In my humble opinion, the biggest news coming out of the election last night was not Ohio. Instead, the polling results coming out of Virginia, that heavily favored Obama early in the evening, set the tone for the entire night. The story of what happened in Virginia exemplifies where our politics in this country now stand. Obama’s repeat victory in the Old Dominion underscores what was probably the biggest factor in the 2012 election: demographics.
For our regular readers, especially those who read our Red State, Blue State report back in July, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Ohio, Florida, and other swing states are used to the attention and have been “purple” for a long time now. Obama’s repeat victory in Virginia, however, a state that has voted consistently for Republican presidential candidates before 2008, is really big news. More than anything else, Obama’s victory in Virginia means that 2008 wasn’t a fluke, but rather represented a fundamental political realignment in the country.
That realignment is bad news for Republicans. The Republican party has serious demographic problems. Virginia’s shifting demographics, like that of the nation, have been dramatic in just the last few decades with Hispanics and Asians driving most population growth and changes in the electorate. Republicans have had considerable difficulty gaining the votes of these groups. In Virginia, most of the influx and growth in Hispanic and Asian populations is occurring around the Washington D.C. suburbs in Northern Virginia (NoVa). It was therefore not surprising that NoVa was the focus of the national news media, and results from that region look more like those from 2008 than from 2004.