Monday, November 03, 2008

All Change

"Meanwhile, the possibility of the US electing a first black President has increased thanks to the rapidly growing groundswell of support for Barack Obama, the new political superstar of the left." (New York Addick, Nov 2006)

An interminable electoral campaign ends tomorrow when the talking can finally stop, and in all likelihood Barack Obama will become the 44th President of the United States in waiting.

Although Obama's mere presence has made it a memorable electoral campaign, at some levels it has been a disappointment. Discussion of the issues rarely gets more than an inch deep, with both candidates guilty of repeating tabloid style 'impact' messages, dreamt up by policy wonks lurking in the background.

It is an amazing story. Unless the pollsters have got it terribly wrong, Obama will have defeated two of the most efficient electoral machines in the US, the Republican Party and the Clintons. He will have defeated them with an even more efficient campaign of his own.

McCain's hopes have taken a battering from the financial meltdown that accelerated in September, with swing voters viewing it as a suitable final legacy of eight disastrous years under Bush.

Sarah Palin meanwhile, far from being the energetic leftfield choice to galvanise the Republican party, has become an acute and often embarrassing liability, revealed whenever she attempts to discuss issues not dear to her fellow Alaskans.

Interestingly, approximately one third of likely voters will already have cast their ballot before Tuesday. In a sense therefore, the election may already be sewn up although we will have to wait until all polls close before the TV networks can 'call' the result. Memories will still be fresh of the 2000 broadcasting shambles when Florida was 'called' for Al Gore.

McCain can certainly still pull it off, although his campaign has become increasingly narrow, essentially conceding every single state won by John Kerry in 2004 except for Pennslyvania.

His campaign has thus focused on securing the narrowest of victories, by picking up enough of the smaller swing states by the tiniest of margins. However his problem is that the polls are suggesting that even some previously 'solid' Republican states (eg. Virginia, Georgia) are potentially 'in play', thus draining his meagre campaigning resources.

Obama was always likely to energise young urban voters, but he has skillfully avoided alienating core swing voters through either his rhetoric or policies. The Republicans have increasingly desperately thrown everything at him, and nothing has stuck.

McCain is a decent man and a brave soldier, but his tired speeches and monotone voice compare badly to Obama's inspirational message. And he has appeared totally out of his depth when discussing the economic challenges facing average Americans.

Tomorrow promises to be a special day for America, and I'm excited to be here to witness it in a city where the vast majority are backing Obama. Many will remain excited even when their first Obama-inspired tax bill arrives, which I find a strangely reassuring phenomenon.

His rise from humble origins to the White House, would represent proof that the concept of 'American dream' still exists, whilst his ascendancy can begin to repair America's damaged reputation in the world.

He will inherit enormous challenges, and his soaring oratory will have to give way to honest hard work. The broken healthcare system, dysfunctional housing market and enormous foreign policy issues will not be solved in four years, let alone one.

Like Bill Clinton before him in 1992, he will hope the economy's recovery concides with his second campaign so voters let him build on progress made first time around.

Despite the likelihood of a Democratic sweep of the White House and Congress, he will be wise to build bridges with the Republicans to mend the obvious divisions that exist within the electorate. There are huge swathes of the country whose mood will be far from celebratory on Tuesday night.

NY Addick predicts: Obama 337, McCain 201.


At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the title of piece NYA, and just for a minute my heart leapt......

Pembury Addick

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous newyorkaddick said...

Obama is only 17 days younger than Alan Pardew so maybe it'll be a case of 'one in, one out' from the summer of 1961 generation this week?

At 4:46 PM, Blogger North London Addick said...

Come on NYA... where's your attendance prediction?

Standards are slipping...

At 6:00 PM, Blogger bristol addick said...

For once in my life, looking for the blues to win, not the reds! My prediction is 311 Obama, 227 McCain.

Saturday at Plymouth, who knows?

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Grant Park in Chicago is already booked for one of it's biggest ever political shin-digs starting tomorrow at 5pm. And it's had a few. Barack for me, of course.


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