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2012 and 2016
More election reflections

Date published: 11/14/2012

THE excessively costly, substantively undernourished campaign for the presidency is finally over. But before this election year is consigned to the archives, a few kernels of substance are worthy of inspection. After all, Election 2012 was about more than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Here are some postscripts that may suggest trends for the future:

Another "Year of the Woman"?

This overused term doesn't really apply to this election year. The gender gap that saw women once again rally to the Democratic cause was certainly a key factor in the presidential race, with President Obama receiving 56 percent of the female vote against Mr. Romney's 44 percent, according to Gallup. But the political bottom line for female candidates of the future was mixed.

New Hampshire claimed a first-ever status as the only state whose entire congressional delegation (two senators and two representatives), as well as its governor, will be female. The number of women in the U.S. Senate edged up, from 18 to 20, thanks to notable wins in Wisconsin and North Dakota.

But the number of women holding the job of governor, the office that has traditionally spawned national candidates most bountifully, dropped from six to five. That adds up to a less-than-whopping 10 percent of the governorships. Of the five female governors, the Democratic Party, which accused the GOP of a "war against women," can claim a grand total of one.

The Colors of the Electorate

Most states retained their distinct blue (Democrat) or red (Republican) colors in this year's presidential election. The more interesting case studies come from the handful of purplish swing states.

Virginia and Ohio added a bit more blue to their tint this year, while Florida tipped slightly toward the red (although Mr. Obama won the Sunshine State by a nose).

There is also ample evidence that ticket-splitting is alive and well in many states, adding yet another complexion to the partisan colorations. For example, West Virginia has become reliably Republican in presidential politics, yet its governor and two senators all hail from the Democratic Party. Ditto Montana.

Emerging Candidates for the White House

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