Both sides called it a generation-defining race for the White House: a choice between Democrat Barack Obama’s brand of government activism and Republican Mitt Romney’s commitment to reducing Washington’s role in Americans’ daily lives.

Obama’s victory, however, did not settle that question.

Instead, the hard-fought battle for the White House exposed an electorate deeply divided by race, age and party.

Tuesday’s elections – in which Republicans kept control of the U.S. House and Obama’s Democrats held on to the Senate – suggested that bitter partisanship would likely remain very much alive in Washington in the new year. They also revealed that there was no broad mandate for much beyond the broadly shared goals of improving the economy and reducing government debt.

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