The Fall

Tuesday’s elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives will contradict that overused refrain of American politics: “The economy, stupid.” Obama isn’t on any of the ballots, comments Charles Blow, a columnist for The New York Times, but “he will most certainly be on them in spirit.” And the voters do not like their president much at the end of his second term; his popularity ratings, at 40 percent, are at a level that Francois Hollande could only dream of; yet, they are still more than mediocre compared to other American heads of state. His citizens have shown him little gratitude for his work on the recovery in economic growth, drop in unemployment, and even less so for “Obamacare,” the first universal health plan. The young president of 2008 has disappointed, and the country condemns what is perceived to be a lack of leadership, notably on the international stage. His Republican opposition, more spiteful and hateful than ever, has made him into the scorned symbol of Washington and the federal state — an easy means of driving off a divided and uncertain America. Black, liberal, urban, he represents all that a segment of the population detests. Obama has also lost many from his traditionally black, Hispanic, working-class base, who are still waiting for the desired change. In the electoral history of the country, Obama will not be the first president to be punished in this way — Reagan and even Clinton, in 1994, lost heavily. It didn’t hinder their party’s victory in the following presidential elections.

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