By Luke Visconti
This time, it wasn’t about the excitement of “hope” and “change.” It was a campaign that seemed to me to be rather uninspiring and visionless, in the middle of a searing, aching, endless recession that is destroying more household wealth than anything in 80 years. And in who won lies a lesson for business.
This election was about diversity. As I watched John King go over the election map on CNN the night of the election, it was clear to me that there were key counties in key states that were going to determine the electoral college—and that diversity was determining the trends overall as well. Of the nine battleground states, the President Obama lost only North Carolina.
If you look at who voted for each candidate, the demographics shaped up as older and whiter versus younger and multiethnic. I think Neil King’s analysis in the above video is exactly right. One amazing number is that Asian voters went from 2 percent of the total votes four years ago to 3 percent on Tuesday—but almost 75 percent of Asians voted for the president. In the end, youth will win over age and our country will become more than 50 percent nonwhite by 2043. (This year was the first time there were more nonwhite births than white births.) What most people fail to comprehend is that the rising trend influences the declining demographic: As families become more diverse, as recognition and respect of LGBT relatives becomes a part of more family realities, as the less-diverse old realize they need to have the support of the more-diverse young to pay for their Medicare, the demographic shift becomes a seismic psychographic shift.
Going beyond just the presidential race, there were remarkable wins for women candidates and same-gender marriage initiatives, and stunning, complete losses for male candidates who decided their opinions on rape and pregnancy were important to discuss. This election is a clear mandate from the voters.
Here are major victories to note:
Women Candidates Elected at Historic Numbers
At least 19 women will occupy seats in Congress, increasing the total number of women by 12 percent (from 17 to 19). This marks a new high in United States history.
Women that won reelection were: Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.). Deb Fischer (Neb.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) will join the Senate. Additionally, according to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers, about half of all Senate races had at least one female candidate.
- Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren Win: Record Number of Women Running in Election 2012
- Women In Senate: 2012 Election Ushers In Historic Number Of Female Senators
- Exit Polls: Obama’s Winning Coalition of Women and Non-Whites
- ‘War on women’ may have helped Democrats; Senate has record number of women
- Another year of the woman
Openly Gay Candidates Gain Seats in Senate & House
It was a landmark election for LGBT candidates, as seven of the eight running for seats won. Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the Senate; two openly gay Congressmen (Jared Polis of Colo. and David Cicilline of R.I.) won reelection; and as many as four other first-time candidates—including openly bisexual Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—could be sworn in come January.
- Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin is first openly gay person elected to Senate
- Mark Pocan will be next openly-LGBT member of Congress
- New York sends openly gay candidate to U.S. Congress
- Openly gay Congressman Jared Polis cruises to re-election in Colorado
- Out Congressman David Cicilline re-elected in Rhode Island
- Openly gay Asian American first LGBT person of color in U.S. Congress
- Sinema widens lead, but CD9 race remains too close to call
Same-Sex Marriage and LGBT Rights
Referendums showed that voters are ready for a change, as attitudes toward same-sex marriage begin to shift.
- Election 2012: Same-sex marriage passes in Maryland, Maine
- LIVE BLOG: 2012 election results important to LGBT Americans
- Gay Rights Groups — Mostly — Celebrate Obama’s Re-Election
President Obama’s win means that the Affordable Care Act should stand.
- Obamacare survives — now what?
- Culturally Competent Care: How Diversity Creates Better Patient Outcomes
‘Legitimate Rape,’ ‘God Intended Pregnancy,’ & Other Male Politician Gaffes
These male politicians decided to make rape and abortion “their” issues—and they suffered at the polls.
- Analysis: Todd Akin can blame his own words for Senate race loss
- Donnelly triumphs over Mourdock in Indiana Senate race
Lack of Diversity in Mainstream Press
For more on the election and a look back at the candidates’ campaigns, read DiversityInc’s coverage: