It is true that the presidential race was not as ideologically stark as it could have been. Especially because Romney went Etch-A-Sketch towards the end, while Obama has not been nearly the lefty progressive that many progressives want him to be. But this election did settle a lot of things for the long term. If the economy had been roaring along then the victory of the 2012 incumbent would not mean much because incumbents do well under those circumstances. But with the economy what it is, and with the vast financial resources that he could tap into, Romney should have walked away with the election. That he and his party lost is of exceptional historical and political importance because it means that the Republican socially conservative and economically libertarian line is not selling. All the more so with the eye popping victories for gays and the pro-pot crowd. It's a disaster for the nearly all white GOP because the rapid expansion of minorities towards majority status means that the Democratic Party is the permanent majority party (click here). The same year The Man from U.N.C.L.E and The Addams Family premiered, Lyndon Johnson wryly observed that he had turned over the south to the GOP by signing the Civil Rights Act. He was right, but he has gotten revenge. The southern strategy backfired by locking the Republican Party into being a southern white political club that is unable to gain majority status in the nation at large.
That the electorate handed the Dems a definitive victory under the current circumstances means that the Repubs have gone so far to the right that the American majority prefers what the more centrist-progressive Democrats are selling. Not just for 2012, but for coming decades. So let's go down the list.
Yes -- Pragmatism.
No -- Ideology.
No -- Hyperindividualism.
No -- The Tea Party.
No -- Full blown plutocracy.
No -- Glorification of the 1% as virtuous "job creators" who should be given ever more boons.
No -- Give the top few percent more tax breaks.
Yes -- Tax the wealthy.
No -- Vampire capitalism.
No -- Libertarian, trickle down Reaganonomics.
No -- Minimalist government.
Yes -- More collectivist government.
Yes -- More public/private sector collaboration.
Yes -- The New Deal.