My Prediction for the Election
As election day is now upon us, I will weigh in with my prediction as to who will win the presidential election, why that will be so and how it came about. Predicting the outcome of an election, particularly one that is so emotionally charged, is risky. In any case, here is what I predict:
I predict that Barack Obama will be elected the next President of the United States, principally upon a wave of disapproval of the status quo by a great many voters. Given the unmitigated disaster of the last eight years, with the seemingly unending no-win, undeclared wars, and with fears of an economic collapse, it is understandable that voters look to someone who is the “un-Bush” to “rescue” the country from this mess, and that candidate is Barack Obama. Of course it is all an illusion, as Obama is as beholden to the lucrative corporate interests as Bush and McCain are. But so many voters are just fed up, and they are not in the mood to risk “another eight years of Bush” by voting for McCain. Even a fair number of erstwhile Republicans seem to be in the mood to punish their party by voting for Obama, which undoubtedly inflicts more pain than voting third party.
McCain might have had a better chance at winning had he decided to oppose, on principle, the $700 billion bailout. I almost thought he just might do that, given his supposed credentials as a fiscal conservative. But, true to form, “bipartisanship” won out with McCain, and I think he pretty well undermined his credibility with quite a few undecided voters who were disgusted with the whole thing. Some of those same people who were destined to vote for Obama seem to have been willing to overlook Obama’s support for the bailout, simply because he isn’t Bush or part of the Bush administration.
Many observers, myself included, thought that perhaps McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin was a brilliant move that would almost ensure a McCain victory by reuniting the Republican party base, especially given the not-overly enthusiastic reception of Obama’s selection of Joseph Biden. However, it seems that Palin hasn’t played so well with those outside of the party base whose support McCain needs in order to win. The Palin choice may turn out to have been a big gamble, and it will be interesting to see whether or not it really will have made much of difference in the outcome one way or the other.
Back to Obama, I think the cult of personality will have played a significant role in getting people out to the polls to vote for him. Like it or not, most people do not vote based on philosophy, but rather they vote based on personalities, or on how the candidates “connect” with them and identify with their personal “needs”. This is to be expected in a culture that looks to government as the solution to most problems. McCain is just a pretty hard person for a lot of people to like, besides the fact that he has an “R” after his name. He has failed to connect with voters on an emotional level the way Obama has. McCain seems unable to convincingly “feel the pain” of voters in the way Bill Clinton claimed to. If anything, Sarah Palin seems to have done much better with that, and most of the enthusiasm that does exist for the McCain-Palin ticket seems to be largely on account of Palin.
McCain will do well in some “red-state” areas, such as my state of Alabama, also due to the “fear factor”. That is, many people down here seem to be “scared to death” of an Obama presidency, and they cite socialism, or “weakness” on “the war on terror”, or support for abortion rights as an issue of dread. These concerns ignore the other side of the coin, that a McCain presidency will hardly be much different in these areas. It all comes down to emotion. It’s very interesting to me how many people down here are voting for McCain as “the lesser of evils”. It’s a sad commentary on just how far the Republican party has strayed from the principles it once stood for (or at least pretended to).
My own hope, predictions aside, is that the Republican party will be duly punished today, as that is the only way there can be any hope of repairing the damage done by the neo-conservatives and rebuilding the party in the image of Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, and Ron Paul.