by Chisanga Malata
With only 11 days until the US presidential elections many newspapers, news channels and bookmakers believe that Barack Obama is set become to President of the USA.
A poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS the day after the final presidential debate by on October 15th showed that the Democratic candidate had a 14% point lead over his rival from the Republican party John McCain. The 4th and final debate was more aggressive and a lot sharper in which the candidates stated their obvious divisions in their plans for the country.
With Senator Obama possessing such a substantial lead over John McCain many people believe that the election is now just a formality and that Barack Obama will become the first African American president of the United States. This view has been echoed by many bookmakers who have stopped taking bets on the outcome of the elections. But can the elections really be over already with 11 days still to go until the big day or is it still too early to write off John McCain.
The reasons behind Obama’s huge point percentage lead over McCain are varied but a major factor which has turned voters away from voting Republican is McCain’s and Sarah Palin’s preoccupation with denouncing Barack Obama as not worthy of leading the country and associating him with 1960’s radical William Ayers claiming that he was “palling around” with Mr. Ayers, instead of explaining how they are going to lead the US in this time of major economic turmoil. This is coupled with the anxiety and the deep mistrust of the Bush administration which has created a bad environment for Senator McCain’s campaign. Also the appointment of Sarah Palin as his running mate hasn’t won him many fans. Many Americans believe that she is too inexperienced and wouldn’t be able to step in as president if anything was to happen to the 72 year old John McCain if the Republicans won the race to the Oval office.
But it is not just the negative tactics of the Republican’s campaign, the failures of the previous Republican regime and the inexperience of Sarah Palin which has contributed to Obama’s big lead over them, these factors are coupled with Obama’s plans for the country, his plans to bring back the troops from Iraq, his motivational speeches which have been compared to Martin Luther King Jr, and his plans to tackle the economic crisis within the USA. Senator Obama’s recovery plan for the USA has had great success with middle class America, he proposed a two year tax break for businesses which in turn would create new jobs, and he also proposed penalty free withdrawals from retirement funds which have been long standing issues in the states. As part of his $56 billion plan Americans would see the introduction of a 90 day moratorium on repossession whilst homeowners are trying to keep up or pay off their mortgage repayments.
Putting all these reasons aside Obama represents change and progression and many people see him as a man who genuinely wants realistic change to better his country as his slogan says “Change we can believe in”. Although the Democrats have a healthy lead over their rivals it is not all doom and gloom for the Republicans.
The Republicans still stand a good chance of winning the election because of John McCain’s experience in government, traditional republican states, and Obama’s association with William Ayers because of Senator Obama’s ethnicity.
Many Republican voters will argue that Senator McCain’s political experience over his adversary will play a major part to play in the election. Senator McCain was elected to the senate in January 1987 where as Obama was elected to the senate in 1996. This 9 year difference in experience will prove pivotal say some republican voters. They will vote for McCain on the grounds that they think his experience and wisdom will be better than Obama’s if he becomes the president. McCain can still be optimistic that he can lead the Republicans to the house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue because of the states which traditionally vote Republican which are Florida, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. These states traditionally vote Republican and previous Democrat candidates have found it hard to do well in these states, although Obama seems to have done well in Ohio and Georgia but it will be hard for him to win the other notorious Republican states.
Senator McCain will no doubt draw again on Senator Obama’s connections with William Ayers in the next 11 days to try and gain voters. Williams Ayers was a former 1960’s anti-war activist who participated in planting a bomb dedicated to riot police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket Riot confrontation between labour supporters and the police, the blast broke 100 windows and pieces of the statue flew into a nearby building injury many people. McCain has already labeled Ayers a domestic terrorist and this association however little will affect Obama’s campaign.
The final and most obvious reason why Senator McCain still holds a fighting chance of winning the elections is because of Senator Obama’s ethnicity. As previously mentioned Barack Obama represents change and progression for African Americans, 50 years ago the possibility of a black man running for President of the USA would have been laughed at but due to the civil rights movement and hard work that is a real possibility. Although the majority of modern day America would accept an African American as their president there is a minority of Americans who will vote Republican because they do not want a black man to run their country. Voting Republican just because the Democrats candidate is African American is morally wrong but hundreds of thousands of Americans will do this. This proves to be the biggest threat to Obama becoming president.
So is Obama really a dead cert and is he already the president of the United States? It is still too early to say. We will have to wait until November 4th. No matter what any poll says there is always that threat of the Republicans gaining an unexpected win whether it is by the dislike of Barack Obama’s policies and his plans for the country or just because of the fact that he is an African American. If he is to lose this election hopefully it is not because of the latter.