Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."
By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
(CNN) - As political pros, journalists and pundits pick over exit polls to study how and why President Obama beat Mitt Romney for the presidency, a lot of the attention has been showered on the Latino turnout, gender gap and voters under 30.
The African-American turnout has largely been overlooked, seen by prognosticators as a no-brainer for President Obama.
There was never any doubt he was going to receive the overwhelming majority of black support. In 2008, Obama won 95% of the black vote, with black women voting at a higher rate than any other group in the country.
But six to nine months ago, numerous Obama campaign workers were privately expressing concern about the enthusiasm level of black voters, and about whether the massive 2008 turnout could be equaled.
They hoped registration efforts and get-out-the-vote drives would kick in at the right time.
Re-electing the first black president was clearly a motivating factor for African-Americans, but what also should be noted is the Republican Party's efforts to enact voter suppression laws.
Not only were black folks angered and shocked at Republicans' blatant attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, Texas and other states, they exacted revenge at the ballot box.
By Josh Levs, CNN
(CNN) - America woke up Wednesday, looked into a giant mirror made up of millions of votes and saw how it has been changing for decades.
It wasn't just President Obama's re-election and the diverse coalition of minorities, women and youth that kept him in power.
For the first time, voters approved same-sex marriage in three states. Margaret Hoover, a Republican analyst and CNN contributor, called it "a watershed moment." Meanwhile, Wisconsin elected the country's first openly gay U.S. senator.
Two states legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
A record 20 women will be serving in the U.S. Senate.
And a record number of new Asian-American and Latino representatives were elected to Congress.
All this would have been unthinkable a generation ago, as would the idea the country would elect, let alone re-elect, its first black president.
Tuesday's election showed that the United States is redefining what it means to be an American, some political and social observers say: The country is less conservative than popular belief suggests. It's no longer the same America. The nation has arrived at a "new normal."
Others say the election showed that America is "fractured" and even more "racially polarized" than many people believed, while some analysts caution against reading too much into any one election.
Americans may have awakened Wednesday to the same balance of power in Washington - same president, same divided Congress - but in many ways they also woke up to the sense that things outside the Beltway might never be quite the same.
The America that gave the president a second term and ushered in a string of cultural firsts was formed at a time of dramatic changes that were starting to take root just around the time Obama was born in 1961.
Editor's note: Ali Noorani is the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an organization based in Washington that advocates for the value of immigrants. Follow him on Twitter.
By Ali Noorani, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Both parties have received an electoral politics wake-up call, courtesy of a diversifying America.
President Obama won re-election thanks in part to a 52-percentage-point spread among Latino voters, the nation's fastest-growing electorate, according to election eve polling.
In the America coming over the horizon, it is practically impossible to overcome such a number and win the race for president.
According to the polling by Latino Decisions, Hispanic voters nationally and across every battleground state swung heavily to Democrats.
And it wasn't even close. Nationwide, the margin was 75% to 23%. And there were remarkable spreads in the tightest of swing states: 87% to 10% in Colorado, 82% to 17% in Ohio, 66% to 31% in Virginia. (CNN's own poll showed a smaller but still significant spread nationwide - 71% to 21% - and in the swing states).
Even in Florida, with its large, Republican-leaning Cuban population, the Latino Decisions poll found that Latinos overall favored the president 58% to 40%.
While these trends worked to Democrats' advantage on the ground on Tuesday, that's not entirely good news: A demographically challenged Republican Party is bad for America.
As a nation, we are at our best when both parties work together to address difficult policy issues. And, in the case of immigration - an issue of great concern to Latinos - a bipartisan roadmap is good politics and great policy.
Editor's note: Hannah Weinberger is a college student and former CNN intern.
By Hannah Weinberger, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Country singer and millennial Taylor Swift recently told the Daily Beast she doesn't consider herself a feminist, explaining to the interviewer who posed the question: "I don't really think about things as guys versus girls." But many feminists would argue that Swift, 22, is missing the point, that feminism isn't a battle between the sexes.
I can't say I blame Swift if she hasn't quite pinned down the definition of the word. I do identify as a feminist - after all, I trust in my abilities, combat stereotypes and believe in equal rights. But I've also been unsure at times what exactly it means to be a feminist and whether the modern movement is the best vehicle for gender equality.
Women have been divided over feminism, its definition and practice, since the first suffragettes demanded space in politics. Even today, asking a roomful of millennial women, roughly those 18-29, whether they identify as feminist will elicit a range of responses: yes, no and someplace in between.
"If you went up to a millennial and asked if they believe in equal rights for all, they would look at you like you're crazy, because that's a silly question," said Lauren Rikleen, executive-in-residence at Boston College. "But if you ask if they're feminist, there's this backing away and an emotional reaction."
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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