How Conservative Media Failed Their Readers

The right faced a self-created information disadvantage.

The New Barack Obama

How will worrying about legacy rather than about reelection change the president's policies?

The Most Popular Tweet of All Time

It's a simple one from @BarackObama: "Four more years."

2012 Election Winners and Losers

It's been a good night for Nate Silver and data mining. For Sheldon Adelson and Dick Morris, not so much.

Is 2012 the Priciest Election Ever? Not Even Close

There was more campaign spending in 1896 than in the next four priciest elections combined.

Why the 'I Voted' Sticker Matters

It's a form of social payment -- and an advertisement.

Election Day: Intimidation, Irregularities, and Broken Machines

Voting problems big and small are being reported around the country -- as usual.




12:40 a.m. EST: The networks have now called the state for the president: 50 percent for Obama to 49 percent for Romney.



12:40 EST The state remains in play, at 50 percent for Obama, 49 percent for Romney.



12:40 EST: With 98 percent of precincts reporting, the state has been called for Romney. The challenger has garnered 51 percent, while the president garnered 48.



1:12 a.m. EST: The state has been called for Obama with 88 percent of precincts reporting. It's 50-48 in the president's favor here.



11 p.m. EST: Calling it for Obama are The New York Times, AP, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox.



12:40 EST: With 66 percent of precincts reporting, the state has been called for the president. Obama stands at 50 percent; Romney stands at 47.



12:40 EST: With 79 percent of precincts reporting, the state has been called for the president. Obama has 52 percent of the vote; Romney has 47.



12:40 EST: The state has been called for the president: 52 percent for Obama, 47 percent for Romney.



12:40 EST: The state went for the president, 52 percent to 46 percent.

Latest updates from our writers

1106_ObamaCover_inline4051.jpg This new Businessweek cover reminds me of my first thought when I saw Obama post-win last night: The man needs a vacation. There's a reason the image tweeted out last night by the Obama campaign -- the one that's since gone viral -- was not, in fact, from last night. The actual win photo -- taken by White House photographer Pete Souza "moments after the television networks called the election" -- shows just how exhausted the president looks when he doesn't have his game face on. 8163246124_4bc70b1187.jpg

Barack Obama now heads into a second term with an improving but still sluggish economy. Where should he focus his energies to get more people working again, add a little life to the housing market, and spark some serious consumer demand? Emily Badger and Sommer Mathis of our sister site The Atlantic Cities argue that he can get the most bang for his policy buck by tending to urban areas, where about 80 percent of Americans live. Badger and Mathis have eight suggestions, including raising the national gas tax and creating a national infrastructure bank, that could help our cities prosper and grow.

The Newseum here in D.C. offers a comprehensive and wonderfully revealing look at how newspapers are covering last night's Obama victory. Via the museum's collection of today's front pages -- 835 of them, from 89 countries -- you can compare how outlets from the tiny to the huge interpreted the president's win.

Here's the front page of the San Francisco Examiner:

Screen Shot 2012-11-07 at 9.48.07 AM.png

One of the big stories of this election will be how the two camps wound up with such wildly different ideas of how the night was going to go. If you were watching television last night, you saw not just the early optimism of the Romney team and the conservative pundits, but also their resistance to the final Ohio call. Apparently, the Romney team really was looking at entirely different numbers. There's an interesting story up in The Washington Examiner this morning that talks about the Romney campaign's data system, Project Orca.

Early in the evening, one aide said that, as of 4 p.m., Orca still projected a Romney victory of somewhere between 290 and 300 electoral votes.

"I was wrong," Newt Gingrich has just told CNN. He had previously predicted Romney would get 53 percent of the popular vote and a decisive victory in the Electoral College. "Those of us who are Republican activists and some of the supposedly best analysts on our side in the conservative movement were just wrong. We have to think about what does that teach us."

Mitt Romney's loss of the state he used to govern last night was of historic proportions. "Only John Frémont in 1856 lost his home state by a larger margin than Romney out of the 100 major party presidential nominees on the ballot since the formation of the Democratic Party in 1828," reports the Smart Politics political analysis site run by the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs. "The 23-point deficit by Romney in Massachusetts makes his home state performance the second worst in history by any major party presidential nominee since the formation of the Democratic Party."

From our sister publication National Journal: "If you didn't like the 112th Congress, you will hate the 113th." The story by Dan Friedman suggests that losses like those of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, Linda McMahon in Connecticut, Heather Wilson in New Mexico, and Richard Carmona in Arizona, were the result of the "partisan deficit in their states," and that we should expect "a more partisan Senate, and a more anonymous one."

What does Mitt Romney do now, after seven years of running for president and an exhausting campaign? Bob Dole, the longtime senator who lost to Bill Clinton in the 1996 contest, wrote a humorous and touching column for the Washington Post on just that topic in September:

In Washington, losing an election is viewed as a sort of death. But instead of bringing food to the house, a few neighbors and some in the media stick a microphone in your face and ask, "Did you cost Ford the White House?"
Dole's advice? Stay busy and keep perspective.
Sure, losing an election hurts, but I've experienced worse. And at an age when every day is precious, brooding over what might have been is self-defeating. In conceding the 1996 election, I remarked that "tomorrow will be the first time in my life I don't have anything to do." I was wrong. Seventy-two hours after conceding the election, I was swapping wisecracks with David Letterman on his late-night show.

One of the most surprising and disappointing losses of the night for those hoping to see the GOP diversify was that by Mia Love in Utah's 4th House District. Right now it's looking like the narrowest of narrow losses -- just 2,818 votes separate Love from winner Rep. Jim Matheson, who was a Democratic incumbent in Utah's District 2 running this cycle in a new district thanks to redistricting. Love was a GOP rising star and may yet have a bright future in politics -- plenty of candidates, such as a certain Mr. Obama, lose their first House race -- but her loss also underscores a central problem the Republican Party will have as it seeks to diversify.

It has historically been more challenging for black candidates to win congressional seats without the support of predominantly minority districts or a reasonably progressive white electorate. Sure, there are exceptions -- but there have been very, very few of them. And with almost all blacks and most white progressives voting Democratic, the natural base for supporting emerging black leaders is absent at the voting booth when the candidate is a Republican, no matter how fervently Republican leaders wish this were not so. Love was seeking to become the first black Republican woman to be elected to Congress. The first! In 2012! America -- and Love -- will have to keep waiting.

How much did inflammatory remarks about rape and abortion hurt the GOP in this election? The Atlantic's Ashley Fetters takes a look at the fate of the politicians famous for their controversial comments. One of these races--that of incumbent Roger Rivard for Wisconsin State Assembly, of "some girls rape easy" notoriety--is still very close.

Among those delivering congratulations to the re-elected president last night were his colleagues in world leadership:

Losing the Cheetos vote. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat and the former mayor of Denver and (some say) future national candidate, had perhaps the line of the night. "Don't break out the Cheetos and gold fish too quickly," he said after voters there approved a measure to legalize marijuana. Funny. But bad form. That sort of stereotype about pot dismisses its medicinal value-- and makes a mockery of the testimony of former military personnel who say they need marijuana to help them cope with their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

No gridlock here. So far during his first term, President Obama nominated 204 judges to our federal courts. The Senate, recalcitrant though it is, confirmed 158 of those nominees. Both of these figures figure to grow during a second Obama Term. And that means that for the first time in a generation the federal judiciary will trend away from its current conservative bent. The Supreme Court? Let's just say that if you bet the "over" on Justice Brett Kavanaugh you are looking pretty good right now.

How are the real losers of the election -- Tea Party groups -- taking their lumps? If this email I got from the South Florida Tea Party this morning is any indication, their first instinct is to continue to fight the president tooth and nail. Writes Everett "Dirksen" Wilkinson, the chairman of the

Dear Patriots,

Whenever times get tough, I take a step back and pray to God for guidance and courage to follow Him. This is one of those times.

We are Americans. This is the home of the brave and free. Neither Obama nor his Socialist armies can take away our freedom if we don't let them.

The line is drawn in the sand. We can choose to continue the fight, or submit to slavery. I choose to stand up and fight.

Babe Ruth said, "You just can't beat the person who won't give up." Everyday the liberal media spouts their propaganda that the "tea party" and "conservatism" is dead. Yet we continue to rally.

We must continue to keep standing up, no matter how much it hurts. The Socialists are mad that were not able to destroy America in one term. We must continue to stand up for America.

Our goals for America remain the same:

Stop the Out-of-Control Spending.
Audit the Federal Reserve Banking System.
Pass a "Balanced Budget".
Repeal parts of NDAA.
Reform our tax code.
Repeal Obamacare.

In the end, our commitment is to Liberty and the US Constitution, not a political party, or a candidate.

"So they've got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those b*****ds won't get away this time!" CHESTY PULLER, USMC

Here's to the Winners. I'll have more on this a little later today in a new post but I just want to briefly say here that no political party in a working democracy can prevail in a free election with a program of trying to suppress votes. I can't remember which television talking head this morning-- Tavis Smiley?-- mentioned the fact that Republican voter suppression efforts only served to enrage and motivate black and Hispanic voters to come out to vote. Until the Republicans can compete for these voters with ideas, rather than restrictive voter registration and identification laws, they are playing a loser's game. 

Last night's most popular tweet of all time is in good company: President Obama's victory also brought the most-liked Facebook photo of all time.Screen shot 2012-11-07 at 8.18.03 AM.png

At the moment, the poignant image -- accompanying text: "Four more years" -- has nearly 3 million likes on the social network.

He's baaack. Alabama voters returned to the bench Roy Moore, of "Roy's Rock" fame, the former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice who lost his job nearly ten years ago after he violated a federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument he set up in the lobby of his courthouse. From local reports: "'Go home with the knowledge that we are going to stand for the acknowledgement of God,' Moore said to shouts of 'Amen' from supporters." How would you like to be an atheist with a case before this jurist?

Say it ain't so, Sheriff Joe. Voters in Maricopa County, Arizona returned to office Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is 80 years old, following a campaign in which, the Arizona Republic reports, about 80 percent of the Sheriff's campaign contributions came from outside the state. "People in this community are going to be watching," said his challenger, Paul Penzone. And so are the feds and the other litigants who have kept Sheriff Joe in court these past few years- in court and costing his constituents millions in legal fees and costs.

We need to fix that. The best part of President Barack Obama's speech last night? When he referenced the outrageously long lines to vote and said to the crowd: "By the way, we need to fix that." They do. Remember, the President as a lawyer and law professor, studied the topic of voting rights quite closely. And now he has a chance for bipartisan reform on elections. He shouldn't wait. He should act now while the memory of voter suppression and those lines are fresh in the minds of lawmakers.

On Ballot Issues, Double-Timing the March of Progress. My brand new piece on last night's big voter initiatives, which saw sweeping changes to the landscape on same-sex marriage, marijuana and more. 

With 97% of the votes in, NBC has Obama winning the popular vote by a roughly 2.5 million-vote margin. That's Obama at 50 percent to Romney's 48 percent. 

So, while Donald Trump may have a point here in the broader sense, it's probably not the point he was trying to make late last night: There's no electoral-popular split this time.

No New York Times subscription? No problem:

Time to check in with reactions from world leaders. The BBC reports "Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has congratulated President Obama by sending him the three-word message: 'Four more years.'"

Russian president Vladimir Putin has reportedly also called President Obama to offer congratulations. A cozy call, that one must have been: hours before polls opened yesterday, a Kremlin-backed NGO released a report effectively calling the U.S. election process shoddy--far short of international standards. Last week, Russian elections chief Vladimir Churov called it "the worst in the world." All this looked a bit like retaliation for criticism of Russia's recent elections.

British prime minister David Cameron, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabo, and many others have also congratulated Obama and issued remarks.

"Astonishingly early," says the German Süddeutsche Zeitung, "even the conservative station Fox News seemed to recognize the Republicans' imminent defeat." Well, sort of. Here, by the way, is a Talking Points Memo cut of that drama on Fox News that the liveblog covered earlier: Karl Rove and others contest the Ohio call, and Megyn Kelly takes off to investigate and confront Fox News's in-house numbers guys.

Always interesting to see how these events are covered internationally. Apparently it's also interesting, internationally, to see how these events are covered by American media: The German Süddeutsche Zeitung, based in Munich, has a gallery of American news sites' responses to the Obama win. Head on over if you're interested--the only German is in caption-style explanations at the bottom.

The Associated Press reports that California voters have passed Proposition 36, a reform to California's 3-strikes law. "The ballot measure has a provision requiring a defendant's 'third-strike' crime to be serious or violent, with some exceptions, before triggering a 25-year-to-life prison sentence," The Los Angeles Times explains. "The three strikes law, approved by voters in 1994, has been popular with Californians for years. But as the state's fiscal crisis dragged on and a growing share of the state budget has been consumed by state prisons, polls began to suggest Californians were willing to reconsider the law." In keeping with the metaphor, a foul ball will no longer count as a final strike.

Former presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann appears to have just barely held on to her seat in the House of Representatives, with a one-percentage point win over opponent Jim Graves. Paul Ryan has also kept his House seat, though with a more comfortable margin. 

That said, Slate's Dave Weigel points out that it's nowhere near as comfortable a margin as Ryan managed in 2008.

Unsurprisingly, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have radically different editorials up on the night's events. The New York Times says Obama's victory "was a strong endorsement of economic policies that stress job growth, health care reform, tax increases and balanced deficit reduction--and of moderate policies on immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage. It was a repudiation of Reagan-era bromides about tax-cutting and trickle-down economics, and the politics of fear, intolerance and disinformation."

The Wall Street Journal says it was a victory of "hope over experience," and "the definition of winning ugly." The election, according to the WSJ editorial, was won through "single women, the young and culturally liberal, government and other unions workers, and especially minority voters." Obama's strategy, continues the editorial, was "to portray Mitt Romney as a plutocrat and intolerant threat to each of these voting blocs," denying women contraception and heralding "a return to Jim Crow via voter ID laws." By contrast, the NYT thinks "the president's victory depended heavily on Midwestern Rust Belt states like Ohio." Both papers' editorials, though, declare Romney made some serious strategic errors, particularly in failing to appeal to Latinos.

Then again, maybe there will be a Florida decision before noon. Somewhat contradicting that Reuters report, the AP is saying that 100% of the vote in Florida has been counted, with the final figures being 49.8% for Obama and 49.3% for Romney, but with no official call.

Good morning, all. Florida remains too close to call. Reuters reports earlier this morning that there may be no definitive answer until at least this afternoon, which is when the head of elections for voter-rich Miami-Dade County predicts results will be available.

President Obama and his wife Michelle celebrate at the campaign's victory party in Chicago. (Credit: Chris Carlson/AP)


Molly Ball files her take on tonight's big win for liberals:

"Gay marriage won in four states. Three states made marijuana legal. Democrats didn't just keep the Senate in a tough year, they gained seats. And of course, Barack Obama won reelection. Nov. 6, 2012, forecast as the squeaker conclusion to a toss-up race, was not a landslide, but it was a ringing victory for liberals across the board."

Rep. Allen West's loss is far from the only Tea Party disappointment tonight. Mia Love fell short of unseating Rep. Jim Matheson in Utah, while Rep. Michele Bachmann is dangerously close to losing her House seat in a race that's yet to be called in Minnesota.

While it remains to be seen how these races could potentially affect the Republican Party, they will surely be a shock to Tea Party conservatives, who vaulted onto the national political scene during the 2010 midterm elections.

Nonetheless, at least one Tea Party congressman will return to Washington. In New York, Rep. Michael Grimm soundly defeated Democratic challenger Mark Murphy.

All hail Nate Silver, who managed to be nearly perfect tonight. If the final two states go as expected - Florida to Obama, Alaska to Romney - then the electoral college will end up 332-206 for Obama. Which is exactly what Silver predicted. In fact, of 64 pundits tracked by The Atlantic Wire, only two got the electoral vote precisely right (if, again, it finishes 332-206): Silver and Markos Molitsas of Daily Kos. To demonstrate how unexpectedly big the victory is, only one of the remaining 62 predicted Obama would win more than 332 votes. That was Jim Cramer, with his outlandishly wacky 440-98 dart throw.

Silver, celebrated on Twitter, goes all modest in a video interview taped just after midnight on the New York times site. But in the battle of geeks vs pundits (Joe Scarborough, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks), Silver soared.

This may have been the best speech by Obama since the one I heard at the Democratic convention in Boston eight years ago.

Now, let's see whether any of this can be applied in actual governance these next four years. 

Nate Silver's parody Twitter account sums up the real Nate Silver's night pretty accurately:

Most surprising line in Obama's speech just now: dealing with "the destructive power of a warming planet."

Overall a very good and gracious speech. Indeed better than the counterpart four years ago. Will try to explain later why the reelection is, in its way, more significant than the initial win.

A moment of hopefulness, in the middle of Obama's speech:

Maybe these next few years will actually be better than the past four. Economy seems sure to turn up. And -- maybe? -- the GOP will move past denialism and obstruction? At least that's the mood tonight, with the surprisingly non-furious and non-delegitimizing response of much of the right wing.

But it's only been a few hours.

It would make no sense for all sorts of reasons, and it would never happen, but it would be quite a stirring and encouraging development if Barack Obama could persuade Mitt Romney to become his commerce secretary. 

CHICAGO -- Listening in the hall to Obama, even amid the cheering and pre-selected crowd, one senses how the infatuation has quite expectedly dissipated. It's far, far different than four years ago. And it's probably a good thing.

Like lots of love affairs, it's now turned into something more realistic, namely a relationship. Hopefully, like the better ones, it will be more sensible and productive than the original infatuation. We shall see.


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