Obama’s victory won’t transform America

President Obama at a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on November 5.


As yet another presidential election cycle ends, it’s a good time not only to tally wins and losses, but to reflect on the nature of the American political system and why it so often disappoints voters and presidents alike.

Think of the extravagant hopes and promises that attended Barack Obama’s election in 2008. Obama surely had good historical grounds for thinking that the seismic financial upheaval of 2009 presented him with opportunities to transform America for the better.

And so it did, to a degree his own reelection campaign somewhat mysteriously chose not to emphasize, by creating the political space for major legislative victories like the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms.

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