The drama is over for another 4 years and Barack Obama is once again President of the United States of America. The interesting point for me, from an outsiders point if view, is the fact that Mitt Romney managed to push it so close. In the actual election itself Obama won comfortably, at time of writing Florida hasn’t been counted but Obama has 303 of the college electoral votes to Romney’s 206. It was close in the opinion poll, from the first presidential debate to the election itself both candidates were neck and neck.
Where did Romney come from though? 4 years ago re-election seemed inevitable for Obama, and even during the Republican nominee race no one could see Obama joining the one term ears club. No candidate seemed capable of uniting the Republican electorate let alone capturing the moderate middle ground that always wins elections. Romney was never a unifying figure himself. For starters he’s rich, really rich, which never goes down well with voters. We all seem to have a mistrust of people with money. Add into the financial situation the doubts over his tax returns and the issues with his company’s, Bain Capital, use of non American workers and the picture doesn’t look good. He was also a Mormon, not that this race became about religion, but Obama has always done a good job of keeping his faith neutral. Again the moderate middle will always be drawn to the more neutral candidate.
Obama could have been beaten in this election. The American economy is still in trouble, as is the rest of the world. Most of the issues can be attributed to the last administration and the Eurozone crisis but the economy was still a good source of ammunition for Romney. One feature the I haven’t seen before in American politics is a British approach to selecting who to vote for. I saw a lot of Americans being interviewed on the news saying they were only voting for a particular candidate because they disliked the other one more. Nick Clegg got the majority of his votes at the last election simply because he was neither Gordon Brown or David Cameron. But I’ve never seen it in American politics before. Think back to 2008 and to Obama supporters if Mcain won it was the end of the world, and vice versa. Don’t get me wrong there was plenty of that from both camps this time round it’s just interesting to see this approach creeping in. Maybe America is becoming more cynical or maybe it’s just endemic of the state of the world.
Whatever the result I always enjoy the drama of the US election, personally if I had voted it would have been for Obama. But what would have been interesting is if the Republicans had put out a better candidate. No disrespect to Romney but as I’ve already outlined he was never the ideal candidate. A strong, moderate, pro business Republican government would have been ideal to turn the American economy round. Unfortunately the Republicans seem bent on lurching further and further to the right, Sarah Palin, Todd Akin and the Tea Party spring to mind. My hope is by the next election they will have got their act together and present a proper candidate, not Jeb Bush. The Democrats have got mass appeal right at present rather than the unrelatable intellectualism of old, Al Gore. If that continues then that’s good for the rest of the world, since George Bush its going to be a while before we trust a republican candidate not to nuke Iran.
So Obama gets 4 more year and I’ve not got to my favourite bit about this election result. It will really, really, really, really annoy Donald Trump and doesn’t that make the whole process, the billions of Dollars spent of campaigning, worthwhile.
By Jack Troup