The presidential election that has been called historic, close and a turning point ended in a decisive re-election victory for President Barack Obama.
Mr. Obama won 303 electoral votes to Mitt Romneys 206, with Floridas 29 electoral votes still undetermined Wednesday. By one count, the president gathered 59,583,302 votes or about 50 percent of the popular vote, while Mr. Romney, the Republican challenger, received 56,960,530 or 48 percent.
Yet the split in voting revealed a strongly divided nation. The popular vote margins in most of the battleground states that the Democratic president won were not landslides far from it.
The red state-blue state divide is still vivid. Mr. Obama won the Northeast, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, the Upper Midwest and the West Coast. Mr. Romney prevailed in the South, the Great Plains and most of the interior West.
Besides electing President Obama to a second term, Americans voted to keep a strong Republican majority in the U.S. House and a solid Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.
Thus, we have divided government that must find a way forward. Bitter partisanship has hobbled Washington these past years, but President Obama, the Republican-majority House and the Democratic-led Senate need to tackle the pressing issues confronting the nation.
There is the fiscal cliff that, left unresolved, will adversely affect every worker in America. The economy is still stalled, unemployment high. The presidents health care program must be implemented, but how? There is much uncertainty.
President Obama has four more years to bring the nations leaders together as he pledged to do from the beginning. Republican leaders who wished to limit the president to one term will incur the nations wrath if they take an obstructionist tack. There must be some horse trading in the countrys best interests. Gridlock is not an option.
The Republican Party cannot continue its rightward drift. Mitt Romney, a centrist at heart, ran a vigorous campaign, but was forced to the right to win the primary. To win the presidency and make gains in the Senate, future Republican candidates must be willing to govern from the center.
Every national election teaches us something about America and how it is changing. Tuesdays vote with its changing demographics of political influence was no exception. But politics is a means to an end people are elected for a reason, and that is to govern responsibly to the best of their abilities. That involves working with rivals as well as allies. It is hard, and necessary.