Despite a major drop in voter turnout, the country decided to re-elect Barack Obama. The elitist, unpopular, and highly unpredictable Mitt Romney, who presented no concrete agenda on job growth or deficit reduction, lost 10 of 11 swing states. More importantly, Romney lost the popular vote by nearly 3.4 million ballots.
One week after his re-election, Obama remains the leader of a divided country and a divided Congress. According to NPR, NBC, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, and George Washington University, Obama’s approval rating is identical to his disapproval rating – just 49 percent.
And it certainly hasn’t been a pretty week for the president. The news-dominating scandal of David Petraeus just keeps getting uglier. The gist of it is clear: Obama’s CIA director resigned in disgrace after admitting to an extramarital affair with his biographer.
Meanwhile, the greatest benefactors of Obamacare, the evil managed-care insurance companies, had stocks soar after Obama’s re-election. But the rest of the stock market plummeted, increasing fears that Obama is bad for banks, energy companies, and defense contractors.
But more importantly than all that bad news for Obama is the growing push for immigration reform. After a more-than-expected Latino voter boost, Obama has failed to lay out a much-needed shift in his immigration agenda. Instead, he’s ignored growing criticism from immigrant rights groups.
Obama’s White House budget allocates more for deportations than any other president in history. In fact, his administration spent more money on deportations than was spent in the 16 years of the Clinton and Bush presidencies combined.
As a result, millions of immigrants have been deported. The Obama administration’s strict deportation quotas have, in only four years, made him responsible for more deportations than any other president in history. Everyone from Forbes magazine to the equal rights non-profit American Principals in Action have labeled the president as the “Deporter-in-Chief.”
Leighton Woodhouse, the co-founder of Dog Park Media, wrote an article in the Huffington Post this week claiming Obama is out of excuses on immigration. His vote of confidence from Latino voters, Woodhouse argued, was an endorsement of his deportations, justified as him “just doing what he has to do to appease the Republican anti-immigrant zealots in order to set the table for comprehensive reform.”
If that comprehensive reform does not come soon, immigrant voters will be out of patience, and they will take to the streets. They will protest in much larger numbers than Occupy Wall Street, if need be. Most Latino Americans want immigration reform now, and they are more than ready to turn out in 2006-like numbers onto the streets of D.C., L.A., New York, and Phoenix.
As for the deficit, Obama has failed to specify about cuts. Instead, Moody’s is predicting him to invest in building the dangerously expensive keystone pipeline. As a result, environmentalists are reeling, planning a mass protest at the White House.
In 2008, Obama promised massive military spending cuts. Instead, he’s laid out, according to the government’s official statistics, the biggest military budget in American history. If he fails to cut the military budget again, and again fails to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires, then the deficit will continue to grow.
As America approaches another fiscal cliff, corporations are expressing doubt in Congress to make a deal. As Newsweek put it this week, “Remarks by re-elected President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on the looming deadline didn’t do much to cheer the market.” Barclays, for instance, cut its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,325 from 1,395, saying “there is little basis to believe a grand compromise is in the offing.”
As for his gay rights policies, Obama has claimed he’s not interested in pushing for gay marriage in his second term. This could leave the decision up to the Supreme Court, which is expected to determine if same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in June.
So, Obama has a lot on his plate as usual. He needs to set forth an agenda on immigration, gay rights, military spending, the deficit, climate change, and much more or he’s at risk of abandoning his base and damaging his legacy.
The country has given him a second chance. And the new American electorate of immigrants, gays, environmentalists, and anti-war liberals are hoping change will finally come to America.