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Obama's victory a bitter and jagged pill for Republicans -- so what now?

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Nov. 7, 2012: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures to supporters during his election night rally in Boston, left, and President Barack Obama waves to the crowd of supporters at his election night party in Chicago. (2012 AP)

Last night America rendered its verdict and gave President Obama four more years.  The demographic fissures that emerged in 2010 did not become full blown fractures. And so, Mitt Romney went down to defeat despite a schlerotic economy.

America is changing. Once again. Just as earlier immigration helped propel FDR into office, so to did the browning of America assist the Obama re-election effort.  Established notions of what government ought to be doing ultimately yielded to popular demand.

Tuesday's results are both a bitter and jagged pill for the Republican Party. After regaining the House of Representatives in 2010, the Republicans now confront the reality that they are viewed as a vehicle for protest, not as a governing party.

Although the president's support among white voters dropped to 39 percent from 43 percent in 2008, Obama ran better than the congressional Democrats ran 2 years earlier. The Coalition of the Ascendant bested the Viagra Dads.

Tuesday's results are both a bitter and jagged pill for the Republican Party. After regaining the House of Representatives in 2010, the Republicans now confront the reality that they are viewed as a vehicle for protest, not as a governing party.

The struggle for America's political reins will continue. Older Americans voted for Romney, younger Americans for Obama. Older Americans are wealthier. Younger Americans, less so. The fight over the national wallet will continue.

The map also told a story. Team Romney only picked up two states that Obama won in 2008 -- Indiana and North Carolina -- and both states were traditional Republican strongholds. The Republicans made no other gains.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign held on to Virginia and Democrat Tim Kaine defeated California-native and Confederate flag idolizing Republican George Allen.  The home of Robert E. Lee and the seat of the Confederacy went for Obama for a second time.

Obama now joins the ranks of post World War II presidents who won re-election -- Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush. As of this writing, Obama is the first Democrat to do so while winning an absolute majority of the popular vote each time.

Obama's win was no landslide. His margin of victory was smaller than it was four years ago. Mitt Romney's loss was no disgrace. Only once since 1896 has an incumbent president -- Jimmy Carter -- been unseated while he and his party were in their first term in office. But Obama was no Carter and Romney was no Reagan.

Going forward, the Republicans must grapple with how to make itself less monochromatic, while maintaining its white working class base. The party will need to internalize the fact that single women now rival Evangelicals as a voting bloc. Calling rape "God's will" does not cut it.

The Republicans are down, but not out. The question is where do they go from here.

Attorney Lloyd Green was the opposition research counsel to the George H.W. Bush campaign in 1988, and served in the Department of Justice between 1990 and 1992.