As someone who has US President Barack Obama as her Facebook profile picture, it is probably pretty obvious that I wanted him to be elected to a second term in the oval office. Supporting Obama also means that I have to fend off criticisms from the roughly 60 million Americans who voted for Republican Mitt Romney, not to mention right-wing Canadians.
According to recent National Post poll, the latter aren’t as numerous as people might think. Out of 1,735 randomly selected Canadians 18 or older, 78 per cent would have voted for Obama.
The National Post goes even further to break that number down by age, sex and (Canadian) federal party preference. Not surprisingly, more Conservatives would have voted for Romney than members of any other political party. However, the number of right-leaning Canadians who would have voted for Obama is still high.
So what makes Obama and Romney so seemingly different, and Obama so appealing to Canadians?
It’s not just about the “left” or the “right” anymore. The political parties’ rhetoric and ideology have become blurred so that “left” and “right” have much weaker meanings than they did even 50 years ago. These changing battle lines were evident in Romney’s campaign as he flip-flopped on issues to garner support. How many votes did he lose because of it? Flip-flopping only makes it easier for voters to see politicians as disingenuous (I know, a shocking discovery of Romney).
We know what Obama’s goals are: to improve the economy and to provide a better safety net for citizens, and he has not deviated far from these aims. Granted, he tried some things in his first term that didn’t work, but the fact remains that you know what he wants to achieve. Working his way up from little, Obama does not believe that the one per cent should be given that power. Everyone knows this.
This is also why he is on the side of the 99 per cent. He wants to bring in beneficial social programs. He actually cares about hurricane victims in the wake of the recent superstorm that ravaged the Eastern seaboard.
It was obvious from the election coverage that the Republicans had no agenda other than to upset the Democrats. They had the obvious right-wing stances on abortion and gay marriage but they did not have a solid statement on what they would do if they got into office.
Obama’s “socialist” programs are the biggest fear among Republican voters, the majority of whom are older. This matches the Cold War-era viewpoint that socialism leads to communism.
Using Canada as a model, “socialism” is not exactly a bad thing. It has brought us universal, single-payer health care, the belief that everybody deserves the same basic opportunities, and unions, which have been very beneficial to labourers in the business world.
I do not envy any politician, and even as a political studies major, I do not want their jobs. To make over 300 million American people happy is not an easy job. To provide as much benefit to as many people as you can is the goal, but unfortunately that measurement is very arbitrary.
Correction 17/11/2012: An earlier version of this article suggested that “roughly 70 million” Americans voted for Mitt Romney. It has been updated to a more accurate “roughly 60 million.”
Photo: Christopher Dilts/Flickr