November 9th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Opinion: Both parties must lead on immigration

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.

Read Ali Noorani's full column
November 9th, 2012
09:30 AM ET

Where are all the millennial feminists?

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."

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November 8th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

How women ruled the 2012 election

By Halimah Abdullah, CNN

Washington (CNN) - In many ways, the 2012 election was the year of the woman.

Women — who have historically formed one of President Barack Obama's key constituencies — once again united behind him in large numbers and helped fend off defections from white male and independent supporters.

A record 20 women will hold U.S. Senate seats next year—including newly-elected Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, the first openly lesbian senator. The New Hampshire congressional delegation will be all female and, in Obama's home state of Hawaii, Democrat Mazie Hirono will represent the islands in the Senate.

"I'm not sure if it was as much a coincidence as a perfect storm," said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

"The conditions were right and the Republican nominee gave women pause."

According to CNN's exit polls, 55% of women and 45% of men voted for Obama and 44% of women and 52% of men voted for Romney. That level of female support for the president made an especially big impact in swing states like Ohio where the gender breakdown mirrored the national figures.

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Opinion: Women less likely to be political outsiders now
Voters in Massachusetts voted Elizabeth Warren to the U.S. Senate.
November 8th, 2012
08:42 AM ET

Opinion: Women less likely to be political outsiders now

Editor's note: Hanna Rosin is the author of the new book, "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women." She is co-founder of Slate's DoubleX, a web magazine about women issues.

By Hanna Rosin, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I almost always get asked the same question: How can it possibly be the "end of men" when there are so few female elected officials - when men still hold the reins of political power?

It's an excellent question. Until now, I've answered by pointing to statistical trends and future projections. Always, I ask people to take a leap of faith. But after this election, I feel like I am on so much more solid ground.

The women's vote did not turn out to be historic in the way pundits predicted before the election. Yes, more women voted for President Obama, but not in record numbers. The gender gap was in fact a little smaller in this election than in 2008. Yes, women were important in certain states, but so were young people, African-Americans and Latinos, who, together, make up Obama's new winning coalition. What's more, women did not even constitute a unified vote. Married women tended to vote for Romney, while single women went for Obama.

What changed in this election was that women accumulated power in a calm and measured way, and began to look for the first time much less like outsiders to the political process.

Read Hanna Rosin's full column
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2012 election ushers in historic wins for Asian-American candidates
Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth is the first Asian-American to represent Illinois in Congress.
November 7th, 2012
05:07 PM ET

2012 election ushers in historic wins for Asian-American candidates

By Kyung Lah, CNN

(CNN) - Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders made history Tuesday night.

Thirty Asian-American candidates ran for national office, the largest number ever, up from 10 in 2010 and eight in 2008. Five new Asian-American and Pacific Islanders were elected, with one race still too close to call.

“The election of 2012 is historical in the sense of the number of AAPI candidates and the impact of AAPI voters in swing states," Floyd Mori, incoming interim president and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, said in a statement.

Historic number of Asian candidates

Democratic Assemblywoman Grace Meng won New York’s open seat in the 6th Congressional District to be elected to Congress. Her district, containing a large Asian-American population as well as a large Caucasian one, made this election about evolving demographics.

About 1.6 million Asian-Americans live in New York, but they have been traditionally under-represented in local politics and on the national political stage.

Meng joins Tammy Duckworth of Illinois as the first Asian-American members of Congress from their states.

Mazie Hirono also ushered in a wave of firsts, becoming the first foreign-born woman of Asian descent to be sworn into national office, the first Japanese immigrant to be elected to the U.S. Senate and the first female senator to represent Hawaii.

California Rep.-elect Mark Takano and Hawaii's Tulsi Gabbard round out the freshman class.

Ami Bera's race in California is still too close to call.

Eight Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus members were also re-elected to Congress.

The increased political representation matches the growth of Asian-Americans, now the largest group of immigrants in the U.S.. FULL POST

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Obama makes history, again
President Barack Obama made history again by becoming the first black president to win re-election.
November 7th, 2012
08:04 AM ET

Obama makes history, again

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - A black man is returning to the White House.

Four years ago, it was a first, the breaking of a racial barrier. Tuesday night, it was history redux.

And more.

In the midst of national splintering and a time of deep ideological animosity, Americans elected President Barack Obama to a second term. And thousands rejoiced in his victory, one that seemed sweeter and, perhaps, more significant.

"This is affirmation that his color doesn't matter and that his message resonated with people," said Yale University sociologist Jeffrey Alexander, author of "Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power."

"It is very important in that it will indicate that an African-American can be viewed for what he says and not what he is."

Had Obama lost the election, he would likely have been remembered in history as the first black president, and maybe little else, Alexander said.

Now, he has a chance to create a legacy rooted not in his identity, but in his ideas.

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Same-sex marriage wins first-ever ballot box approval
November 7th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Same-sex marriage wins first-ever ballot box approval

By Ben Brumfield, CNN

(CNN) - For the first time, same-sex marriage has been approved by a popular vote in the United States.

Voters in Maryland and Maine passed referendums by narrow margins cementing the right for people to marry, regardless of gender.

The words man and woman "relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships must be construed to be gender-neutral for all purposes," Maine's act says. "Civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license," reads Maryland's.

Maryland, Maine approve same-sex marriage

Results of a vote on the same issue was still pending in Washington, as was a measure that would ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

November 7th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin is first openly gay person elected to Senate

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) - Tammy Baldwin made history Tuesday night - twice. She became the first openly gay politician, and first Wisconsin woman, elected to the U.S. Senate.

The seven-term Democratic congresswoman edged past former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson in a win that advocacy groups hailed as a significant stride toward bringing diversity to the Senate.

"This is a big day for gay women in America, and really, for all communities who aren't the typical straight, white, wealthy men elected to Congress," political commentator Sally Kohn said.

Share your reaction to the election

There has never been an openly gay or lesbian member of the U.S. Senate, according to several LGBT advocacy groups. Baldwin is one of four openly gay House members, along with fellow Democrats Barney Frank, of Massachusetts; David Cicilline, of Rhode Island; and Jared Polis, of Colorado.

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What it takes to be a teen politician
Nineteen-year-old Aziz Akbari is interviewed by a local television reporter.
November 6th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

What it takes to be a teen politician

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By Tommy Andres, CNN

(CNN) – Most 18-year-olds are excited for election Tuesday because it will be their first chance to vote. Aziz Akbari is excited for a different reason: his name is on a ballot.

Akbari is a sophomore at the University of Southern California studying mechanical engineering, and this year he’s thrown his hat in the ring for mayor of his hometown of Fremont, California.

[:59] “I’ve been going to city council meetings since I was 8 years old,” Akbari says. “And I’ve been involved in local politics ever since then.”

Akbari campaigns from his dorm room all week with the help of his campaign staff, and flies home every weekend to go door-to-door, press the flesh, and push his four-point plan to boost Fremont’s economy.

But if Akbari is elected, he certainly won’t be the first teen to take charge of a city or a district.

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November 6th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Opinion: For Latino voters, an unhappy choice

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette, Jr., CNN Contributor

San Diego (CNN) - In this election, Latinos were supposed to play kingmakers. Instead they got crowned. No matter who wins on Tuesday, America's largest minority will be the loser.

As a Latino voter, and part of one of the country's fastest growing demographics, I was supposed to choose the next president. No, really, it was all arranged. This was going to be my year, along with the other 10 million or so Latino voters expected to cast ballots Tuesday.

Everyone said so - the pundits, the media, and the strategists. In February, Time Magazine had a cover story, with the eye-catching title, "Yo Decido" (I decide) - explaining how Latinos were going to pick the next president. Newspapers, websites, and television networks - supported financially by advertisers who wanted to tap into Latino consumers and the $1.2 trillion they spend annually - did special reports on the power of the Latino vote.

The concept of Latino voting power was easy to sell. Latinos bought it so they could feel powerful, and non-Latinos bought it because many of them already feel powerless anyway due to changing demographics.

There's only one problem with the storyline: It may not be true. Latino voters could wind up with very little power at all.

I don't mean that their votes won't count, or that they might not help decide the outcome in a few close states - namely Colorado, Florida and Nevada. That might well happen.

What I mean is that, in a broader sense, Latinos can be forgiven for feeling utterly powerless this year. It's been a tough campaign for them. They've been insulted, treated like fools, lied to, told they weren't really promised what they thought they had been, talked about behind their backs, and assured the administration is "breaking its neck" to achieve immigration reform - an issue that, in reality, was put so far on the back burner that it fell off the stove.

So, regardless of what happens on Tuesday, Latinos are limping into the polling booth having been accorded no respect, no influence, no power - not because of what happens that day, but because of what happened for weeks leading up to that day.

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