State of the Economy as the Dominant Issue in Presidential Election 2008
Americans had been asked even before the presidential elections of 2008 about issues that may influence their votes. The majority of prospective voters, that is, eighty-seven percent of those that had participated in the research, had indicated that the current state of the U. S. economy would definitely influence their votes. The second most important issue happened to be energy, backed by seventy-seven percent of the research participants (“More Americans Question Religion’s Role In Politics”).
Unsurprisingly, President-elect Obama had indicated before the elections that his Number One priority in the office of president of the United States would be to “build a new alternative-energy economy,” combining the two dominant issues in the minds of the prospective voters (Klein). Once it was determined that Barack Obama would, indeed, assume the role of U. S. president, that is, a manager of the prosperity of the nation, voters in the presidential election 2008 were asked about the dominant issue to have influenced their votes.
The response was not quite different. The current state of the U. S. economy was declared the most important issue to have influenced American votes for the new president. In fact, at least six out of ten voters participating in the research reported that the economic recession of 2008 is the most significant problem facing America today (“Inside Obama’s Sweeping Victory”). To put it another way, President-elect Obama was seen as most capable of handling the financial crisis facing the nation.
Philip Elliott writes that “Barack Obama tapped into Ohio voters’ fears about the economy and their desire for change (Elliott). ” Ohio was, of course, an important state for the election of George W. Bush. They had backed him because of the values they believed he personified. This time they backed Barack Obama because of the financial crisis facing the country (Elliott). Barack Obama was promising change to America. Nathan Gonzales of the Rotherberg Political Report states that “the American electorate was really primed for change (Young).
Bill Clinton and Al Gore had entered the White House with a program for economic renewal (Conason). As the leader of their Democratic Party now, President-elect Obama is expected to continue their legacy and help America retrieve its prosperity. Joe Conason writes that economic programs created by the Democrats usually succeed in promoting economic growth because they tend to “distribute national wealth more widely than the Republican tradition of trickle-down (Conason). ” This is backed by statistics, according to the author.
Thus, Americans are expecting Barack Obama to somehow turn the current economic recession into economic growth. If America were facing a period of political turmoil in the form of major terrorist threats this year, perhaps the majority of voters would have supported a president like George W. Bush who promised them protection against terrorism. But, times have changed. Nowadays, Americans are more concerned about their personal financial security (“Inside Obama’s Sweeping Victory”). Values of George W.
Bush – representing the Republican Party for the past eight years as the moral leader of the nation – cannot help America recover from financial anxieties. This is the main reason why John McCain, despite his strong background in politics, was not chosen as America’s darling in the presidential election 2008. He reminded the Americans of George W. Bush (Young). Barack Obama, on the contrary, is expected to help America change in a positive direction, following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton. After all, America was economically healthy in the Clinton era.
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