By Steve Mathew
On Tuesday, November 6, multitudes of Americans went out to choose the president of the country.
Obama won the electoral vote with 332 votes — of the 270 electoral votes needed — against Romney’s 206 votes.
The winner of the Electoral College always wins the election. However, the popular vote, which measures the number of people who voted, gave Obama a stark 51 percent versus a 48 percent for Mitt Romney.
Unlike the overall U.S. population, a substantial majority of students at Lehman support the Democrats. A survey of 56 students in three separate classes revealed that only one student voted for Romney.
This is easy to understand since most students at Lehman are commuters who live in New York City, which overwhelmingly supported Obama with more than 70 percent of the population in every borough — except Staten Island — voting Democratic.
“I always expected Obama to win. I had no doubts,” said freshman Cristian Acosta. Some others were also not surprised.
Cecibell Lowe, a junior, said, “I am excited for [Obama’s reelection]. I expected it. Romney blew his chances. He alienated the minority. The minority is soon going to become the majority. He appealed to the shrinking white population.”
Some, like sophomore Tim Migliore, were not so sure about Obama’s victory. “I was cautiously optimistic,” Migliore said. “The media over-hyped everything. They made it seem like it was very close.”
Many students supported Obama for his policies. “His health care bill allows us parents’ insurance until we are 26 years old. A lot of us don’t have our own income source,” said Migliore.
Professor Dinsmore Campbell, a lecturer in the Political Science Department, said that Romney lost because “the Republican primaries forced him to go extreme.” He said that Romney’s position on topics such as immigration were in the extreme right and he had not enough time to go back to the center.
“He also never had a big donor first,” Campbell said. “Indirectly, Obama won because [of the] rich guys that helped Santorum and Gingrich. They shot themselves in the foot.”
Another major reason why Romney lost is because the Republican stance on abortion. While Romney did not support banning abortions, the comments made by party members like Todd Akin definitely hurt his campaign. “Legitimate rape [is] politics of 100 years ago,” Campbell said.
The demographic changes in the U.S. population were also significant. “Obama’s coalition was much more diverse,” said Campbell. While Romney was depending on the white vote, specifically from white males, “Obama won more than two-thirds of Asian and Hispanic vote,” Campbell said.
In terms of economic policy, Campbell said that wealth has not trickled down, there is no demand for products, and there’s a shrinking middle class. “Republicans did not have an agenda. They were hoping that the electorate would be tired of Obama,” Campbell said.
Migliore agrees. “While Romney backtracked from asking [for] self-deportation of immigrants, once he said that kind of aggressive language, he lost a lot of people. He lost Cubans and Dominicans. He lost Florida.”
Obama’s personality also energized some of the base. Reyes said, “I appreciate [Obama]. He’s so personable. He relates to people. He will inspire us all to change, and it will happen one person at a time.”
Most of these sentiments, however, will depend on Obama’s performance in the next four years. “Hopefully, there will be a continuation of Obama’s politics,” said Lowe, who also wishes for the passage of the DREAM Act, which will give undocumented students a path toward permanent residence.
Others were more cynical. Reyes, who supports Obama, looked at the economy holistically and said, “The economy will not get better in four years. I don’t think he can change the trillions of dollars of debt.”
“Hopefully, the economy should be back to normal,” said Migliore, more optimistic. “It will be great if he can balance the budget and raise taxes on the rich.”
Sophomore Alison Wong said, “Everything’s going to be the same as the previous four years. There were some important bills that Obama helped pass, but I don’t see any drastic changes taking place.”
Wong’s thoughts might have some relevance especially in light of the fact that the House of Representatives is still controlled by Republicans, while the Senate has a small Democratic majority.