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L'Espresso, Italy

Obama Makes History

By Antonio Carlucci

Translated By Juliana DiBona

6 November 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer

Italy - L'Espresso - Original Article (Italian)

After the victory came the big party in Chicago. And during the second term, without the fear of losing consensus, Obama can accomplish many of his promises that had kindled hope for many four years ago — in America and around the world.

Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney and now has four more years in the White House. He won, as predicted, but without shadow. And he celebrated in Chicago, his city, in the same place where he was when he won the 2008 presidential election. Obama won in the traditionally Democratic states and then won enough swing states, such as Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, to arrive at and surpass 270 electoral votes.

When it became certain that Obama had won at 11:19 pm (EST), the Empire State Building in New York was lit up in blue, the color of the Democrats. Upon the confirmation of the president, another piece of positive news came for the Democratic Party — that it is sure to maintain a majority in the Senate.

Therefore, the Obama era continues. But this second term will not be the same as the first. The economic crisis no longer bites the flesh of America. Albeit at a reduced speed, the recovery is surely happening, unemployment is falling slowly and the quarterly growth measured by GDP continues to be positive. His second term also will be different because Obama will have more liberty to take political action. In America it is said that every president spends his first term only thinking about how to be reelected, while during the second he thinks only about how to make history of his country.

The problems that Barack Obama has ahead of him could, if resolved, go down in history. Rebuilding the country that had literally folded from a financial crisis caused directly by the behavior of the world of Wall Street and by the culture that had emerged — namely, that wealth could essentially be produced by the paper of financial trading and not the production of goods and services useful to the community — can bring the president into history books alongside those who have made America great.

If Obama successfully reverses the route by which the land of the American Dream has increased inequalities among its citizens, which according to Nobel Prize winner and economist Joseph Stiglitz derives from the distortions of the market economy in which the ruling class failed and did not want to remedy its mistakes, Obama will be long remembered.

At the presidential desk in the Oval Office there will be more delicate matters. Afghanistan, with the promise to leave the war by 2014; Iran, with the problem of how to deal with Tehran’s nuclear race; the Middle East, with questions tied to the stabilization of states such as Egypt, Libya or Tunisia due to the Arab Spring; and the civil war in Syria. And then relations with Europe, which directly affects the question of the American economy through a single example: The E.U. stuck in an endless crisis means an immediate drop in U.S. exports to the continent that takes in 30 percent of these exports.

Barack Obama has four years ahead of him to show what he is worth without the problem of a permanent electoral campaign that has been the nightmare of presidents for 30 years. The one that ended with the vote on Tuesday, November 6, is the last of Obama’s political life. His future can include anything other than the race to the presidential office.

Obama’s victory erased with one stroke of a pen the talk of recent years that Obama was not capable of governing the economy, expressed by the challenge launched by ex-governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. The victory is the answer to the question: Americans are better off today than they were four years ago when the country arrived at the brink of the Great Recession. The electors responded positively and told Obama, without much emphasis, that 2012 is better with respect to 2008, when a semi-obscure African-American senator entered the White House.

Republicans hurl accusations at Obama, including the obsessive request for his birth certificate that would prove he was not born in America and therefore could not be president of a country that was becoming "European," a word that in the dictionary of conservative Republicans means "socialist" and losing results.

Certainly, the picture that emerges from this election depicts a deeply divided America, especially when one looks at the popular vote, which is the sum of the votes for each candidate at a national level, with respect to electoral votes. But this is the system that the Americans have used for a couple of centuries and that thus far has always been functional. It is based on the assumption that “The Winner Takes it All,” the winner takes the entire state, as recited in the refrain of the hit song by Abba.



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