|U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his election night victory rally in Chicago, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed|
The 2012 election season thundered to a close last night, with a decisive victory for President Barack Hussein Obama.
The Muslim Observer congratulates President Obama for his thumping majority, with wins in the electoral college and in the popular vote.
The president won convincingly in most if not all of the battleground states, including Ohio, Virginia,Michigan, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
As this is being written, the night after the election, Florida is still too close to call, but whatever the Florida result, the election was won by the president through his success in the other battleground states.
There are several important facts to note from this election. Number one, the demographic landscape has changed–unless a party is able to include Latinos, African Americans, and other minorities, it will not win. This election has shown how the population of the United States has shifted. This painful lesson has just been ground into the Republicans and it remains to be seen whether they will take it to heart.
Said Faiz Khan, Chair of the Pakistani Democratic Party of Michigan, â€œThe election of President Obama to a second term shows the fairness of elections in the United States.â€ Being as fair as it is, he said, other countries should follow it–this builds the faith of a lot of people in the system.
Ahmedullah Siddiqui argued that â€œhopefully the people have given Obama a chance for a second term that he will use wisely.â€
The 2008 election was followed by a frenzy of activity including stimulus actions, the building of â€œObamacare,â€ and much much more. In 2010 a backlash resulted in extremists flocking to Washington under the â€œTea Partyâ€ banner of the Republican party. In fact this Tea Party movement crested around 2010 and has begun to recede.
As evidence consider that this 2012 election has resulted in stunning defeats purging many of the most vitriolic anti-Muslim stooges from Congress, namely Rep. Allen West, from Florida, who had claimed that Islam was not a religion but a â€œtotalitarian theocratic political ideologyâ€ that is a â€œvery vile and vicious enemy.â€
Similarly, Florida State Rep. Adam Hasner (R) was defeated in his bid for the US congress. Hasner had co-hosted an event to entertain Dutch anti-Islami politician Geert Wilders (with Pamela Geller!).
In Illinois, Rep. Joe Walsh (R) was defeated in his re-election bid. He had earlier implied that a secret Islamic threat was lying in every nook and corner of the United States including his home district of Elk Grove, Addison, and Elk Grove.
In Arkansas, Rep. James McLean defeated a Republican challenger Charlie Fuqua who had advocated deporting all Muslims.
In Minnesota, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) lost his seat after having been a key supporter of Rep. Peter Kingâ€™s Inquisition against American Muslims.
Even one of the Tea Party superstars, Michelle Bachmann, once a Republican presidential primary frontrunner in the presidential campaign, faced a difficult challenge and was almost defeated.
And so in sum the 2012 elections marked a turning away from the extremism that has marked the Republican party since September 11, 2001.
There are other lessons to be learned from the 2012 elections. First, that the demographics of the country have shifted and are continuing to shift. Second, that the political landscape is changing. Third, that the Muslim vote (which was, in the interest of self-preservation decidedly anti-Republican) contributed significantly to the narrow margins in the swing states. Certainly Muslims voted in all of the swing states, for Obama, and contributed to the victories there.
A cautionary tale is that of Syed Taj, the Muslim in Michiganâ€™s 11th district who was left to rot by the Democratic Party. Taj, a Democrat, lost narrowly in a heavily Republican district in a unique electoral situation to an opponent, Kerry Bentivolio, who apparently has been repudiated by his own brother, has only Tea Party support, a reindeer farmer (not kidding) who has no particular successes in his life to recommend him to the august position he has secured himself.
The Democractic Party fuelled the Democrat in Michiganâ€™s first district and yet let Dr. Syed Taj fail to win, perhaps concluding his heavily Republican district was insurmountably red. This was to their own loss, as a television ad exposing the weaknesses of the extremist and flaky Bentivolio could have tilted the balance in the favor of the blue candidate who could then have benefitted the American Muslim community and the Democratic party at large.
But aside from the lower level races, the politicians and activists of the Muslim community were ecstatic regarding the reelection of Barack Obama.
Shahid Tahir, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Michigan, said â€œI am happy to see President Obama winning the electionâ€ and I have â€œa lot of expectations from him, especially in moving the country forward.â€
Dr. Inayat Lalani, Founding president of the Texas based American Muslim Democratic Caucus, said in response to a question about the Muslim participation in the election: â€œMuslims are playing the game on a level playing field and are now scoring–look at the election results and see how many bigots are out.â€
Dr. Aslam Abdullah, Editor in Chief of The Muslim Observer, said â€œThe 47 percent spoke and convinced an additional 3.4 percent that money cannot buy them and intimidation cannot restrain them. Now they are 50.4 per cent. The 48.1 percent forgot that America comprises blacks, Latinos, women, young, Muslims and and liberals and there are Protestants and Catholics, Jews and Mormons who identify with 47 percent.â€
Moon Khan, a local-level politician in Lombard Illinois (York Township Trustee, 2005 – 2012 and a candidate for the Village President of Lombard Illinois), summed up many of the sentiments and themes of the 2012 election:
â€œThe results of the recent election reflect the new emerging dynamics of America where Muslims can also play a role of a smooth piece of a large puzzle. The United States of America is no longer divided into two entities: Republicans and Democrats, blacks and whites, Catholics and Protestants, red and blue, white collars and blue collars, men and women, English speaking and non-English speaking, rich and poor, gay and straight, old and young. But this country is now a conglomeration of all of the above, including Muslims. Welcome to a New America, a real representative of all the humanities.â€