obama (or, if losing one of them, losing New Hampshire could have lost it for him).

My predictions were largely right. Except for the states I thought Romney would win. I have no idea how, but Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico went blue in a mid-Western desert of red states.

I’m pleasantly surprised. It seems that in Nevada, despite high unemployment, Obama isn’t getting the blame for the state’s economic woes… people are actually blaming George Bush more. Perhaps a lesson for the Lib Dems (though, if you want analysis of ‘lessons to learn’, I highly recommend Yellow Tinted Spectacles on this).

The high number of Hispanics and African Americans in populous districts in Las Vegas [Nevada] and Albuquerque [New Mexico] also definitely helped. Obama dominated these racial groups in general, but lost among White voters quite badly – 39%-59%.

Apparently Colorado is full of more old hippies than I gave them credit for. The vote here may even lead to Mark Ferradino, the current House Minority Leader of Denver, being elected as the first openly gay speaker of the state’s House.

I treated these states badly and I apologise to them.

What was even more interesting was that those same old hippies in Colorado have just voted to legalise marijuana in the state… for recreational purposes.

Now medical marijuana is legal in several states of the USA, including Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Delaware, Hawaii, Arizona, New Jersey, Maine,Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

But for recreational purposes?

Yes, Colorado (53%-47%) and Washington (55%-45%) have voted for it to be legal to possess small amounts of marijuana [1 ounce] without a doctor’s note. Now, admittedly, it’s not like Amsterdam, and federal laws prohibiting it will still be key, but this is still a huge shift

Even more important were votes on equal marriage. Maine, Maryland, Washington voted yesterday on legalising same-sex marriage – and voted in favour, a huge victory for pro-equality groups. While six other states have legal equal marriage, those were enacted by legislators or judges, not by the popular vote.

Minnesota lost both its ballots, the one to require photo ID to vote and the atrocious amendment to only recognise marriage between one man and one woman. Rejoice!

Yesterday wasn’t just a victory for Obama, it was a victory for progressive human rights and liberty.

This may also be noticed in the Senate races.

Candidates like Todd “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” Akin and Richard “life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen” Mourdock got shut down themselves by Democrats Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly.

Tammy Baldwin was elected as the US’ first openly gay Senator, taking Wisconsin’s second Congressional District, in a state that six years ago voted to ban equal marriage.

Many glass ceilings were broken yesterday, and by women. Mazie Hirono is the first Asian-American woman Senator, the first Buddhist, and the first Japanese-born Senator; Tammy Duckworth is the first disabled Congresswoman veteran, and Mary Gonzales is the first openly pansexual Senator…and she represents Texas!

One of my favourite Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, was elected in Massachusets, a true firebrand for the left, defender of the social contract and consumers, and arguably the first Native American to take office. She’s also the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the Senate, and re-took Ted Kennedy’s former seat.

Now, don’t forget. The House of Representatives is still controlled by the Republicans. They will maintain their attempts to block any major reforms by a Democrat President, naturally, and the next two years will be full of debate and contest. The race to win the election in 2016 started the second the polls closed, and it’s the Democrat’s race to lose. Tensions will run high. 2014 will be a difficult year for the House and could make or break Obama. We will argue.

But please remember, keep it civil.

– Morgan

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