Last week, America re-elected President Obama in a decisive victory believed to be the result of a coalition of women and non white voters and the unceasing efforts of a well trained and motivated get out the vote ground crew.
Professor Curtis Keys, an Austin native and political scientist also attributes Obama success to that coalition. “No doubt,” said Keys, “the single most element that led to Obama’s victory was the ground game: the sense of getting out the vote, door knocking, old fashion campaigning, and using the latest technology from social networks; Facebook etc.”
Professor Keys, an Austin High School graduate, currently teaches political science and history at Malcolm X College. As part of the Illinois Education Association and the National Education Association delegation to get out the vote, Keys traveled to Tallahassee, Fla. to work with the United Faculty of Florida, an NEA affiliate. The delegation did phone banking and canvassing.
“We were there the weekend before Election Day during early voting, and the lines were two to three blocks long and a four to five hour wait.” Keys said. “I see that as a man-made tactic to make it difficult for people to vote and a very efficient way to suppress the vote.”
In spite of the alleged nation-wide voter suppression efforts, Obama won Florida, one of the largest battleground states, netting him a final tally of 332 electoral votes, plus winning the popular vote of roughly 62,300,00 citizens, or 51 percent of the vote. He scored with 55 percent of the women vote; they comprise 54 percent of the total electorate.
Keys, like most political analysts, attribute Obama’s victory to the coalition which Keys describes as a strong reflection of contemporary America.
“We have to look at history and the past 40 years with the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Immigration Act of 1965, which did away with quotas in terms of who can come into the country. All that basically is reflective to the battles that were fought in the ’60s, and so today you see the diversity of the people who were eligible to vote, and they came out.”
The professor believed Obama would win reelection, but was cautiously optimistic.
“I felt that the president would win because of his message.” As a political analyst, Keys said he believes the president’s victory is a landslide and a mandate, “In looking at the last three years of his steadfastness in trying to get the economy going, and in the face of many, many obstacles, and obstructionism; it proved to be true, and yes he was able to get his message through and it resonated with the populous and he was reelected.”
Although the republicans still maintain control of the House of Representatives, Keys said, “the populous vote basically was for the president, so therefore, the population wants to see the business at hand get put forth, and we should support the president.”
Days after the election, Obama got busy by calling a meeting with the republicans to get to work on pulling the country together. Keys said he believes the President’s bipartisan efforts will be better received now that he has won by overwhelming support of the electorate.
Meeting with the republicans is a great step Keys said, “but it’s not different from what he did in 2009 when he reached across the aisle and was opposed, and of course we now know that was the republicans’ intention, to block him and make him a one-term (president), so hopefully we can see some type of movement this year. I think the people are not going to tolerate more of the same tactics that were used to block, block, block. People are basically fed up and they’re not going to tolerate it anymore.”
Of Obama’s legacy, Keys said, the president will be remembered for his perseverance and ability to withstand the opposition, and “of not losing sight focus of his agenda which is basically to make America stronger relative to economic, inclusiveness, education, etcetera.”