President Obama’s victory is unlikely to lead to any great surprises in American policy. Attention will therefore focus more on the losers, on
Mitt Romney’s Republican Party. They have to
digest the lesson that a more moderate campaign of opposition to the Democratic incumbent might have handed them the White House. But the difficulty for the Republicans of appealing to the middle
ground will get harder over time, because
the middle ground is shifting. There
are many ways
divided society: black versus white, liberal versus conservative, religious versus secular, even
Protestant versus Catholic.
But the analysis that portrays it as split between the past and the future is perhaps the most useful. That is largely because
of demography. The fastest-growing section of the population is Latin American, including Mexicans and Cubans as well as Brazilians and Argentinians, but who are mainly from the north of the southern American
continent and south of the northern one. President Obama’s campaign deftly
Latin American vote, not least with promises of immigration law reform but also on issues that appealed to the poorer sections of society such as health care and welfare.
As the Latin American population continues
to grow, both through further immigration and due to its higher birth rate, it becomes
clear that a new America is emerging. It is a coalition of ethnicities
that does not look like the old, more monolithic America that many Republicans continue to imagine as the norm.