The world wants Obama to be the next US President. This is probably attributed to more media exposures the Democrats were enjoying starting from the Obama-Clinton campaign. As a non-US citizen observing the upcoming Presidential elections of the United States of America, I could say Democrats Presidential bet Barak Obama got more media mileage than Republican’s John McCain since the pre-campaign period. Watching CNN, reading the papers – these mostly covered Obama-Clinton campaign trails, and only recently that John McCain enjoyed more or less a balanced attention by media.
While the world wants Obama to be the next US President, it is still not certain whether Americans want him to be President. While it seemed that many Americans speak of Obama as seen on cable TV – voting a President in the US is unlike voting a President in the Philippines. In the Philippines, everyone can vote, and the most popular candidate who gathered the most votes wins.
The US is using an indirect voting system – the citizens elect an “elector” who will represent them in electing the President. These electors, supposedly persons of integrity and wisdom form the so called Electoral College. Normally, these electors are associated with organizations, groups or tickets that support a particular candidate. And the ticket that wins the most votes get all the electoral votes for a particular State. Thus winning the US Presidency doesn’t need to be winning the most States but rather, win in States which have the majority of electoral votes. There are a total of 538 people elected to the US Electoral College, and a candidate has to win 270 of these electoral votes to win the Presidency. In the current stats, Obama is leading McCain 46-43, with 11% still not decided. That’s about 247 electoral votes for Obama, and about 231 for McCain. The remaining 60 electoral votes can still make either the President. The figures kept on changing lately, while Obama is advancing, McCain might be able to get a good run in the coming weeks.
Here are my personal observations why: WAR-PEACE:
Women. While many may disagree, but had Hillary Clinton won the Democrats’ nomination, it would certainly be a no-contest. The United States would have seen a Democrat, and its first woman president by November 2008. Obama has to win the hearts of many women, especially those older women. With Sarah Palin as McCain’s VP bet, it has become even more difficult for Obama to get a good nod with the women sector.
Age. Obama, in many instances, capitalized his age over McCain’s. While it is true that McCain is already 72 years old, Americans have voted older Presidents before. Ronal Reagan was already 73 years old when he won his second term. So, age won’t play too much factor in this election.
Race. Unfortunately, the issue on Race, color and religion is imminent in the campaigns. There are Asians for Obama, Blacks for Obama, Latinos for Obama, Catholics for Obama – but again the US Presidency is not won through popular votes, but rather through Electoral votes. While this may be sick for some people – but you could see many Americans are not yet ready to see a woman president, and much more a black President.
Patriot. Americans can be very passionate about one thing – patriotism. Obviously, John McCain, having a military background, and once a POW subjected to torture in Vietnam for five and a half years, easily gets the support of patriotic Americans, the older Americans and those retired service personnel.
Experience and of being smart. Obama is perhaps more intelligent and knows more than McCain, as what most of the Democrats suggest in their statements, Americans are not always voting for smarter candidate – remember Bush vs. Gore. Sarah Palin in her acceptance speech said that while Obama is promoting “Change” to bring about American progress, McCain will be using his experience to effect Change and bring progress to every American. I thought it was one of a strong statements of Palin that may reverberate in the ears of many Americans. Obama and Biden political careers were mostly on legislation in the US Senate, while McCain was a Congressman and served several terms in the Senate. Sarah Palin on the other hand, is governor of Alaska. The Republican nominees are becoming to be a good tandem for US Presidency and Vice Presidency to some people because of their experience in both administrative and legislative governance.
Authenticity. Nothing can beat a strong and authentic principle when it comes to make known of your stand on several issues. This is where McCain is leading over Obama. Despite popular anti-Iraq war sentiments among Americans, McCain is steadfast in his stand of supporting troops deployed in Iraq. Obama wanted to cut support for troops in Iraq and wanted an early withdrawal of troops – being an anti-Iraq war person himself. But as the Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman said of his endorsement of McCain, that McCain ensures all troops deployed in Iraq could go home with honor. Obama on the other hand is having a different stand regarding not to pull-out troops in Afghanistan. Both may have been doing some flip-flopping but Obama have several notable flip-flops, like abandoning his promise not to run his campaign with private funds, the renegotiation of the NAFTA, the war on Iraq among others.
Change. There is a favorite saying “don’t change horses in midstream”. America is having trouble with its economy lately, and people may realize that the best people to clean up the mess they’re having right now are the people who made those mess – in this case the Republicans. Americans may consider giving Republicans a chance through McCain, who seemed to be succesfully portraying himself to be an independent Republican out to clean its mess.
Economy. Perhaps the most important issue every American presidentiable is facing – what he will do to rescue the economy and revive great American prosperity. This is probably what makes or break a campaign. While it is true that with the current economic crisis, many voters have switched support to Obama, it maybe temporary. There is a popular saying, that when America is in depression, war is started somewhere in the world. While many Americans may disagree, but it is a common “belief” in many countries that America needs war in order to achieve economic balance and maintain its superpower status. McCain is known to support the war in Iraq, Obama promised to pull-out these troops soon as he gets elected.
Others are saying McCain is a good choice in times of crisis and war (America still feels it is continously receiving threats of terror attacks), while Obama could be great President during times of peace. What do you think?
These are my personal observations, and everyone is welcome to voice his/her opinion. This is not a prediction – but rather just my thoughts on how might McCain win the elections over Obama who is clearly leading the campaigns by a small margin.