CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Billionaire Sheldon Adelson hates President Obama and Democratic Party ideals so much that he gave an astounding $52 million in an all-out attempt to defeat the current administration. Numerous other rich tycoons and corporations invested lesser fortunes, after the <I>Citizens United<P> ruling by Supreme Court conservatives let the wealthy try to buy elections.
Republican legislators in several states imposed obstacles to hinder voting by blacks, Latinos, oldsters, students, the handicapped and other less-affluent folks who generally vote Democratic. As a result, early voters were forced to stand in lines as long as seven hours in some battleground states.
Disgraced fundamentalist organizer Ralph Reed put millions of slanted "voter guides" into white evangelical churches to mobilize votes for Republican Mormon Mitt Romney. Aging evangelist Billy Graham bought full-page newspaper ads boosting Romney. Much of the born-again drive featured hostility to gays.
Far-right radio, Fox News and other conservative outlets relentlessly smeared America's first black president, calling him a socialist, a secret Muslim, a Kenya native, and worse. Ann Coulter called him a "retard." Sarah Palin mocked his "shuck-and-jive" style. Glen Beck said Obama has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Etc., etc.
Associated Press analyst David Espo called it "arguably the nastiest campaign in history."
In the end, all this expensive warfare failed. The Obama-Biden ticket captured more than 300 electoral votes, far more than needed, and also won the popular ballot total. Democrats made small gains in Congress. Some extreme right-wingers were defeated, hurrah.
Since Washington control remains unchanged -- Democratic White House and Senate, Republican House of Representatives -- various observers predict that bitter gridlock will continue to stymie beneficial actions. But we hope teamwork can grow. With this "nastiest" election over, with the pressure of vote-seeking reduced, it will be a blessing if sensible leaders genuinely seek compromises.
Many researchers say America's evolving demographics bode ill for the Republican Party and enhance the future for Democrats. The GOP remains a bastion of white male rural churchgoers, chief soldiers in the Tea Party movement, but that subgroup keeps shrinking.
Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders gradually are growing into large segments of the U.S. populace. Women keep gaining independence and economic clout. Secular Americans who seldom attend church are soaring. Gays are asserting their identity with less stigma. Urban residents are rising to outnumber rural folks. All these groups tend to be progressive and vote Democratic. They are the wave of the future.
Of course, politics can be unpredictable. Nobody can foresee all shifts of social trends. As for now, all we can say is thank heaven the billion-dollar 2012 battle is over -- and we're delighted by the presidential outcome.