Obama’s election validates diverse nation

By C. Nicole Mason, November 14, 2012

The re-election of President Obama proves that America is no longer a country just for white men.

To win the White House, any candidate will need women, blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, middle- and working-class people, gays and other people the Republican Party has dismissed for far too long.

Increasingly, white men make up a smaller part of the American electorate. Although they turned out for Mitt Romney in respectable numbers, it still was not enough to carry him across the finish line.

Women turned out in record numbers not only to defeat anti-women candidates such as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock and a flip-flopping Mitt Romney but also to put a record number of women in office. New Hampshire made history by sending the first all-woman congressional delegation to Washington, and a record 20 women will serve in the U.S. Senate, including Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator elected to office.

Although blacks still face double-digit unemployment and Latinos are still waiting on the immigration reform promised in 2008, they voted overwhelming for Barack Obama. In fact, seven out of 10 Latinos supported the president’s bid for re-election.

If the Republican Party wants to remain competitive, it will have to come to grips with an increasingly diverse electorate. It will have to figure out how to genuinely connect with individuals on the issues they care about most. Here’s a hint: These issues have nothing to do with Russia or Iran or tax cuts for millionaires.

For Obama’s part, he must deliver on immigration reform and continue to rebuild the economy.

If he can do that, he may be creating a governing coalition for years to come.

C. Nicole Mason is an assistant research professor and the executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She can be reached at pmproj@progressive.org.