Republican Agenda Gives Obama the Edge (Excelsior, Mexico)
depends on the effective dismantling of a Republican agenda that is so regressively
extremist that it offends the political intelligence of a large portion of the
U.S. population, which has shown in the recent past signs of moderation and a
desire to leave behind the political parochialism that the Romney-Ryan duo represents."
Today, with Wednesday's debate between Obama and Romney
behind us, we can see the outline of a final outcome in what has long been a very
close race for the White House. The polls, which generally succeed in
predicting U.S. presidential races, have changed since the first debate in
Denver on October 5th. Before that, Obama had a seven-points lead over his rival,
which was lost thanks to Obama's lack of clarity and lamentably low profile in
Denver. Although certainly changeable, the polls predict an uncertain outcome.
Real Clear Politics says the race is technically a draw, placing both
candidates at 47 percent; Rasmussen gives Romney 49 to Obama's 48; Gallup gives
Romney 49 vs. Obama's 47; and Fox News
gives Romney 46 to Obama's 45. On the other hand, Político
puts Obama at 49 and Romney at 48; IBD puts both at 47
percent, and ABC News gives Obama 49
and Romney 46. In sum, these percentages are so close that that the race looks
like a dead heat.
So what happened to change things so dramatically in such a
short period of time? How did a campaign as disorganized, chaotic and
schizophrenic as Romney’s, manage to make such a comeback? Further still, how
is it that a president suffering through an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent
and a still unresolved economic crisis, which has continued for many months, continues
to dominate in the so-called swing states?
For example, in Iowa, Obama leads Romney 48-46, in Nevada Obama
leads 48-46, in New Hampshire he's ahead 48-47, in Wisconsin (Paul Ryan’s
state) Obama leads 50-47, in Virginia 48-47, in Ohio 48-46, in Michigan 48-44,
and in Pennsylvania 49-44. These states, in addition to Florida, where the two
appear tied, are critical to winning the race, as they comprise a total of 93 votes
in the Electoral College, which ultimately decides the outcome. These votes are
the difference needed to ensure Obama the 270 electoral votes needed to win, or
conversely, for Romney to win (although his margin of victory will be smaller).
On the other hand, speculation has begun on the possibility
that one could win the popular vote (Romney) and the other (Obama) the
electoral, and therefore the presidency. All of which presents a scenario
similar to 2000, when Gore defeated
Bush in the popular vote, but lost in the Electoral College. Given the many
election irregularities in Florida, the crisis was settled by the Supreme
Court. Although not as dramatic as 2000, there were similar cases in 1824 and
1877. And of course, let's not forget the big surprise of Harry Truman, who
against all odds managed to get reelected in 1948; or Jimmy Carter, who as
president, miserably lost his fight for reelection to Reagan in 1980. For many
observers, Obama’s case recalls 1948, 1980 and 2000. His is, however, quite a
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While Obama faces serious disadvantages, having lost his
status as the favorite, his popularity among independents (ahead by six
points), women (53 percent), Latinos (75 percent), African American (99 percent),
most gay people, young people and students, and with 47 percent of people thinking
the country is headed in the right direction (the same as when Bush was
reelected), it is not a terribly adverse scenario for reelection.
Of course, all of this is stated assuming that in the 20
days until the election, Obama doesn't throw away the advantages of his
charisma, his oratorical gifts, his capacity to lay out arguments clearly and
his technical rationality.
Thus, Obama’s performance and campaign will depend, first of
all, on the continuity of what has been conceived of as a historic presidency
of modernization. Second, it depends on the effective dismantling of a
Republican agenda that is so regressively extremist that it offends the
political intelligence of a large portion of the U.S. population, which has
shown in the recent past signs of moderation and a desire to leave behind the
political parochialism that the Romney-Ryan duo represents.
*José Luis ValdésUgalde is a researcher and professor
at the National Autonomous University of Mexico
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