I can't say the final result is unexpected. Outside of the partisan bubble, most sources were predicting a fairly convincing win for Obama. I was surprised by the vote, however. The final tally isn't quite in yet, but Obama looks to be down about nine million votes from 2008. Clearly, the enthusiasm has ebbed dramatically in four years. Yet, Romney got about two million votes less than McCain. The Republicans definitely own this defeat. Either they couldn't bring themselves to vote for their guy, in which case, shame on them. Or, there just aren't as many of them as there were even four years ago. If the Republican party is declining at a rate of half a million voters per year, they definitely have to redefine what they represent. I wish them well as many of the best values of America seem to be Republican values.
So what does it mean for the bright future? Sadly, I don't think it's at all good. In general, Democrats do seem to be a bit more pro-science. They certainly don't adhere to some of the strange views of the religious Right. However, I don't think they're all that interested in space exploration. Democrats tend to think small. They see America as smaller than Republicans do. Sure, America is exceptional, they say, in the same way Greece or Brazil is exceptional. Grand visions of humans in space seems like fantasy to them, especially when there are so many social issues down here on earth that require immediate attention. Money that could go to space science will more likely be directed to green energy and you can bet the military will not have a lot of discretionary spending capability to direct toward establishing strategic assets in the high frontier. President Obama has done a decent job of encouraging private industry to participate in space exploration and, for that, he should be applauded, but for the most part, I think over the next four years little will be accomplished in the effort to hasten the arrival of the bright future.