Hey everyone After a year of relentless campaigning the American people have spoken and they have given Barak Obama four more years in the White House and by a far wider margin than expected.
This is a good result for liberals like me, liberals who believe in the rights of people to live life as they wish providing they are not exploiting or abusing others by doing so. This is a vote for hope over fear for equality and inclusion over greed and selfishness.
Like most of those involved in the political community I decided to stay up & watch the election results as they came in. My programme of choice was America Decides on ITV presented by Alasdair Stewart. As the night begun there an was an air of unmistakable tension and many people were saying it was too close to call.
As someone who was hoping for an Obama victory this made me nervous, the last thing I wanted as a transsexual disabled person was the election of a right wing Republican who would make David Cameron look like a left wing socialist. Yes as the home of Disneyland Holywood Star Wars and The American Dream the United States has always had a habit of making the impossible seem possible. I just prayed they weren’t going to do it on this occasion.
The voting system for the presidential election is bizarre to say the least. The winner is not decided by the usual system of winning the most states or even votes, but by an electoral college where the winner must get 270 votes to get elected to the oval office. That bit I understand as that constitutes a majority of electoral college votes. I also get the fact that the number of votes has in the electoral college is related to the population of each state, what I have more difficulty in dealing with is the fact that all the votes cast in any state go to the winning candidate in that state rather being split between them on the basis of the percentage share of the vote. However in this land of superheroes from John Wayne to Batman its always been& always will be winner takes all.Because of this system the election was always going to come down to a small number of swing states which would for better or worse decide the outcome of election 2012.
These states are the ones which most often change their political colour. This time the president needed to keep them Democrat Blue whilst Romney needed change them to Republican Red. You know the irony of the right wing reds has not escaped me, in most countries red is the colour of the parties of the left. I think I must live in the only other country in the world where Red has become the colour of the right that country is Scotland.
As the early results came in the declarations came for Romney and he gained the mid western state of Indiana which was a surprising Obama victory in 2008. After the first four states had given there projected predictions the score stood at 19-3 in favour of the challenger Romney. However in one of the best comments of the night someone though I can’t remember who, said that its like Scotland playing New Zealand at rugby maybe the Republicans should take a picture of the score board. Quality analysis of the highest calibre.
As more early results came through the Republicans were winning there safe states such as Georgia Kentucky Tennessee and West Virginia, however they were failing to make any inroads in to the key states they needed to win and It must have been disappointing for Romney to lose his birth state of Michigan and the political stamping ground of Massachusetts of which he was Governor. With Wisconsin and Iowa among early calls for Obama, it became clear reasonably early on the President was on his way back to the White House.
There was some good news for the Romney camp when Texas called I’m their favour but any feel good factor from that result was swept away when New York New Jersey and California all declared for the President
Despite the Republicans winning the swing state of North Carolina from the Democrats and winning more of there heartlands such as Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, and Oklahoma this was shaping up to be a better night for Obama than even his most optimistic supporters could have believed possible and when the important swing state of Virginia declared for Obama it was clear that he would get the second term he wanted and I believe America needed. All that was required now was either Ohio or Florida to call for him and his re-election would be assured.
Eventually just after 4 A.M British time he got the news he wanted as Ohio made the call and Obama could call himself President once more. Make no mistake I was one very happy missy at this news and I believe America and the world will be a safer place because of it.
However I am not and never will be the biggest fan of the re-elected president. I believe he has done a number of things wrong especially during the later stages of the campaign which allowed. Romney back in to a race which even in September he seemed to be out of as he failed to gain momentum after a lacklustre performance at the Republican convention.
However with a fair wind set to the President’s advantage it all began to go horribly for the incumbent Obama as the clement political weather he had enjoyed seemed to get ever so slightly rougher and political storms such as a growing deficit and higher unemployment figures gave his challenger a window of opportunity. Suddenly Romney was a man with a spring in his step.
This could quite clearly be seen in the first television debate where he trounced a sleep walking President who had maybe underestimated his opponent and paid a heavy price at the polls his massive lead eradicated overnight. The candidates were now running neck and neck.
Romney started the second debate like a man who meant business nailing Obama on several key issues but more especially the budget deficit and the war on terror. However the pendulum swung back in favour of Obama when he managed to get Romney on the ropes on foreign policy. The third debate was the president’s by a distance but still the polls stayed the same with no candidate gaining a significant advantage.
However sometimes politics are shaped by events, and in the last week of campaigning one such event may have played a part not so much in securing Obama’s victory but maybe in reassuring those wavering voters who had voted Obama in 2008 and who wanted to vote for him again but were having last minute doubts that they would be right to support him again.
Everyone agreed that Obama handled the hurricane as well as could be expected dealing with it professionally and not exploiting it for political gain.
This to me showed the statesmanlike qualities Americans expect from their president and may have helped give him a wee boost in the final few days of campaigning.
I do believe however that though the economy media and public perception of the candidates were other important factors in play. In the most polarised election for years. This was in many ways a referendum on the direction the people wanted America to take. The choice was a brand of right wing Conservatism which would see America walk a more narrow road in which people would view success purely in terms of finance abf social status or a liberal progressive America where women and LGBT Americans would have greater equality in a more inclusive nation and the land of the free would live up to its name.
In the end sanity prevailed and Barak Obama was re-elected to serve the People of the United States of America as their President. As I said earlier I’ve never been his greatest fan but I am glad the American people have chosen hope over fear and given the President the chance to finish what he started. This will not be easy especially since the Republicans kept control of the house of representatives though the Democrats did retain the senate.
All things considered however the Republicans will be disappointed that they never won this election. This is particularly true at a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty when Uncle Sam is no longer as sure he once was of his place in the world.
So what now for Republicans? Where do they go from here? Well from what I heard from some of the analysts there seemed to be a disconnect between the Republican leadership and the ordinary voters on social and cultural issues such as equality and inclusion. One commentator said the party was too stale pale and male and it certainly tended to rely on older white men for its core vote.
There is no doubt that the perceived hostility towards women’s rights and LGBT issues has alienated those groups and also discouraged younger people from voting for them. However perhaps the most telling remark of the evening came from the Mayor of LA who said you can’t win an election in 2012 with policies for 1812.
This election was won by the Incumbent President at a very difficult time in America’s history. However there is no doubt that no matter who won victory at this election has come at a price. The sense of national unity. for which America has always been famous has been tarnished by this election. America needs a president who can heal the wounds opened by this contest, these wounds show the scares of divided states in a dis united nation they will take time to heal and the President I have no doubt will address them as he attempts to unify a nation battered not only by adverse economic circumstances but two very contrasting visions of the American way of life.
Having secured his re-election Obama’s thoughts will now turn to his legacy. What will be the America he will be known for when history tells his story. If I’m honest I don’t know the answer to that question & neither does he, but it is my hope that he will be remembered for being the President who not only built a coalition for change but who showed the world that if you really believe in something the American Dream can still become the American reality and that liberty lives on in the land of the free. In the early hours of Wednesday morning America had spoken and the President kept his job he must now get on with his job governing not just for those who voted for him but in the interests of all Americans.
Love And Best Wishes