On November 6, the people of the United States rejected President Barack Obama. And re-elected him to a second term in office.

Though Obama failed to win a majority in the popular vote–and may even have lost the popular vote outright–he won enough votes in the Electoral College to claim victory. The same constitutional peculiarity that brought George W. Bush into office in 2000 may have returned Obama to the White House.

The voters also re-affirmed the results of the historic Tea Party election of 2010, returning Republicans to power in the House of Representatives. And yet the voters also retained Democrats in control of the Senate, preserving the results of the anti-war wave election of 2006.

The U.S. Congress is now divided between two parties whose members were elected on platforms of protest, each determined to stop the other from pursuing its policies.

In the days that follow, great efforts will be spent on explaining the results as consequences of many factors, big and small.

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