So here we are the votes have been counted and verified and it’s official Obama has done it once again! I remember being at home for the 2008 election and my mother sobbing with joy at the result. I wasn’t 100%sure what was going on, but I knew history had been made. Fast forward four years and here I am at University studying Politics and International Relations. This time around we were in a bar with a large screen, nachos and enthusiasm accompanied by fierce debates over who would and should win. Election fever is second to none, America is big and the elections are no different, this cycle Romney spent $984 billion dollars with Obama closely following with $927 billion. The total of all of the 2012 election races –including the House, Senate and State governor elections accumulated to $6 billion dollars. Clearly the spending is high, but the stakes are even higher.
It hasn’t been an easy ride for Obama, he inherited a failing economy after the crisis, two wars with the added pressure of a divided congress following the 2010 midterms .But he’s done well, the troops have left Afghanistan, healthcare has been passed and the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 has been signed. Through all of which he has remained were done hugely popular, not just in America, but across the world! MSN UK carried out a poll of the world and in all of the countries Obama was the preferred choice for president excluding China.
There is no doubt that this was an election about the economy. Sky news reported that for 60% of Americans the economy was the most important issue, whilst 17% felt it was healthcare. Crucially 34% of Americans felt that their family finances were better in 2012 than they were four years ago, a truly positive indication. At 12.30 (GMT) Ohio was announced-now as they say as Ohio goes so goes the nation, it was getting tense, Romney had 19 Electoral College votes and Obama had 3, but once Ohio was called a collective sigh of relief was released. Now for those who don’t follow American Politics-presidential elections are complex, in the sense that the popular vote is converted into Electoral College votes. Each state is worth a certain amount based on population for some the proportion is tiny such as Wyoming- which has only 3 Electoral College votes, whereas California has 55.What does this mean for the candidates? Well support must be deep as well as wide, Romney won lots of states but they were smaller ones that didn’t have as many Electoral College votes. As is illustrated by the popular vote result and the Electoral College vote result. Obama won 59,583,302 in the popular vote which equated to 303 ECVS, meanwhile Romney won 56,960,530 of the popular vote-equalling 206 ECVS. Romney did win Florida which is worth 29 Electoral College votes. But Obama won the swing states-Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and Virginia. They’re called the battleground states for a reason as these are where the votes really count.
As previously mentioned-this election cycle was very costly, but American elections always are. What is more interesting to note is the fact that 1/3rd of Obama’s donations came from small individual contributions, whilst Romney’s election income was sourced from large individual or business contributions. Obama mobilised the young vote, a vote which he captured in 2008 and has retained ever since. In 2012 60% of young people aged 18-29 voted for Obama. A massive triumph, the sentiments with which young people identify were summed up perfectly in his victory speech “The idea is that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight” You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try!.” Now that is the American Dream.
BY: Yasmin Levy-MIller