What the election means for Obama, GOPon November 7, 2012 @ 11:19 am (Updated: 12:38 pm - 11/7/12 )
"Mitt Romney still got about 49 percent of the popular vote, the House of Representatives is still in Republican hands and Republicans did knock off some Democrats," Mark said.
And he pointed out most importantly, Obama only narrowly won the statewide vote in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.
"It doesn't undercut his win. He defeated Mitt Romney, no doubt about it. Democrats had a nice night, but it's not a fundamental sea change. We're still a closely divided nation and Democrats right now have the upper hand. I'd rather be in the Democrat's position rather than the Republican's, but this may not be long lasting."
Still, Mark and many other analysts say it's clear the Republicans have a fundamental problem: a growing base of predominantly white voters while the nation becomes more ethnically diverse.
"That is a group of voters that's getting smaller and smaller and they can no longer write off the people who live in cities, the people of color, the people of a certain age," said KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank. "And a day of reckoning is coming for the Republican party because their model for getting voters is inherently flawed at this point."
Romney captured just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, while John McCain took 31 percent in 2008. The Republicans also got trounced among women and young voters.
But Mark said he doesn't expect the GOP to dramatically change overnight.
"It's going to take a while. And the 2010 election showed if Republicans want to motivate, frankly white voters, they can still do so. It's tougher to do in a presidential race when you have so many people voting, but you can't dismiss that. White voters are still 72 percent of the electorate," he said.
In the meantime, things in Washington are seemingly unchanged with President Obama returning to the White House, Republicans maintaining control of the House and Democrats the Senate. Some predict four more years of gridlock and bitter partisan divide. But there is some precedent for compromise, such as President Clinton's second term when he begrudgingly crafted deals with the GOP led House before becoming embroiled in his impeachment scandal.
Still, Mark wouldn't be surprised if Obama simply tried to maneuver around Congress with executive orders and other procedural moves to push his agenda in his second term.
"I think that President Obama may try and do an end run around Congress wherever possible."
Mark does predict Congress and Obama will find a way to work together in the short term as the nation faces a so-called "fiscal cliff" of mandatory budget cuts that threaten to slash defense and social programs along with a looming two percent payroll tax hike if an agreement isn't reached by the end of the year.
"I believe they will get something done, but it's not going to be pretty because their activist bases won't allow it," Mark said. "They'll have to go into it kicking and screaming and having PR fights. So I think it's going to be right up to the deadline and then we'll get a deal that neither side really likes, but has to live with. I think it's the best we can hope for right now."
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