THE BIG ELECTION has come and gone, and with a few days to let the results marinate, I'm blogging today to give you my thoughts. . .First, I am sure we are all glad it is over! We now can turn on the TV without the blare of negative ads, we can answer the phone again without confronting robo-calls, and we can conduct civil conversations with ALL our friends and associates, not just those who were on our side of the political divide. --- AM I SURPRISED with the size and scope of the Obama win? NO, NOT REALLY, but I did have a knot in my stomach Tuesday until I saw actual returns coming in from places like Pennsylvania, Minnesota - and yes, Dearborn. Our town has had somewhat bellweather status over time, and when I saw early returns for Obama at 70%, I knew it would be a good night (he finished at 66%+).--- THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE RACE favored the President somewhat; he had no primary opposition, he had the ability to raise money (not as much as the Rs, but enough to stay competitive), he had a terrific and effective grass roots organization in key states that in many places never shut down from 2008, he clearly had the edge in targeting technology and GOTV, he got strategic late endorsements from Republican Colin Powell and independent Mike Bloomberg in the wake of the successful navigation of Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Hugger Chris Christie . . . and the economic issues were at least moving his way (job numbers, housing starts, consumer confidence, unemployment, the stock market). . . .On the other hand, the Republicans had a bitter and expensive primary season, they allowed the Democrats to define them early, driving up negatives, and they had a constant stream of goofball statements that distracted from their economic message (everything from birth control and rape to car elevators, binders to 47%). They also picked a nominee who was Taylor-made to tie into the Democratic message that the Rs are only interested in rich white men holding onto power. --- DEMOGRAPHICS were the other key factor tilting states blue. Republicans' continued reliance on angry white men chases women and minorities the other way, and it did so Tuesday. Women voted in high numbers - and with a huge gender gap (55-44%) for Obama. So did African- Americans (93%), Latinos (71%), Jews (70%), Asians (70%), young people (60%), gays (76%) and Arab-Americans (52-28% in a pre-election poll). Obama even took the Catholic vote again, this time 51-48%. The GOP must chip away at these margins or they will never again win a national election. One other point about demographics; I think the Republican voter suppression effort actually backfired and brought out more minority votes. The threatening billboards, restrictive voting laws (leading to long lines) and challenger goons at the polls (they called them True the Vote) all inspired folks to vote in spite of these barriers.--- THE CANDIDATE AND HIS PARTY PLATFORM ALSO MADE A DIFFERENCE. Obama was a far better contender, I think, smarter, more experienced, cooler and more able to "connect" with average Americans. And there is no question in my mind that the D party platform was more acceptable to most Americans as compared to the GOP "return to the past" agenda. The fact that the Republicans kept saying they knew how to fix the economy, but never got specific about it, led most people to conclude the Republican risk was worse than staying the course, even though it is plodding more slowly than anyone wants. . . .One issue of great importance to us here, of course, is the auto rescue - and it was great to see the President finally getting the credit he deserves for it and 59% agreeing that it was the right thing to do, despite GOP opposition. --- PUT ALL THIS TOGETHER , and it was a winning formula for Barack Obama and the Democrats. They didn't win every battle, but if you look at the map and see that in every contested state save NC, it was colored blue...that tells you something. . . SO NOW IT IS UP TO US. I think we all have an obligation to pull together and support the President. That doesn't mean we have to agree with him on everything, but it does mean that civility should trump divisiveness, and kindness should replace the bitterness of the campaign. BARACK OBAMA IS OUR PRESIDENT - and he is President of all of us, not just those who voted for him.