By Chris Cillizza
The Washington Post
President Barack Obama won a second sweeping national victory Tuesday, far exceeding the electoral vote expectations that many had projected for him and proving that the coalition that he built in 2008 (young people, African-Americans, Hispanics) is durable and sustaining.
While his impressive victory makes Obama the big winner of the night (and, consequently, Mitt Romney the big loser), there were plenty of other bests — and worsts — from election night.
Women: Women comprised 53 percent of the total national vote — as they did in 2008 — and went for Obama by 11 points, a gender gap critical to his victory. Female politicians — particularly on the Democratic side — also had a very good night. The Senate added Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Heidi Heitkamp to its ranks while re-electing potential 2016-ers Kirstin Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) In New Hampshire, women ruled the day — electing a new governor (Maggie Hassan) and two new House Members (Carol Shea Porter and Ann Kuster). Add Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Jeanne Shaheen (D) to that mix and you have an all female congressional delegation from the Granite State.
Jim Messina, Joel Benenson and the entire Obama senior strategic team: Messina, the campaign manager, and Benenson, the campaign’s pollster, as well as the rest of the Obama campaign’s top political aides, deserve a massive amount of credit for what they pulled off on Tuesday night. They helped to re-elect a president with an economic headwind the likes of which few politicians would have been unable to run into. They did so with an unwavering belief that the race would be more a choice about which of the two candidates understood average voters’ concerns than a referendum on the president’s policies. They did so with massive infrastructure in swing states and an unswerving commitment of time (and lots and lots and lots) of money in places like Virginia and Florida that few people believed Obama could or would win again in 2012. They did so by recreating the demographic coalition — minorities, women, young voters — that many people said couldn’t be recreated after the 2008 election. Simply a strategic master class from beginning to end.