Obama and the next four years
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Despite months of an unrelenting onslaught of infighting, fundraising, negative advertising and gaffes, with scrutiny focusing in on the three electorally vital swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Florida, America has given an almost identical result to the one it gave the world four years ago. It wasn’t nearly as emphatic as 2008, with just around 2% separating the two candidates in the popular vote, but with only Indiana and North Carolina ceding to the Republicans, Obama crossed the magic 270 electoral vote line relatively comfortably. The gloss from Obama’s historic election has peeled away over the past four years from a President who has had an almost impossible task in uniting a country that is ever increasingly polarized. He promised a change in tone from the bi-partisan divides that have shaped Washington and to reach across the aisle to Republicans in order to aid America’s recovery. The Republicans weren’t quite as welcoming to the idea, meaning that when they regained the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-terms, they brought legislation passage to a standstill. While the Democrats have an improved position in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the House still remains in Republican hands due to the unusual habit of split-ticket voting amongst the American electorate. It leaves Obama with a tricky second term in which his legacy will be decided by the pace of the economic recovery, the implementation of his healthcare plan and also by the doctrine he adopts in foreign policy after an unexpectedly hawkish first term, while immigration is expected to come to the fore in his plans for domestic reform.
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