On Tuesday night, NewsOne attended President Barack Obama’s election watch party, which proved to be a joyously memorable occasion for the President and attendees, which ranged from civil rights leaders to celebrities, and committed supporters.
Thousands attended the rally, where excitement was tangible throughout the winding convention center. Before the president’s arrival, oldies, such as The Supremes, Bruce Springsteen, and Nu Shooz, blared over the loudspeakers as a star-studded and political crowd arrived to attend the rally, including actress Angela Bassett, singer Stevie Wonder, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.-D), and Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett.
The mood was upbeat among public supporters, who cheered as they were allowed in to the rally shortly after the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. CDT. One of them was Homer Bryan, who was certain of the president’s re-election before all of the votes were counted, saying the President is a skillful negotiator.
“He’s standing on the backs of many people who came along before him,” Bryan told reporters. “People have worked hard. There are people who can work on both sides of the aisle and he’s one of them.”
As election data continues to be analyzed, NewsOne spoke with the NAACP on Wednesday morning to gain insight in to how African Americans voted Tuesday.
Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Washington bureau director and senior vice president for advocacy, told NewsOne exclusively, “We are very excited to see the strong African-American voter turnout in the election, which exceeded participation in 2008, especially among African-American youth between the ages of 18-24. While we are still gathering the numbers, initial figures show that group continues to be the largest participating demographic. In fact, the numbers appear to exceed 2008, which were historic at that time.”
Shelton said the NAACP is pleased that reports about low turnout among African-American voters turned out to be nothing but propaganda: “We already have a Black president, so people were expressing their enthusiasm in a different way.”
Moving forward, she said some issues that are important to the Black community that should be front-and-center on President Obama’s agenda include making progress on the Affordable Care Act, protections against economic exploitation, and access to credit.
To be sure, the economy is a major concern in most Black households. In October, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the unemployment rate increased to 14.3 percent, compared to the rate 10 percent for Hispanics and 7 percent for Whites.
Indeed, President Obama made clear during his victory speech at McCormick Place on Election night in Chicago that he heard America and he would return to office “more determined” and “more inspired.”
Flanked by his family, he entered the stage to address supporters about 12:35 a.m. as Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” played over the speakers.
“Our economy’s recovering,” he said. “A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.”
The president said in his second term, he would focus on immigration reform, tax reform, energy independence, immigration reform, and deficit reduction—objectives also shared by conservatives.