To say that the U.S. is more divided than ever has become a cliché.
The country has been largely divided down the middle ever since Ronald Reagan's runaway victories in the 1980 and 1984 elections, when the Republican candidate won respectively 44 and 49 out of the 50 U.S. states. What Americans call "a landslide" victory has not occurred in any of the subsequent seven elections.
The winner is increasingly the candidate who manages to get minorities and moderates vote for him. Every year, Latinos, African-Americans and Asians – the largest and loudest minorities in the country – as well as young urban professionals and moderates, are peeling off crucial percentages of votes from the aging white majority.
In 2012, Barack Obama won the support of these specific groups of voters in the critical "swing states," despite losing ground in nearly every demographic group compared to the 2008 election.
Latinos contributed to the Democrats' victories in Colorado and possibly in Florida. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, for example, youth turnout, enhanced by the work of canvassers, tilted the balance toward Obama.
Latinos and African-Americans account for 23% of the U.S. electorate. In this year's election, Republican candidate Mitt Romney received only 23% of the Latino vote, compared to 31% for John McCain in 2008 and 40% for George W. Bush in 2004.
Don't forget women
Women represent 53% of the U.S. electorate. Yesterday, they contributed to the record election of 20 women senators out of 100 seats, and Democrat Maggie Hassan won the race for governor of New Hampshire.
Moderates represent 41% of the U.S. electorate, while 25% of the voters describe themselves as liberals and 35% as conservatives. Among moderates, Obama did better than Romney, winning 56% of their votes, while the Republican candidate only got 41%.
Yet the Republicans continue to aim their message at anxious white men, their perennial target audience. Just like Brazil's Social Democracy Party, they hope that a young country will embrace an old party, and not the other way around.
Tuesday's disappointment for the Republicans was reinforced by the loss of two seats in the Senate and three in the House of Representatives. Moreover, it is important to note that the number of representatives from the Tea Party, the radical right wing of the GOP, has dropped from 60 to only 49.
As Republicans adopted their extreme discourse during the party primaries, they lost the center. Ignoring minorities ensured defeat in the general election.
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