As to the results: Warren won, McCaskill defeated Akin, Donnelly beat Mourdock, victories for marriage equality, victories for those hoping drug policy will one day be more realistic than rabid. First gay senator, more women in the Senate than ever before. California may yet be able to rescue its state government from attempted bathtubbing.
And Obama won a sound victory in both the popular vote and the Electoral College. Conservative pundits' accusations about a skew in the polls were not so much based on evidence as wishful thinking (and met hard reality in the expected manner). Nate Silver was scarily accurate. Obama's election wasn't a post-Bush blip, or at least not so much of an anomaly that a candidate as malleable as Mitt Romney could defeat a sitting president, even in such mediocre (though great by comparison to four years ago!) economic circumstances.
Obama's got a lot of work cut out for him. Congress is still divided, the Republicans still have an option of "say no to everything and hope stuff gets worse" (for another two years at least). The right side of the House in particular has become so polarized that Obama's all-compromise-all-the-time, literally-propose-the-Republican-plan-fr
There's the looming "fiscal cliff" (the obviously-terrible default cut-the-deficit deal that Congress (including Congressional Republicans) agreed would blow up in everyone's faces if they couldn't agree on something better), for one. That default deal would be pretty terrible for the economy, but chicken seems to be the GOP's favorite game lately. However, some Republicans are sane enough to see the writing on the wall with regard to tax raises, and notice that some subtly-done compromise on that issue would make two things a lot easier for them (those two things being "defusing the debt crisis without crashing the economy" and "beating Democrats in upcoming elections").
Some of my colleagues are despondent about the election results because of that last bit about tax raises. But I don't think it's realistic to expect to deal with 2010s problems on less than a 1990s budget while cutting the deficit, when 2010s problems are much worse and the 1990s budget still involved borrowing a ton of money. America had a great opportunity to solve 2000s problems on a 1990s budget while investing in infrastructure that would make 2010s problems less bad and cutting the deficit, but instead opted for an extra war and more tax cuts (at least the rich used the extra funds from those tax cuts to create jobs; haha no, just kidding, they spent like 179% of it on highly-securitized mortgage-backed derivatives). In 2012, we're dealing with the plateau (and eventual decline) of global energy production (mostly due to physics and geology related to petroleum and natural gas). We're also dealing with a decline in global per-capita demand for labor (mostly due to good things about technology). Not to mention some increasingly nasty weather.
We need to make investments in infrastructure that will get us through those problems, while paying down the debt. (It would be foolish to act as if US government borrowing is unusually expensive now, but foolish to ignore that the US has already borrowed a lot and that borrowing could get much more expensive later.) Not that it's theoretically impossible for such investments to be made by a method other than "government taxes people and hires people to build stuff", but I don't expect the necessary investments will happen at the necessary scale in any other way.
Americans are getting four more years of a President who thinks it's important to invest in infrastructure, education, and science. One who recognizes climate change as a serious issue as opposed to thinking of it as irrelevant to "your families". One who appoints competent administrators to agencies like FEMA. And a President that believes Americans need to come to some consensus about what investments are necessary to deal with (near-)future problems which involves (especially those most able to pay) actually paying for those investments.