There's plenty the administration can do on its own. One of the most important is the new carbon-emission rule due out from the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been repeatedly delayed but is expected to be released in the first half of 2013.
The fossil-fuel industry has been lobbying hard behind the scenes to declaw those regulations — while spending hundreds of millions in attempts to defeat Obama and clean-energy-advocating Democrats. The New York Times estimated that "spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy" this year was four times the amount spent in favor of clean energy, which is a stark reversal of 2008, when clean-energy advocates spent more.
There is increasing talk, too, of including a carbon tax in the budget deal being worked out in the fiscal-cliff sequestration negotiations.
And advocates are immediately resuming pressure on Obama to deny permits for the Keystone XL pipeline extension — which, they say, would increase exploitation and use of environmentally destructive tar sands oil. They also want the administration to go after fracking and other environment-damaging practices, and to step up investment in clean-energy industries.
The Sierra Club, in a post-election letter to members and the public, declared: "The bottom line: Big Oil bet big and lost big, on Keystone XL and on a handful of other dirty energy issues."
Environmentalists are ready to cash in their chips. "There is a lot that the administration can do," Henn says. Obama has signaled that he understands the urgency, and "we're looking for him to live up to that."
No group feels more directly responsible for Obama's re-election than Latinos, who broke all previous records — and expectations — for voter turnout on election day. Their votes went roughly 70 percent to Obama, according to exit polls — and above 80 percent in critical swing states of Colorado and Nevada, according to a ImpreMedia-Latino Decisions Election Eve Poll. Obama won both states.
And it's fair to say that it had as much to do with fear of Romney and his anti-immigrant rhetoric and calls for "self-deportation" as enthusiasm for Obama, who failed to deliver on his promise of immigration reform.
Reform advocates want to strike quickly, while Republicans are clearly reeling from the realization of Latino voting power. House Speaker John Boehner has already said that he is open to comprehensive immigration reform. Even conservative media stalwart Sean Hannity declared that he has "evolved" and now sees the need for a pathway to citizenship.
But don't expect Latinos to stop there, or even with codifying DREAM Act executive decisions, or demands for slowing down the deportation pace, which has been at record highs under Obama.
No, Latino activists expect all of those things quickly, but they are also ready to move beyond immigration issues and start pressuring for more economic opportunities and social justice.
That includes voting reforms. The disgrace of hours-long lines in heavily minority communities — not to mention a whole election cycle of right-wing attempts to suppress votes — has awoken the public to the need to reform the system. Obama even mentioned it in his election-night speech.
It's one of many areas where Latinos and African Americans have common political cause and expect to work more closely in tandem going forward.