To win a second term, Obama must begin now to reinvigorate his base. He has to show voters who put him in the Oval Office that he’ll fight Republicans, not appease them. Moving to the center won’t do that. The center is a swamp into which the GOP hopes to trap Democrats as it moves further to the right. On Election Day, those voters who claim to occupy the middle ground of American politics cast their lot with leftist Democrats or right-wing Republicans, not some centrist political party.

They align themselves with the party they believe has the best ideas and the ability to get something done. Over the past two years, Democrats wasted the victories they scored in 2008 with infighting and a penchant for retreating when Republicans attacked. So while the GOP rallied its base, Democrats disappointed theirs.

The election results show that “no one party will be able to dictate where we go from here, that we must find common ground in order to set — in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges,” Obama said at his post-election news conference. He’s wrong.