Students react to Obama re-election

UNA students participate in a voter rally Nov. 5 in the GUC. Students exhibited mixed reactions to the re-election of President Barack Obama.

by Staff Writer Luke Smith

President Barack Obama cruised to an easy re-election Nov. 6, defeating Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the conclusion of a race that was hotly contested throughout much of the year.

Obama won 332 Electoral College votes to Romney’s 206, winning every swing state except North Carolina. Democrats increased their majority in the Senate by two, while Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives.

While Obama retained the presidency, the question that remains at the political forefront is whether Congress will be able to rise above the partisan gridlock that has been a contentious issue in this year’s election cycle.

“It was probably the most progressive election that I’ve seen in this country; major strides for women and the LGBT community,” said UNA student Casey Bedingfield. “New Hampshire will have the country’s first all-woman delegation. I never thought I would see two states, Colorado and Washington, legalize recreational marijuana use.

“Democrats held firm control of the Senate. The changing demographic in this country will be something the Republican Party will have to come to terms with in 2016. I was excited to see Elizabeth Warren win the Massachusetts senate seat. I have a lot of friends who actually would love to see her run in 2016 for president.

“Health care reform is very important to me, and while it may not be perfect, the lack of an alternative offered by the Republican Party was not acceptable to me,” Bedingfield said.

UNA student Hunter Marks said he was pleased the president was re-elected.

“I voted to re-elect President Obama, and I support most of his decisions,” Marks said. “I believe an affordable health care system is needed. It allows me to have insurance through my parents for another four years, as well as stopping my aunt from being turned away based on pre-existing conditions.

“I’ve talked with many living overseas and in Canada who are perfectly happy with being able to be treated and not getting slammed with huge medical bills on their way out of the hospital. I support same-sex marriage, and I’m excited to hear it being legalized in Maine and Maryland.

“I also think Roy Moore is a prime example of why religion and politics should not mix, and I’m a little irritated to hear he was re-elected,” Marks said.

UNA student Andrew Finch said he was indifferent about the results.

“As a Libertarian, I really don’t care for either Obama or Romney, so I knew I probably wouldn’t like the results either way they went,” Finch said. “I’m just hoping that Obama doesn’t implement anything else like the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) in his second term.

“As for other things, I was disappointed that we didn’t vote to take the racist language out of the constitution. Also, I was disappointed that Roy Moore won against Vance, because I feel that Moore will judge things based on his Christian beliefs and the Bible and not on the Constitution,” he said.

UNA English adjunct professor Stephen Melvin commented on the broad aspects of the election.

“I think what the election showed us is that America is much more a center to center-left country than is often portrayed in the media,” Melvin said. “Groups like the Tea Party got an inordinate amount of coverage over the last few years, and living this deep in the South we sometimes get a skewed view of what the average American thinks. You saw not only a decisive win for President Obama but also some real victories in key states on issues such as same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana.

“Furthermore, in the down-ballot races there were a lot of key victories in places like Indiana and Missouri where it was once thought that the Democrats didn’t have a prayer. It seems pretty clear that the collective ideology of our nation is quite different from the broad brush strokes we sometimes see.”