Truly, there is craziness going on in the US presidential race that baffles the mind. Forty-seven days (47) days before the election, the presidential race is still a tie. A contest which is expected to be handily won by the Democrats who punch on the current administration has become a fierce battle giving the Republicans a good chance to win. Let me offer clues as to why Americans appear to have “short memories” like the Filipinos. I will let you decide.
1. The frustration of the Americans over politics crosses beyond party lines. Both the Republicans and Democrats have made errors in their decisions. They have blame to share The undecided voters can’t easily align in any of them. Many criticize Pres. George Bush, but the public also complains against the “do-nothing” Congress (dominated by Democrats) whose public approval rating is less than half of poor satisfaction rating of Pres. George W. Bush hyped by the media.
2. There are Democrats who believe they committed a strategic mistake in choosing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. With a strong political base, Hillary, much more experienced than Obama is thought to be a better and wiser choice. The inexperienced, but articulate Obama has little to offer other than the promises voters have heard since the start. Rejecting Hillary who has good counsel from Pres. Bill Clinton, Obama raises questions on his capacity to decide at “3 o’clock AM” once he becomes president. If Obama chose Hillary as his running mate, his chance of winning is better. Hillary carries a wide gender vote which can counter-balance the popularity of Sarah Palin.
3. The issues at stake in the presidential election are many. Topping the list are the economy, healthcare, social security, taxation, education, illegal immigration, religion, abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, war against terrorism, homeland security. These issues confuse a lot of voters. There are those who decide on a candidate based on one or two of these (not all.) A large number rely on their gut feeling in choosing their candidate.
4. The public is aware of biased information spread around by the media. Newspapers, TV, cable, radio, internet and other media are dominated by left-leaning, secular, anti-Bush, anti-Republican and anti-American personalities. Fighting against conservatism, these partisan liberals are more interested to advance their beliefs rather than be fair and balanced.
5. The liberals and secular progressive have substantial support from movie stars, comedians and teachers in the academe. It is mainly from them that the world forms its perceptions about America. Harboring anti-American sentiments, the outside world can easily get the mindset of those in the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN, and CBS just as the Arab world gets the mindset of Al Jazeera. Manipulation of information to suite an agenda is evident.
6. The conservatives and religious right who generally identify with the Republicans pose a “traditional” way of looking at things that many Americans can’t easily brush aside. Liberal Democrats have a hard time convincing a large portion of America to embrace socialism (vs. capitalism,) abortion, gay marriage, illegal migration, a welfare state, and cynicism against religion.
7. The longer Obama and McCain stay on the campaign trail, the stronger the public doubts Obama. This has been suggested by the polls which show a neck-and-neck competition up to this point. If Americans believe Obama is truly fit to be president, by this time, he could have a huge headway over McCain. With a wide support from the media, he should win hands down. Yet, it hasn’tt happened. Obama can have the financial crisis on his side, but he has to convince the public that he can solve it. The doubt on his leadership remains an obstacle he must overcome.
8. Personal attacks between candidates have been hurled on both sides. But the irrationality, intensity, and number of venomous blows by Democrats against Sarah Palin make her more popular. This worries a lot of Democrats. Earlier in the campaign they are very confident winning over the Republicans, not until Palin enters the race. According to a recent poll, the negative advertisement of the Obama campaign is far more than in the McCain’s.
9. A clearer understanding of platforms is emerging. Obama’s plan looks very good at first glance, but as Americans get closer, a different picture emerges. The public isn’t quite ready to elect a government that is too liberal without a counterbalance from moderates and conservatives. ( See the comparison of Obama-McCain platforms I posted earlier in the blog)
10. Americans compare reality with what both parties tell them. There are exaggerations that do not escape the attention of the electorate. Some issues ascribed against a candidate may not necessarily his own doing. He can only be guilty by association, but not of fact. While USA admits to heavy problems to tackle, it isn’t as bad as Zimbabwe or Somalia as some politicians make them look. The race divide, poverty, conflict between social classes, joblessness, pessimism, and despair in America aren’t that dire. Yes, the problems are bad, but that’s so easy to understand if one comes from a Third World country. =0=