Too Close to Call? A Lot Depends On How Individual Americans Think of Themselves
by Dan Ehrlich
The US presidential campaign is nearing an end with a record amount of money being spent mainly to get people to come out and vote.
In a way the American election is similar to the UK's in that no political party had really explained how an economic rebirth will take place when western fortunes are still tied hand and foot to the East, with no end to this in the distant future.
Upward of $2 billion will have been spent to build up interest among a growing disaffected mass of people who see little difference in candidates. Unheralded the big loser in this campaign is democracy.
On one hand there's a somewhat weak and beatable US presidential incumbent who hasn't made good on much of what he promised. Yet, the most popular opposition candidate to face him is an unemployed yet super rich gaff prone former governor who has no magic formula to lift the country to its former self, especially since some companies he owns have done their bit by sending American jobs overseas.
There's no real choice to excite the electorate...with the exception of Mormon voters who see one of their own, Mitt Romney, with a real chance to lead the nation.
In the end, the people have to decide which side they are on, who will benefit them the most. I suppose it comes down to whom the parties really represent. As Romney has said over and over: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago." This can be answered with another question: How will Romney make things better than they were four years ago? This comes back to a present day reality: No politician has the answer. Or at least they won't talk about the hard reality of declining economic power.
Since the post Civil War period the Republican Party has represented big business, industry and most importantly Wall Street. This hasn't changed, the party's packaging has.
After the Watergate scandal destroyed GOP credibility a re-branding campaign under Ronald Regan took place ...on one hand he stressed the religious and family values that had been the bedrock of American culture. This came after the wild and morally ambiguous 60's and 70s. And while a large section of the country could readily understand these concepts, less well understood was Reagan economic policy.
In a few years his pension for deregulation and love of supply-side economics began the rapid destruction of the US industrial and economic base (a similar scenario on a smaller scale was happening in Britain under Margaret Thatcher). Yet, every president since Reagan, Democrats and Republicans, have never meddled or changed this policy. And that's why nothing Romney or Obama say or promise will encroach on the US position in the global market.
On the other side of the coin, the Democrats have long been champions of the people. They tend to put the ordinary citizens first...except, as I said, when it comes to meddling with the global market. Most progressive laws enacted since 1900 have been created by Democrat politicians for the benefit of the people.
So, stripping away all the family value packaging, dislike of gays and abortion, if you are a lover of Wall Street and big business, Romney is your man. If you aren't, than Obama will be for you.
Even though Romney is ahead in some polls, I feel Obama will squeeze by on his base of minorities and ordinary people who have no faith in wealthy politician with minimal experience. Also, Romney's appeal to the extreme right is a turn-off to many more rational voters. As much as I see Obama as a disappointment, I still feel he would be the lesser of two evils. And, many voters will see it the same way.