Wednesday, 5 November 2008
This Southbeach model shows some of the situation surrounding the recent historic rise of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States of America. Obama is a Democrat, McCain a Republican. Democrats and Republicans are in opposition. So, naturally, are Obama and McCain. Their opposition is greatly intensified, however, by their deeply opposing approaches to achieving the massive change demanded of the situation in the US, and the rising concerns of the people. This election campaign started out with the idea that "it's about the war"; the five and a half year war in Iraq being a hotly debated topic around the world. After time, the idea changed; the credit crunch has had significant global impact. The war has also had significant economic impact in the US. Soon people were saying "it's about the economy".
Obama and McCain had deeply opposing approaches in both these areas, Obama being against the war in Iraq, and promising to shift the tax burden towards the wealthy. Whereas McCain supported the war in Iraq and pledged to maintain the tax cuts in place under Bush for those earning over $250,000.
As well as these core electoral themes, Obama was a Civil Liberty and Rights activist and litigator whereas McCain had expressed concerns regarding affirmative action. The respective goals of these two men, whilst not being clearly useful or harmful from any general perspective - and hence divided the nation to create one of the biggest races in history, were clearly in opposition, representing fundamentally different approaches to how to achieve the Massive Change demanded of the American people.
All these factors, along with the fact that Obama was the first black candidate for President of the United States, resulted in a record turnout with over 135 million voters, including many who had never voted before.
Whilst the full confluence of influencing factors that created this reality cannot be fully expressed, debate and postulation as to the reasons for the success of Obama have and will continue to rage. One piece of research showed that there was actually a correlation between the DOW index and the McCain poll. As the DOW rose, so too did the McCain poll. When it fell, so did McCain's popularity. This was brought to a very public and critical head for McCain when, on the same day as he claimed "the economy is strong", Lehman Brothers went bust, dealing a severe blow to his credibility.
Ironically, the stock market experienced its biggest election day rally in 24 years on expectation of an Obama victory as the Dow Jones industrial averages surged 300 points, or 3%, to close at 9,625.28 points. The US TV networks, just after 11.00pm (ET:4.00 GMT), declared that Obama had won. Obama was now President of the United States.
The result of the election is clear. Now we just have to wait for results from the policies.