Two years and $2 billion. Voters were as unhappy as those who follow the American mood have ever seen. Disillusioned with Congress and disappointed with their president.

Yet, after it all, this long political road has produced a new government that looks a whole lot like the old government. The president will remain Barack Obama. Democrats control the Senate and Republicans, most likely, the House.

Obama ran a campaign of tactical brilliance, piecing together the support of the young, the poor, the nonwhite, the urban. A coalition more about identity than policy. He painted Romney into a corner with his own wealth (and Romney's help), and portrayed himself as the defender of the middle class (which seemed to include almost everyone).

Republicans had hard times on their side but couldn't ultimately convince voters they would do better than a second-term Obama.

Michael Oreskes, a veteran political journalist since the 1970s and now The Associated Press' senior managing editor for U.S. news.

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