Having been to America in the recent months, I have seen first hand how rapidly the economy is declining and the enormity of the social divide. It is shocking to see what state the country is in. At the helm of this mixing pot of crises is Barack Obama, America’s first African American President. Rising to unparalleled fame on the slogan and election promise for immediate change, little has actually reached average American families.
That’s not to say that Obama hasn’t tried to implement major changes, ‘Obamacare’ being amongst the most memorable. However, mere attempts at fixing the country’s appalling state are not enough to get him re-elected.
The main issues of this election campaign will be those that affect the lives of everyday Americans, they will not focus so much on things like border protection and foreign affairs, but rather the state of the economy, taxes, healthcare and jobs. This may be damaging for Obama as the economy has disintegrated whilst he has been in office. Known as the ‘rockstar’ President, it may not be enough to get re-elected just on his popularity with the younger generation. The killing of Osama Bin Laden last year will work heavily in his favour when issues such as security and defence come into play. It also remains to be seen whether Obama can once again mobilise the African American vote as he once did in 2008.
Obama’s opponent has already been selected by the Republican Party. And this time, it’s a tough one. To win, Obama needs to get his hands dirty. Viral videos and pep rallies are going to do little against the GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
Romney has had an easy campaign so far, being the most popular candidate for the presidency since the beginning of the primaries. With the only other potential Rick Santorum bowing out due to personal reasons, the former Governor of Massachusetts has seen some smooth sailing without any real competition from any other candidates. Despite this, Obama still holds a significant edge over Romney for the race to win the necessary 270 votes to become President. Victory will come to whomever can carry the nine swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia.
Campaign revenue figures for March show that Obama with a total of $196 million has ten times the cash available as Mitt Romney. With over 53% of the DNC funding coming in through donations of $200 or under it shows that Obama still has the support of middle american families, despite the hardships they are enduring.
Last week President Obama officially came out in support of same-sex marriage, having before expressed support for civil unions but stopping short of agreeing that same-sex couples should be allowed the same privileges as heterosexual couples. Whether this is an attempt to win the vote of undecideds within liberal states, to shift focus from the campaign issues that Obama will lose on, or just simply because the President’s views have ‘evolved’ over the last few years will remain unknown. Announcing them on such a controversial issue at a time like this, is quite suspicious. It is tactics like this that will help Obama win the next election.
It will have to be dirty. It is simply not possible that Obama can win on the clean hope-filled image he projected throughout his last campaign. Now that he has served one term as President with little change to the economy, it will be hard to dazzle voters with his charisma alone. Despite this gloomy outlook, there is still a significant chance he can win.