Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Russia
Barack Obama’s Difficult Victory
Translated By Sierra Perez-Sparks
29 December 2012
Edited by Rachel Smith
Russia - Nezavisimaya Gazeta - Original Article (Russian)
“I will be the president of all Americans,” Barack Obama promised when it was announced that he won November’s presidential election. Ahead was a new four-year term in the White House and a great desire to leave his mark on history. Behind was an exhausting campaign that will not be forgotten.
The campaign was a long, trying and expensive one: Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney spent a billion dollars from private sources on campaign activities. The candidates’ PR campaigns focused on airing negative material about the other candidate, which reflected the intensity of the confrontation between the two sides.
The severity of the fight was directly related to the particularities of the country’s current situation. The aftermath of the 2008-2010 crisis, which is far from resolved, led to debate over what the country’s economic policy should be. Republican politicians, among them the Republican presidential candidate, accused the current president of compounding the country’s problems. They demanded less government interference in the economy and spending on social programs and refused to carry out Obama’s healthcare reform. Obama defended the reform and the current approach to the economy, including the government’s active role in overcoming the crisis. He suggested that the budget gap be filled by an income tax increase on the most prosperous citizens.
U.S. political analysts have observed that in recent decades, presidents have not been reelected when unemployment surpasses eight percent. Over the course of almost this entire year, the rate was higher than eight percent, although closer to the election it dropped to 7.9 percent and then to 7.8 percent. However, the economic situation cannot be fully described by one indicator. Overall, the economy improved during this time, and Americans felt this. The Republican calculation that voter dissatisfaction with the situation would grow did not materialize.
The majority of voters across the country supported Obama, and this was more noticeable in swing states, where voting was decisive. The votes of women and minorities ensured his success. In contrast, white men and more affluent members of society tended to prefer Romney. It turns out that the fear Romney expressed to his sponsors was justified: Obama won the votes of those Americans who depend on the government’s social programs. He estimated that they constitute 47 percent of the population, but, as it turned out, there are more of them.
Barack Obama received a mandate to continue the course that he laid out when he was elected for the first time. Two tasks now await him: to complete the reorganization of the healthcare system and to ensure continued economic growth.
Obama’s success is obvious, but also obvious is that the conflict between the two political camps, Democrats and Republicans, remains. The latter retained their majority in the House of Representatives, and this will create obstacles for cooperation between the White House and Congress.
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