The worldwas definitely watchingas the results of the U.S. elections came in. In Latin America - the news of Obama's victory, and even Congressional races, were all over the press. Looks like NDN's view of the Hispanic electorate has gone global: Spain's major publication, El Paissays: "Latinos Were a Key Force In Obama's Victory," and Mexico'sLa Jornada reports: "Obama Blows McCain Away Among Latino Voters." Overall, it seems that the U.S. once again (in the words of Bill Clinton) moved the world by the power of its example rather than by an example of its power, and has revived the sentiment of hope and endless possibility in others, for which it is known.
In Mexico, the story of Obama's victory sadly was relegated to the interior of printed press because as Obama's victories were coming in, tragedy hit Mexico - Mexico's Secretary of the Interior, who led the fight against drug cartels, Juan Camilo Mouriño and anti-drug czar José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos were killed in a plan crash, which is under investigation (latest news confirms that U.S. authorities are assisting in this case). In spite of this tragedy, Mexican press did comment a great deal on the election: El Universalreported on Obama celebrations abroad, in Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, etc. where the general sentiment was:
[Translation] Observers, many of them from countries where the idea of a member of a minority group being elected President is unthinkable, expressed surprise and satisfaction at seeing the United States overcome centuries of racial conflict as it elected an African-American as their president. "This shows that the U.S. is a truly diverse and multicultural society, where skin color doesn't matter," said Jason Ge, a student of the University of Pekin in China.
The substance of this statement might be up for debate, but the irrefutable point is that the world looks at the U.S. in a new light today. The Latin American news reports even have some interesting tid bits that had never been reported in U.S., for example, Chile'sLa Nacion reported on election day celebrations in Kenya, and I learned that Barack Obama's "grandmother" in Kenya is not a blood relative - she is not the mother of Barack's father, but rather the third wife of Barack's grandfather, with whom he had other children.
Argentina'sLa Nacion showed off its new tools capability, publishing a word cloud of Obama's victory speech (in Spanish) seen below - "Hope,""Moment," "United," and "Country" have the most hits. Also in La Nacion, Congressmen and women outlined their hopes:"We have to observe the composition of the new Congress and strengthen relationships there...we will insist on greater market access in agriculture," and, "We have an opportunity to set aside our prior differences, Obama seems to be predisposed to dialogue and a higher degree of understanding...so I see a world with greater peace and security." The Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs has this press release on their homepage:
[Translation] U.S. Elections: [Minister]Taiana affirms that "Obama's victory is a message of hope..."
"Undoubtedly, the victory of a candidate like Barack Obama in the U.S. is a message of hope and proof that a cycle is coming to a close in the world...a cycle dominated by...a politics of unilateralism and the imposition of decisions."
InPeru, El Comercio printed President Alan Garcia's congratulatory letter to Barack, in which he's already inviting Barack to go visit: "We have followed this campaign with interest and admiration, it has demonstrated the vigor of democracy in the United States and the people's decision to support your message of change and hope....We are also assured that during your term our bilateral relationship will continue to become strengthened...Peru, as a country committed to peace, stability and security in our continent, would be honored to greet you. I extend my most cordial invitation for you to visit Peru."
El Comercio also wrote about the excitementof First Minister Yehude Simon in view of Obama's victory, the headline reads: "Simon on Obama's election: ‘It is wonderful what's happened in the United States," and Simon added, "I hope he does not fail us," while he also praised the "lesson on democracy" taught by John McCain through his acceptance speech.
Even in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez sent Obama a congratulatory note, calling suddenly for "a constructive bilateral agenda," because, "From the homeland of Simón Bolívar, we are convinced the time has come to establish new relations between our countries and in our region...," as reported by El Nacional.
Colombia's El Tiempo reports that this historic election brings great expectations for Barack Obama within and without the U.S., and also discusses McCain's moving concession speech. In the face of such challenges some degree of skepticism remains, as reported by Mexico's La Jornada: "Mexico shouldn't get its hopes up too high with Obama: says expert of the Center of Economic Research." While the Universal's headlineread a bit differently, "Obama represents hope for immigrants...Obama as president could mean pride for the foreign-born and hope for a change in their living conditions." So the world writes of hope, making history, transcending race, challenges, opportunity...most importantly, it is in everyone's best interest for the next administration to look more to all these neighbors to the south and work to develop a fundamental change in the U.S.'s view of what constitutes a positive working relationship with Latin America.
I'm no fan of the current President Bush. But occasionally, he reminds me of the decent folks I grew up with in Oklahoma. I read this morning that he called President-elect Barack Obama last night, but I figured it was just routine -- all in a day's work for one of the most unpopular presidents in U.S. history.
But then I watched his brief Rose Garden address this morning. He looks so much older, so tired. He has two girls, just like Obama does. I think he truly meant and felt what he said. I think he realizes the historic nature of yesterday's election -- and I think he's ready to go home. You decide:
The 2008 election not only marked the election of America's first African-American president, it also saw the strong and clear political emergence of a new, large and dynamic generation and the realignment of American politics for the next 40 years.
The first large wave of the Millennial Generation, young Americans born from 1982-2003, entered the electorate to decisively support President-elect Barack Obama. Young voters preferred Obama over U.S. Sen. John McCain by a greater than 2:1 margin (66% vs. 32%). And, dispelling the myth that young people never vote, Millennials cast ballots in larger numbers than young voters had in any recent presidential election. The overall contribution of young voters to the electorate ticked up slightly from 17% in 2004 to 18% this year, but in a larger electorate, that represents millions more voters. Proving that this generation of young voters is committed to participating in America’s civic life, it appears that a majority of eligible Millennials cast their ballot, continuing the rise in the percentage of young people who voted from its low of 37% among Generation Xers in 1996.
The increased size and overwhelming unity of young voters added significantly to Barack Obama's popular vote margin over John McCain of about six percentage points nationally. Without the contribution of young voters Obama's popular vote lead would have been a much narrower 1.5% points. Moreover, it appears that the youth vote was ultimately decisive in Obama's close wins in the formerly red states of Indiana and North Carolina.
As a result of this decisive support from the Millennial Generation, the Democratic Party is likely to be the dominant political force in the United States in the decades ahead. Millennials identify as Democrats by the same 2:1 margin that they voted for Barack Obama. Political science tells us that once individual and generations form their party identification they retain it for a lifetime. This will allow the Millennial Generation to take its place as America's next great Democratic civic generation just as their GI Generation great grandparents did nearly 80 years ago. Welcome to the Millennial era.
Just as women make most of their family’s big decisions, buying a car, a house, women also seem to be making the big decisions for the country. Women have voted at higher rates than men in every presidential election since 1980 and the number of women votes has exceeded the number of men voting in every presidential election since 1964. Yesterday, women, who are more than half of all voters, voted 56% for President-elect Barack Obama. This is a 5% increase from 2004 when 51% of women voted for Sen. John Kerry, but only up 2% from 2000 when Vice President Al Gore took 54% of the womens' vote. The gender gap however, did not change at all from 2004 where there was a 7% gap and is again this year with men splitting their votes just about 50/50 between the candidates.
Unmarried women were really the ones who brought it home for the Democrats, voting 70% for Obama, this exceeding his margin among both young and Latino voters. This was very similar to how they voted in House races as well at 64% for national House candidates. Married women on the other hand preferred McCain 47-50...almost makes a girl want to stay single!
President-elect Obama also received overwhelming support from African-American women at 96% and 70% of Latino women, compared to 47% of white women.
If you are a democrat, have you thanked a woman today?
NOTE: An updated version of this report can be found here.
This report is a quick, preliminary analysis of what happened with the Hispanic vote in last night’s historic election. For further background, please check out NDN’s major study of Hispanic voting trends, Hispanics Rising II.
Hispanics Participation Rates Continue to Increase – Despite an historically high turnout, the Hispanic share of the national vote increased from 8% in 2004 to 9% in 2008. In three of the battleground states with significant Latino populations, the share of the electorate that was Hispanic more than doubled in Colorado, increased 60% in Nevada, and increased almost 30 % in New Mexico (see table below).
Hispanics Have Decisively Swung to the Democrats – According to the exit polls, Barack Obama improved Democrats' performance with Hispanics nationwide by 16 net percentage points. In 2004, Senator John Kerry outperformed President George W. Bush with Latinos by 59% to 40%. In 2008, it was 67% Obama, 32% McCain. In the battleground Latino states, there was similar movement, with the vote shift in Florida from 44%-55% Kerry/Bush to 57% to 42% Obama/McCain. In each of these four states, the margin provided by the Latino vote played a significant role in President-elect Obama’s victory.
Hispanics Provided The Margin of Victory in These Four States - In Colorado, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 12.4% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 7%. In Florida, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 7.9% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 2%. In Nevada, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 12.4% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 12%. In New Mexico, Obama’s Hispanic support accounted for 28.3% of the electorate, while Obama only won by 15%.
If These Trends Continue, the National Map Will Continue to Get Harder for Republicans – Of the eight states which flipped from Bush 2004 to Obama 2008, four were heavily Latino states. Just as Pete Wilson’s taking on Hispanics in the 1990s contributed to the transformation of California, home of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, from a swing to the bluest of blue states, the demonization of Hispanics by the national GOP is turning very critical battleground states much more blue.
What should be most ominous to the GOP is what happened in these 4 states heavily contested by the Democrats. In this election, the center-left coalition went after the Hispanic vote as never before. It dramatically increased turnout in the southwestern states, and saw an historic shift of the enormous Florida Hispanic vote from Republican to Democrat. Similar investments in future years in states like Arizona and Texas could very well make these states – home to George W. Bush and John McCain – as blue as New Mexico and Colorado are today.
One more nail in the coffin of the GOP's southern strategy: Virginia goes blue in 2008. NDN has long discussed the impending downfall of the Southern Strategy as the demography of traditionally "red" states changes to reflect the 21st century composition of the country. Before last night, Virginia had voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election since 1952, except in 1964. This year Virginia's Latino voters and immigrant voters played a critical role in winning the state for Democrats. There are about 150,000 registered Latino voters in Virginia (almost twice the number from 2004), and let's not forget that Jim Webb defeated Sen. Allen in 2006 by 10,000 votes. Hispanics comprise 3% of total eligible voters, but last night they accounted for 5% of total voters in Virginia - a state that Obama won by 5% (or close to 155,000 votes). This is another example of Hispanics voting at a higher rate than the general electorate. Could Virginia,with its growing Hispanic and immigrant population, be the next Nevada?
When my mother told me that Obama had opened a field office a few months ago in the southwest corner of Michigan where I grew up, I was in disbelief.
"In downtown St. Joseph?" I asked, and she assured me, she had not misspoken.
"Michigan's Great Southwest," as it is called in tourist pamphlets, is solidly Republican. The sixth congressional district encompasses much of the area, and has been represented for 20 years by Republican Fred Upton.
Granted, McCain dropped out of the state, but as Chris Cillizza at the Washington Postpredicted last May, Michigan's conservative southwest held the potential to swing the state from blue to red:
Polling shows the race between McCain and Obama in the Wolverine State as competitive, yet there is no swing state where Republicans feel more confident about their chances. While GOP strategists grant that Obama will run extremely strong in Detroit and the surrounding areas, Republicans believe that in the Upper Peninsula (U-P in Michigander-speak) and in southwestern Michigan -- both more culturally conservative areas -- McCain will dominate.
And yet that office led to my mother knocking on doors, my sister making phone calls, both of them proudly displaying yard signs. When the votes were tallied last night, Obama won Michigan's three southwestern counties by about the same margins as his national totals (Berrien: 52% to 46.5; Van Buren: 53.5 to 44.7; Cass: 51.2 to 47.1), via the New York Times.
Of course, other factors are in play for this area of the country -- I've already noted that McCain ceded the state after the financial crisis. Waves of Illinois volunteers could have flooded the area (it is also only about 2 hours outside of Chicago), and the state's 98% registration level probably helped.
Nonetheless, the Obama campaign showed up -- just like they did across the country. I'm sure this is not the only example where this small, but significant, act paid dividends.
In the past 24 hours, NDN has helped to shape the post-election narrative. Here are some of the highlights from the recent election analysis:
Simon was featured in a fantastic piece by Thomas Edsall in the Huffington Post:
There is a substantial body of thought among Democrats, however, that Obama's victory accurately reflects transformations in the demographic and attitudinal characteristics of voters. Because these transformations are rooted in the voters themselves, and not in political strategies, they are likely, from this perspective, to be enduring. One of the strongest proponents of this approach is Simon Rosenberg, head of the New Democrat Network.
"When I was born in 1963 the country was almost 89 percent white, 10.5 percent African-American and less than 1 percent other. The racial construct of America was, and had been for over hundreds of years, a white-black, majority-minority construct, and for most of our history had been a pernicious and exploitive one," Rosenberg writes. "Today America is 66 percent white and 33 percent 'minority'.'' According to Rosenberg's assessment, Republican wedge issues will no longer work. "This strategy - welfare queens, Willie Horton, Reagan Democrats, tough on crime, an aggressive redistricting approach in 1990" will prove ineffective in "the new demographic realities of America."
Simon also had a great quote in McClatchy, which appeared in a plethora of papers across the country, that touched on similar themes:
"The Republican playbook that worked for them for a generation, that's become an anachronism," said Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network. "There's a new voting population, new coalitions, new issues, new media. The Republicans have been fighting the future. That is one of the reasons why they are in trouble. They've gotten on the wrong side of history."
He also weighed in in Wired about Obama's thoroughly modern candidacy:
"He's run a campaign where he's used very modern tools, spoke to a new coalition, talked about new issues, and along the way, he's reinvented the way campaigns are run," says Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the nonprofit think-tank NDN, and a veteran of Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. "Compared to our 1992 campaign, this is like a multi-national corporation versus a non-profit."
Simon wasn't the only member of the the NDN team in the mix. New NDN Fellows Morley Winograd and Mike Hais had an excellent quote in this MSNBC article about the importance of the youth vote:
Through a steady stream of texts and Twitters, experts agree Obama has managed to excite young voters by meeting them where they live — online.
“This is a group of people who are constantly checking in with everybody else in their circle to make a decision,” says Morley Winograd, the co-author of “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics” and a former adviser to Vice President Al Gore. He defines Millennials as ages 18 to 26.
“This is a generation that doesn't tend to think about asking experts for opinion," Winograd says. "They tend to ask each other, and then that becomes the truth.”
Winograd says that means no decision is made without dozens of e-mails, texts or Facebook messages to check whether an idea works for the whole group — anything from “Where should we hang out tonight?” to “Who should we vote for?” — which could explain why Millennials so firmly latched onto Obama’s message of unity, he says.
“They are naturally inclined to be unified,” explains Michael D. Hais, who co-wrote “Millennial Makeover” with Winograd. “It’s the way they were reared; they were reared to believe that everyone has a role to play, everybody is the same and everybody should look for group-oriented solutions.”
Senator Barack Obama’s success in the 2008 presidential campaign marks more than an historical turning point in American politics. It also signals the beginning of a new era for American society, one dominated by the attitudes and behaviors of the largest generation in American history.
Millennials, born between 1982 and 2003, now comprise almost one-third of the U.S. population and without their overwhelming support for his candidacy, Barack Obama would not have been able to win his party’s nomination, let alone been elected President of the United States. This new, “civic” generation is dramatically different than the boomers who have dominated our society since the 1960s and understanding this shift is critical to comprehending the changes that America will experience over the next forty years.
The arrival of social network technologies enabled Millennials to create the most intense, group-oriented decision-making process of any generation in American history. This generation’s preference for consensus for everything from minor decisions, like where to hang out, and major decisions, such as whether go to war, stems from a belief that every one impacted by a decision needs, at very least, to be consulted about it. This approach will dominate how leaders of America’s primary institutions – from corporations and churches to government at all levels – will be measured in the years ahead.
Contrast that approach to those of the candidates who struggled in 2008. In her losing run for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton presented case for a highly assertive, controversial – if sometimes a bit too strenuous – Boomer style of leadership. She emphasized the value of her years of experience and wisdom. Senator John McCain tried that approach as well during the summer lull, but found it didn’t have sufficient power to overtake Obama in the national polls. He then rolled the dice and asked a Generation-X Governor, Sarah Palin, to help him win voters by emphasizing their mutual belief in the superiority of traditional social values and small government. The Republican ticket has had about as much success with this strategy as Governors Huckabee and Romney did Millennial voters during the primaries.
To successfully manage the transition to a Millennial era, institutions will need to find leaders of any age far-sighted enough to fully embrace Millennial attitudes and behaviors. They have to give them full reign to makeover the outdated structures they will inherit.
Millennials, in particular, are ready to take on the challenge. Millennials were taught that if you follow the rules and work hard, you will succeed. As the first generation to experience “always on,” high-speed access to the Internet at a young age, Millennials have confounded the vision of many Gen X futurists who envisioned the Net as a tool to enhance individual freedom and liberty, not as a new resource for community building. Sharing their ideas and thoughts constantly from short Twitter texts, or “Tweets,” to extended, if often amateurish, videos on YouTube, Millennials generate and absorb an overwhelming amount of information. Individual Millennials use this ability to influence their own decisions, and then those of the wider group. If institutions and their leaders want their decisions to have any credibility with this new generation, every institution will need to open its own governance procedures to ensure a level of transparency and fairness that meets the test of Millennial values.
There have been other times in American history when a “civic” generation like the Millennials has emerged to transform the nation. In the eighteenth century a “civic” generation, called the “Republican Generation” by the seminal generational theorists William Strauss and Neil Howe, created the constitutional republic whose democratic values we celebrate to this day. About eighty years later, an equally “civic” impulse propelled to the war to abolish slavery and extend liberty and freedom to all citizens. And when the last “civic” generation was called upon by its elders to conquer fascism and remake America’s economy in the twentieth century, the GI Generation responded with such fervor and ability that they were labeled the “Greatest Generation” by a grateful nation.
Now, another eighty years later, it is the Millennial Generation’s turn. Its “civic” revolution draws its unique character from the particular way Millennials were brought up, and their use of interactive communication technologies. We believe the Millennial Generation's revolution will be just as profound as that of previous “civic” generations. Barack Obama’s victory does indeed mark the end of the late 20th century “idealist” era of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. But its significance is much deeper, and likely to shape the nature of the new era the country is about to enter.
Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America.
Will Chicago be the new Washington? I worked for U.S. Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin from 1995 to 2002. He is a brilliant leader, a masterful legislative tactician, a kind man. He is a key player in Obama's ascendancy to the Oval Office. In 2002, I worked on the campaign of Lisa Madigan for Attorney General of Illinois. She became the first female to hold that position and I worked for her in that office from 2003 to 2006. She is cut from the same cloth as Durbin - brilliant, connects with people, hardworking, destined for greater things.
Back to my point. Grant Park. Been there for Blues Fest and Taste of Chicago a million times. I have never seen the sea of humanity I saw tonight. Read the full text of Obama's remarks here.
Watch for more from the Windy City. Bonus points to anyone who knows why Chicago has the nickname. Let me know.