For the second time in four years the U.S. electorate has voted against neoliberalism. The scale and the meaning of the victory has been underestimated as conservatives and liberals alike emphasize the vote count for the Democrats and the Republicans. Roughly 61,900,000 people voted for Obama and 58,650,000 chose Romney. The apparent proximity of these numbers should not obscure other understandings of the victory.
First, Obama resoundingly won the Electoral College vote. In the U.S. system there are 538 Electoral College votes that are apportioned to various states on the basis of their population. For example, California is the most populous state in the United States and holds 55 Electoral College votes, more than any other state in the country. In general -- apart from a few exceptions -- when a candidate wins the highest percentage of the votes in a state, then he or she wins all of its Electoral College votes. In 2008 Obama won 365 Electoral College votes while in 2012 -- after four years of minimal success against the worst economic crisis in 70 years -- Obama won 332. The only states that he lost -- in comparison to his winning coalition of 2008 -- were two traditionally Republican states: North Carolina and Indiana. To highlight the significance of Obama's numbers one can compare them to George W. Bush's victories: in 2000 Bush won 271 Electoral College votes and in 2004 he garnered 286. Obama's victory was decisive and far more impressive than the credit it has received from either side of the political spectrum.
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