Barack Obama’s decisive reelection is significant in many, many ways. Even if he adds no more legislative achievements to his legacy over the next four years – and, surely, he will add some – it means that the most significant reforms of the last years are now sure to be implemented. Near-universal health care will come into effect. Millions of young, undocumented immigrants are sure to receive their promised reprieve from deportation. That, in itself, is momentous.
Tonight, though, I would like to focus on a rather different point. Across Europe, the media all too often depicts average Americans as zealous religious extremists or delusional cranks. It’s obvious enough why, especially during election season, European journalists are so tempted by that good, old, comfortingly familiar storyline. After all, there really are some very loud, and sadly very influential, members of the Republican Party who are both zealous and delusional. A depressing number of them just got reelected to the House of Representatives.