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Election Night Recap: Onward And Forward

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Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
The Political Social Worker

It was a big election night as well as a late one.  President Barack Obama, having won a second term in office, did not make a victory speech until after 1am (EST).  The President took California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Main, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virgina, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin giving him 303 electoral votes (270 is needed to win) to Romney’s 206.  Florida’s twenty-nine electoral votes are still too close to call.  Regardless of what happens in the Sun Shine State President Obama has won by a large margin.  A far cry from what political analyst projected.

Over the past several weeks polls and political pundits predicted that this was going to be a close election with some even suggesting we would not know the results for days.  Instead it was over with by 11pm when battleground state Ohio went blue.  At first Governor Romney was reluctant to concede, which suggested his team may try to contest the Ohio results.  But by midnight it was clear that they had no legitimate means to do so and Romney finally called The President to congratulate him and offer his concession.

Last night we saw all five Congressional Social Workers who were up for reelection retain their seats.  Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) won with 58.3% of the vote.  Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) was reelected by a landslide with 86.2% of the vote.  She will become the new Chair of the Congressional Social Work Caucus this January after Rep. Ed Towns retires.  Her fellow Californian, Democrat Susan Davis won with a 60.4% share returning her to the U.S. House of Representatives.  Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) also won in a landslide receiving 83.3% of the vote.  Finally Rep.  Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) won with 68.8%.

It was also an excellent election night for equality.  A record number of women have won seats in the U.S. Senate and New Hampshire is now completely run at the federal level by women officials.  Openly gay Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) won reelection and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) became the first out lesbian U.S. Senator.  While I think it is wrong to allow the electorate to vote on citizens civil rights, I am happy to report that Maryland, Main, and Washington voted in favor of same-sex marriage and Minnesotans defeated a ballot that would define marriage as being between a man and a women.  Finally, let us not forget that President Obama became the first sitting president to come out in support of marriage equality; a move that four years ago was still seen as political suicide, even for a Democrat.

Now we must heed President Obama’s call to keep working.  We made great strides last night, but we can not rest on our laurels. We must help our President to do the work that needs to be done to make this country stronger and more just.

Rachel L. West is the Founder of the Political Social Worker, a blog dedicated to macro social work and politics. She holds a BA in History from SUNY Stony Brook and an MSW from Adelphi University. She is a community outreach and engagement specialist. Rachel resides in New York State, and she is available as a consultant and coach. You can find out more about Rachel at The Political Social Worker at (politicalsocialworker.org).

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