The presidential elections are just around the corner, and the candidates have a lot of issue on their plate. The Supreme Court delivered a controversial ruling that enabled wealthy donors for different candidates to spend millions on attack ads on SuperPACS. The economic recession and other issues such as rising insecurity have the electorate with many issues that they have to consider in determining the best candidate for the job. The presidential contest puts President Obama against a republican challenger to be selected from a number of candidates who are committed in winning the republican nomination through aggressive competition against each other. Powerful populist factions have taken a significant stand in the campaigns and are shaping most of the ideologies in the campaigns. The challenge posed by the myriad of issues, well as the competition from the Republicans, present an intriguing scenario that one cannot help but wonder Obama can withstand the Republican challenge.
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The article shows the environment in which Obama and the Republican candidate to be selected will be competing for the presidential seat. The issues highlighted are overshadowed by the poor state of the economy making the public concerned about electing a candidate who is well suited to turn it around. Populist factions such as the Conservative Tea Party and the 'Occupy' movement are focused on popularizing key issues such as income inequalities, which have a significant effect on the campaigns and may influence the outcome of the election. Polls show that less than 50% of the respondents approve Obama’s performance, but political analysts think he has a 50-50 chance of winning the election. This is because of their disapproval of the republicans with the Republican Party also suffering from infighting and frustration with congress could give Obama an edge. Although Obama has not delivered on social and economic reforms promised, increasing backlash against the wealthy and many voters placing blame for congressional dysfunction mainly on the republican, he has an edge over the republicans. Many people feel that Obama is making efforts to work with the republicans in passing legislations, but the republicans are not as open. More people trust Obama with the economy and creation of jobs compared to the republicans (Zeleny and Connelly).
The economy has a high potential of determining the outcome of the 2012 vote because of its selection as the most crucial aspect in this election for 56% of the respondents (Benenson 106). Federal budget deficit and healthcare were the second and third most influential issues. The economy is a significant driver in the outcome of elections with the situation being escalated by the recession. The Occupy movement is central on this economic issue increasing the stakes for the republicans and the democrats through their protests against economic inequality. The message driven by the group is that the systems benefit the rich while punishing the poor. This message is accepted by nearly half of the respondents making the issue relevant in the people’s choice for president. Obama was proactive in handling the inequality issue by saying that the rich would be required to pay 30% of their income in taxation. Romney’s disclosure that he paid 14% taxes last year could paint him as being against the values of protecting the middle class. The millions of Americans affected by the recession need an answer from the candidates on the issue of equality. The democrats could benefit from the movement by taking their message and crafting a positive message for their campaign. Economic issues such as Obama’s handling of the economy produce mixed reactions with many people feeling that his regulations have stifled job growth. Although many people agree that the economy could have deteriorated without the stimulus package, the state of unemployment later in the year could be a tipping point. Reduction in unemployment could increase people’s confidence in Obama’s economic strategies thus increasing his chances of winning.
Political action committees known as Super PACS have been formed with the purpose of supporting policies of different politicians, parties, or attacking ideologies of other politicians. The funds spent by the Super PACS were mainly aimed at attacking other candidates such as Restore Our Future, which is advocating for Mitt Romney but has spent most of its funds in negative campaigns against Gingrich. The outcomes of these SuperPACS have been mixed with the initial effect of the pro-Romney PAC being insufficient in tipping the votes for Romney since he nearly lost the primary in Iowa. The Pro-Romney PAC was successful in halting Gingrich’s momentum in Florida using negative advertising. These PACs are effective in enabling people free speech in expressing their ideas about candidates. These PACs may be effective in advancing their strengths and weaknesses of candidates enabling voters to make informed decisions. Their focus on negative messages is a negative aspect because it portrays their aim as being to trash other candidates.
Public trust in the government has been eroded over the past couple of years with levels as low as 22% in 2010. American populism is effective in addressing current issues but does not escalate to dangerous levels due to self-governance. Resentment for certain issues has the effect of producing rebellions in politics. The conservative upsurge was essential in Ronald Reagan’s race to win the presidency. Other issues such as extra marital affairs by Clinton and increase in Islamic extremists against America have worked to reduce the confidence of the public in the government and the presidency. The electorate is highly divided along partisan lines, but they are concerned at the level of partisan support shown in congress (Benenson 116). The idea by congress to stand along party lines and oppose the ideas of the opposition instead of reaching a compromise is responsible for the gridlock in congress and the inability to pass crucial legislation. Obama and the democrats have shown a low willingness to compromise. The passage of legislations on the healthcare reforms and the economic stimulus package was done amidst strong opposition from the republican congress. Debates on tax cuts presented another issue for disagreement between the democrats and republicans. Obama proposed an extension of the tax breaks in social security with republican representatives rejecting the plan to extend the breaks for two months. This painted the republicans as being obstructionist and insensitive to the plight of the middle class Americans. This issue may pay dividends for the democrats with the public seeing them as being responsive to the needs of the working American. This highlights the problem of income inequality in the country and the refusal of the republicans to increase taxes for the rich to aid the poor.
The performance of President Obama has been criticized by many, but his chances for reelection are high compared to his republican competitors. Issues such as confidence in the presidency play in his favor. Some voters are disappointed in the way he handled the economic recovery and legislations that are seen to hinder job creation. The issue of income inequality and willingness to compromise with the republicans in passing crucial bills may see him clinch the position amidst the competition. Competition within the Republican Party may also enhance Obama’s position and enable him to withstand the challenge posed by the republicans.
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