The defeat of the president of the United States in the recent elections, over and above what was expected, goes far beyond the usual explanations of political marketing.
The news of the Republican majority in the House and the Senate, between 19 and 20 new seats, is complete with its control over three more gubernatorial seats than they previously had, some of which historically belonged to the Democrats, such as Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the president’s approval rating fell from 54 to 42 points between December 2012 and last week.
This is a story in which a president with the best possible results after the crisis which began in 2008, and which has still not come to an end, has badly lost the elections. The New York Times made clear the paradox of a defeated mandate with “A slow but steadily improving economy – with six months of strong growth, gasoline below $3 a gallon for the first time in four years and substantial deficit reduction.” [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/04/us/politics/midterm-election-polls-point-to-a-late-night.html?_r=0] In addition, it should be noted that the unemployment rate, at 5.9 percent, is the lowest it has been in recent years.
That description can be supplemented by a brief comparative analysis: the United States recorded a growth of 3.5 percent in the third quarter after having achieved 4.6 percent in the second quarter; and the corporate stocks continue to rise, while Europe anticipates a figure of 1.1 percent in 2015. After the crisis, time has given President Obama and his policies reason for expanding public spending, harshly criticized by Republicans who have won the elections. The electorate is not very rational and has a poor memory; it has completely forgotten the financial bubble, which was the origin of this crisis and occurred under ex-President Bush’s term of office.
The perception of voters is another thing: with the abundance of negative news stories, such as those caused by Ebola or the Islamic State, nearly 70 percent of voters agreed that the economy is performing badly. Low morale and fear conspire against Obama.
Many analysts have associated the defeat with the initial problems he had with health reform, the failure to provide Hispanic voters with in-depth immigration reform, and his indecision in the face of key issues. They also attribute defeat to Republican response to the use of information technology for election purposes, a current extension of political marketing which served the Democratic president well in previous elections.
There may be an element of truth in each of them, but Obama’s defeat is better explained by the natural wear and tear of governments in this era of globalization in which, in almost all countries, governments find it increasingly difficult to collect taxes and manage public spending in order to reduce imbalances, which is the essence of the Democratic agenda. In practice, many companies operating close to fraud “evade” taxes in the countries in which they operate by establishing secret pacts with governments that charge less, something that has just been demonstrated by a research consortium of investigative journalists from ICIJ, which has shown this to be the case with Pepsi, Amazon and hundreds of other multinationals. Those who do not play the game are at a disadvantage.
Voters listened to simple proposals, like which tax reductions generate more jobs and what are unnecessary “expenses” of the state. Basically, that is the promise which has defeated President Obama, even though the voters are not well-informed. So, will it be a Democratic United States or something else? As things stand, the imminent candidate, Hillary Clinton, has less than two years to answer this question and convince the masses that it will not be a third term for Obama.
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