Firstout the gate, the "he only won narrowly" and there will be a populist uprising against his 'leftward lurch'. WTF? What exactly was the Tea Party then? How did that work out?
The fact that Obama has only very narrowly secured reelection–unusual, since reelected presidents normally expand their initial electoral margins–might seem to contradict this high-conflict scenario. You can certainly argue that a barely-reelected president would be smart to pull in his horns and govern from the middle. Yet that’s not who Barack Obama is, and it’s certainly not the premise upon which he ran his campaign. Obama took the intentionally risky path of alienating half the country with an in-your-face negative campaign because he believed that demographics now allow him to cobble together a leftist majority in support of transformative change. Whether that demographic vision is valid or not, Obama and his advisors believe that it is, and so will govern with relative disregard for opposition, however vocal.
To put it another way, because the public has never truly seen the changes he’s enacted put into practice, Obama has an exceedingly tenuous mandate. But he doesn’t care. All Obama wants to do is to squeak by, after which he plans to depend on shifting demographics to cement his sweeping transformation in place. The question is, have Americans really changed as much as Obama thinks, or will the actual arrival of his long-delayed first term agenda in his second term set off a populist movement that brings his plans to a halt?