After an 8-year term, the office is up for grabs entirely, not just to 'every other side'. Recent example: Ronald Reagan from 1980-1988 then George Bush Sr. from 1988-1992 - both Republicans.
A few big things came from last night's election that (obviously) weren't the main headline of the night:
1. Maryland, Maine, and Washington State have all voted to legalize gay marriage. Minnesota voted out their amendment(s) banning such, which means gay marriage legalization has an open road towards a future vote. Lots of marriage equality going around in this country lately. Nice to see so many having an open mind about it.
2. Colorado and Washington State have voted to legalize marijuana. Not just for medical purposes, but recreational purposes (ie. for personal use whenever). Oregon voted it down. CO and WA are intent on regulating and taxing marijuana as a means to help their local economies. State marijuana laws are superceded by federal laws so it remains to be seen what will come of this officially. Also, it will take time (months, maybe even years) to finalize the regulations/taxation, so that's another rock in the road. Still, it's a good start to build towards future mass-legalization of something that, at the very least, is no worse than the already-legal cigarettes and alcohol.
3. Citizens of Puerto Rico, which is currently a commonwealth of the U.S. (basically means they are a U.S. territory without being officially federally regulated by the U.S. as a normal state is and don't get full 'state' benefits), voted last night >60% in favor of U.S. statehood. More or less, this was simply a 'feeler' vote - ie. just seeing what people think on the issue. The next step is probably an official vote on this to find out for certain, although the PR gov't. could just take these results and make the formal request for statehood ASAP, which then would put Puerto Rico's status up for U.S Congress approval to enter the union as our 51st state.
Why this is an interesting development is because PR has been a U.S. commonwealth for a very long time now and previously all measures along these lines have been explicitly voted down. Even though the wording was structured as such to give 'statehood' an advantage in this vote, it doesn't change the fact that >60% of the people voted in favor of it regardless. Obama is already on the record as saying if the vote was by a big-enough percentage (>60% certainly qualifies) he was all in favor of pushing ahead with this if further developments came of the result. (FWIW, Romney was all for doing that as well.)
I can think of few bigger things a president can have as part of his/her legacy than formally inducting another state into the union. The U.S. hasn't added a new state since Alaska and Hawaii were both inducted as #49 and #50 back in 1959. I'd love to see our country grow - literally - in my lifetime so I really hope something comes of this.
Victor's from Puerto Rico. I'd love to hear his opinions on this. I'll have to ask him next time I see him log online to GW2.