Joe Stiglitz lists things we should hope for (though not necessarily expect) in Obama's second term:
America’s Hope Against Hope, by Joseph Stiglitz, Commentary, Project Syndicate: After a hard-fought election campaign,... not much has changed... With America facing a “fiscal cliff”..., could there be anything worse than continued political gridlock?
In fact, the election had several salutary effects – beyond showing that unbridled corporate spending could not buy an election, and that demographic changes ... may doom Republican extremism. The Republicans’ explicit campaign of disenfranchisement in some states... backfired... In Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, a ... tireless warrior ... to protect ordinary citizens from banks’ abusive practices, won a seat in the Senate.
Some of Mitt Romney’s advisers seemed taken aback by Obama’s victory:... They were confident that Americans would forget how the Republicans’ deregulatory zeal had brought the economy to the brink of ruin, and ... how their intransigence in Congress had prevented more effective policies... Voters, they assumed, would focus only on the current economic malaise.
The Republicans should not have been caught off-guard ..., much of the rise in US economic inequality is attributable to a government in which the rich have disproportionate influence... Obviously, issues like reproductive rights and gay marriage have large economic consequences as well.
In terms of economic policy for the next four years, the main cause for post-election celebration is that the US has avoided measures that would have pushed it closer to recession, increased inequality, imposed further hardship on the elderly, and impeded access to health care for millions of Americans.
Beyond that, here is what Americans should hope for...[list/discussion]..., though I am not sanguine that they will get much of it. More likely, America will muddle through – here another little program for struggling students and homeowners, there the end of the Bush tax cuts for millionaires, but no wholesale tax reform, serious cutbacks in defense spending, or significant progress on global warming. ...