Watch the entire speech: "The best is yet to come"
President Barack Obama was re-elected Tuesday night after a long and grueling campaign against Republican opponent Mitt Romney. He was declared the winner at 8:13 pm PT.
Obama won the Electoral College handily, according to preliminary results.
The President crafted together a strong base on the liberal West Coast and Northeast, and won critical swing states of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia and Minnesota. It is now clear that Obama's declaration in support of marriage equality and LGBT rights did not harm his re-election chances.
Romney, arguably the biggest flip-flopper on issues in the history of American politics, surged from far behind in the polls on the strength of one solid debate – the first one on Oct. 3 – in which Obama looked listless, tired and disinterested. Obama rebounded, however, and decisively won the two final debates, and Vice President Joe Biden hammered GOP veep candidate Paul Ryan in their only debate on Oct. 11.
The Republicans failed in their bid to recapture the majority in the U.S. Senate, and they lost seats but managed to hold on to the U.S. House, where GOP lawmakers for the past four years fought tooth and nail to obstruct the Obama Administration’s political agenda.
So the election hardly moved the nation forward, and essentially was an endorsement of the status quo. The Republicans will still control the House, though by a smaller margin, and is expected to keep the current leadership of Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Harry Reid (D-Nevada) will likely continue as Senate Majority Leader, where he will continue to battle the conservative agenda of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
Without a strong mandate from voters, Obama will continue to have to govern from the middle to accomplish his goals.
LGBT Americans voted overwhelmingly for Obama, who has been hailed as the most gay-friendly President in history. Some pollsters credited LGBT voters for helping to push Obama over the top in key swing states.
The LGBT community holds out hope that Obama in his second term, freed from the concerns of having to get re-elected, will push for the repeal of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and lead the effort to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to protect LGBT workers.
“As millions of Americans celebrate President Obama’s reelection tonight, the LGBT community is particularly elated to send the most pro-equality president ever back to the White House for a second term. There is no doubt that we will continue to see tremendous progress toward full equality like we’ve made during his first four years," said Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign president.
“While some pundits predicted the President’s support for marriage equality would hinder his campaign, we know the opposite is true. President Obama’s historic and heartfelt declaration that all loving and committed couples should be able to marry further rallied millions of voters and sparked conversations that advanced marriage campaigns around the country. His reelection after expressing support for marriage equality is further proof that the momentum is on the side of marriage for all families," he said.
“With our Ally-in-Chief back in the White House, we look forward to working with him on a host of issues including addressing workplace non-discrimination and expanding federal benefits to same-sex couples,” Griffin said.
Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, was also thrilled with Obama's re-election.
"In reelecting President Obama, the American people chose a candidate who strongly and explicitly supports the freedom to marry -- and rejected a challenger who had opposed the freedom to marry and criticized every step the president has taken to end discrimination against loving and committed gay couples and their families. Far from hurting President Obama, his support for the freedom to marry undoubtedly galvanized his base and independents, delivering the turn-out that carried him to victory. The president's reelection further reflects and accelerates the momentum for marriage, which Freedom to Marry will transform into more victories in 2013," Wolfson said.
"As we grow support in Congress and create a climate of encouragement around the Supreme Court, we look forward to working with President Obama and other supporters across the political spectrum to advance our Roadmap to Victory national strategy for winning marriage nationwide: joining together to enlarge and diversify the majority for marriage, win the freedom to marry in more states, and overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act that discriminates against legally married couples," he said.
Obama emails supporters
Here is the email that Obama sent to his supporters shortly after his re-election was declared:
I'm about to go speak to the crowd here in Chicago, but I wanted to thank you first.
I want you to know that this wasn't fate, and it wasn't an accident. You made this happen.
You organized yourselves block by block. You took ownership of this campaign five and ten dollars at a time. And when it wasn't easy, you pressed forward.
I will spend the rest of my presidency honoring your support, and doing what I can to finish what we started.
But I want you to take real pride, as I do, in how we got the chance in the first place.
Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests.
There's a lot more work to do.
But for right now: Thank you.
Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.