[This is the second of two alternative "future histories" of the Presidential campaign of 2012 and its aftermath. See this section of the other one.]
New York Times On-Line, 11:45 p.m., November 6, 2012
President Barack Obama swept to a commanding election victory tonight, with white "Reagan Democrats" joining all other major parts of the electorate in giving him a solid majority in most of the country.
At what Democratic Party officials dubbed "New Majority Central," relief that pre-election Presidential polls were borne out was mixed with much more excitement over prospects for small gains in the House and Senate. Many in the multiracial, multicultural crowd were muttering that "True 60" was within reach -– 60 Senators with a strong commitment to the Democratic Party's program, not counting Blue Dogs.
The atmosphere at Republican Party headquarters was colored by rage rather than sadness or resignation. By 11 p.m, even as every major news source announced that Obama had been reelected, former Governor and Presidential candidate Sarah Palin refused to issue a concession statement.
In a fiery speech to her supporters, she said, "Across the country, we have reports that in big cities, people who for years have been bribed with money from Washington for make-work non-jobs were bribed again, right out and open on the street to vote for Barack Hussein Osama – not once but five, six, seven times.
"Fake voters and phony Americans stole this election for their fake President and phony American, who arranged these bribes and packed the polling places with the help of ACORN.
"They stole this election from the real America!"
Supporters began to chant, "Take America back, take America back!"
Practically all observers date the President's reelection today and the Democratic Party's victory in the Congressional election of 2010 to the "Miracle Month" of January 2010.
Just a week after the hard-fought passage of the health-care reform bill, Mr. Obama called a news conference to announce two resignations of key people in his economic team: Treasury Secretary Geithner was replaced by Robert Reich who had been Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, and chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers was replaced by Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize economist and columnist for the New York Times.
Both newcomers had been demanding more vigorous action to create jobs. Mr. Obama announced that his previous economic team had come to him to say they had over-estimated the employment effect of the Stimulus bill passed by Congress almost a year before. At the time, they had predicted unemployment would drop to 8% by December 2009. Instead, it rose to 11%.
The President explained to the news media, "They told me they thought a new team would be necessary to take the steps that now clearly seem indicated. I honor them for the deep thought and hard work they invested that saved the world economy from utter disaster, and I honor them as well for their decision to step aside for new approaches to begin."
That night, Mr. Obama went on national television to announce he was calling on Congress to pass three urgently needed laws: the Act to Renew American Jobs and Infrastructure; the Living Wage and Livable Hours Act; and the Home Owners Protection Effort, or HOPE.
The first appropriated $200 billion to repair and rebuild decaying bridges, highways, railroads, and sewer systems and to staff neighborhood schools, health clinics, libraries, and cultural centers across the country.
The second reduced the normal work week to 32 hours and raised the national minimum wage to $14.50 an hour, enough to bring a family of four with one worker up to the poverty line.
The third halted all home foreclosures and set up special courts to oversee mortgage revisions.
Debate in Congress was intense, and most major print and TV voices of news and opinion opposed the two bills as damaging to business , but Mr. Obama mobilized his campaign email list as a powerful lobby force.
After some compromises, the bills passed. Job levels starting rapidly climbing in September 2010, just in time to affect the Congressional election and add slightly to the Democratic majority in both houses.
Meanwhile, on the last day of January Mr. Obama in a major speech at West Point announced a peace agreement with large parts of the Taliban, including staged reductions in US troops, cooperation to end terrorist attacks, and close work with regional Taliban on grass-roots economic development. The new strategy, like the Jobs Bills, was greeted with whoops of joy from his supporters and sighs of relief from most of the country.
The two initiatives, at home and abroad, found grass-roots support in the Rust Belt and in small towns with high jobless rates, but sparked a wave of fury from many in the Republican right. Presidential campaigner Sarah Palin called the new program "half pro-socialist, half pro-terrorist, and all high treason."
On September 17, Constitution Day, as the President was speaking in Philadelphia, an unemployed young Arkansan in the audience waved a copy of Psalm 109, shouted "Save the Constitution!" and fired wildly toward the President. Palin issued a statement that while she empathized with the young man's concerns and frustrations, she could not condone violence as a way of removing the "fake American, phony President now in office." Her reaction spurred many "moderates" to leave the Republican Party, which came decisively under Palin's control.
These events, beginning in January, shaped what some pundits began calling the Second Obama and ultimately, it is now clear, set the scene for his reelection.