IMHO, the major takeaways from this election:
First, this was a landslide. It will hopefully stem any Rethuglican desire to contest the election. After all, when you get your ass solidly handed to you in a decisive and clear smackdown, it's best not to look like a sore loser.
Second, Obama knew something the McCain campaign didn't: The demographics of America are changing. A national candidate can no longer ignore non-white voters and expect to get elected. And it's about goddamned time. We can talk about how this is "a black thing" but let's not forget that 62% of Asians went Obama, a similarly large percentage of Latinos went Obama...and...not the least of which a large number (though not a majority) of whites went Obama. Obama won because he put this all together. Look at the 2004 Bush victory map compared to last night's: America is a different place. The "real America" is the one reflected in last night's vote. McCain completely missed the mark, making Joe the Plumber his American Everyman. He may be, but so are Cho the Plumber and Roberto the Investment Banker. Non-whites are not all poor immigrants. They are as American and middle class as you and me--and Joe the inescapable and unavoidable plumber.
On the topic of the 96% of African-Americans who voted for Obama, let me say this: certainly some may have voted for the historic nature of a black president. But let's get real; they didn't come out in droves for Jesse Jackson or Alan Keyes. The majority of black Americans are already Democrats, so it's not like they voted against their own belief systems just to vote for a black man. Rather than--as the WSJ wants to do--make this about blacks voting for blacks (forgetting that blacks have been voting for whites since blacks got the damn vote), the WSJ and the Republican Party should be asking why more African-Americans are not Republicans. The answer, they already know. So do you and I. How do you allow rallies for your Vice-Presidential candidate to devolve into shouts of "N***er!" and expect a single black person to want to support you? How do multiple videos of your supporters outside your rallies show them openly admitting that they will never vote for "a black," without any protest from the candidates running? Rather than getting all up in the face of black people who voted for a candidate who happens to be biracial (FYI, he's NOT "mixed race" as the WSJ called him today. Hellooo?! Is this 1963? He's a product of "race mixing?" It's "biracial" and "multiracial." But again, the fact that "mixed race" made it past the WSJ editors shows how much they Just Don't Get It), they should be asking themselves what they have done to deserve a single Black or Asian or Latino vote. What has the party done to make itself inclusive? Perhaps what they need is more "race mixing," huh?
The generational divide is clear, and not necessarily based on voter age, but rather state of mind. Obama is a post-civil rights, post-Boomer president. The torch has been passed to him by and for those who don't want to fight all those old battles and who don't respond to old-timey divisive rhetoric (except for all those Southern states that went for McCain...). I'm not sure about your family, but mine is interracial, so anything that smells like calling someone not a "real" American or allowing racism against any group to flourish at a rally is an absolute dealbreaker for me. My family is, I believe, where America is headed. How many interracial (not just black/white) marriages do you know? How many "mixed race" (I'll stop saying it as soon as I can say it without the Orval Faubus accent) kids have they produced? How many of your family members or friends happen to be gay? Do you want to live in an America where they are seen as somehow a cancer on the country's values? I sure don't, and I sure as hell won't vote for someone whose party says so via its "base."
And on the issue of governing: President Obama is going to have to be an effing GREAT president because we know that when you are a minority you have to be twice as great to be considered half as good. An adequate President Obama will be a massive failure. Nothing less than Jackie Robinson/Jesse Owens stuff will do. But no pressure, Barry!
Another thought on the race issue: Bambina doesn't get race or ethnicity yet, only skin color. She knows that her skin is brown and that Obama's is browner. I didn't vote for Obama because he's biracial, but it's a bonus as much as I'm not supposed to say that in the interests of political correctness. But hear me out. Growing up it never once occurred to me to question the notion that People In Charge Look Like Me. They just always did. Imagine growing up where that is not the case. I am hopeful for the day when a brown-skinned person in the White House is seen by my daughter as no big deal and obvious, much as my generation views interracial dating and gay marriage as seriously no big deal. She's only 4, but she's not stupid. She gets that she's brown; she gets that he's brown and his two little brown girls (and a puppy, mama!) will be in the White House. If you're white and not inclined to think about stuff like this you don't get why it matters. But believe me, it matters. It matters. It matters.
And finally, I hope what this election says is the following: Let it never be said in these amazing United States of America that having hope for a better country and a better tomorrow has to be synonymous with the cynical notion of having "drunk the kool-aid." There are so many reasons I supported President-Elect Obama. A key one was his statement that, "in no other country on earth is my story possible." I happen to feel the same way, every day. And no one is going to tell me that that is drinking the Kool-Aid, folks. Where I come from that's called patriotism. Here in Real America.