Poverty, policies and politics – US election 2012

Nayeem Hossain

Nayeem Hossain

US Election 2012
So this story starts where I ended the last one. The election has become a mega marketing campaign. The group who’ll sell their product better with bigger ad campaign, more mail in marketing material and confident salesmen will win the race. This time to pick the cost of commander-in-chief is nearly three billion dollars and the entire state, senate and presidential campaigns combined will cost around 9 billion dollars. Regardless of you vote or not, the presidential campaign has spent 20 dollars per head. Both sides in every level- local, state and national has tried the same tactics. Their product is horrible; these are the bad things about them, why don’t you try mine. None of the campaign has been totally about their record, their achievement. What started in 2006 primary of both major parties, went to a launching pad in 2008 national elections, got a major thrust of negativity in 2010 midterm and now the shameless negativity has no limits in 2012. In 2004 a young optimist Barack Obama said the words, “There’s no blue America, red America, there’s only United States of America”. He repeated that throughout the next four years until the January of 2009 when he got into office. Then the campaign of birth certificate, socialist, new Hitler in making, will create death committees for your grandparents, Obamacare, the rise of the tea party started. After the midterm election the open challenge of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was that their number one priority is to make sure Obama is a one term president. In this campaign we have experienced a more realist, bruised Obama saying, “If I say the sky is blue, they say no. If I say there’s fish in water, they say no.” The campaigning Obama has shown more fire with party line than the President who wanted to bring ‘everyone’ on the table. Will this be enough to energize the left and center again is something that we’ll see in a few days. But one thing is for sure, out of all the negative ads, personal attacks, over spending parallel campaign by Superpacs this has been the most exhausting campaign I’ve seen, and I’m afraid the worst days are ahead.

Campaigns are now run by focus group results, target audience and segments. If it won’t buy you votes, it’s not important. Let me rephrase that, if you think something might cost you votes then you won’t speak about it at all. In all the campaign you’ll never hear about wage stagnation, earning inequality among race and sexual minorities, environmental issues. After the three debates it’s hard to understand if there is any world outside of Israel, Syria, Egypt, Iran, China, Mexico and occasional guest appearance of European Union. All the campaign has been around jobs, unemployment, and deficit. Even with that one said everything’s going fine, don’t worry; the other is we are in a whole full of crap…let’s dig out of it by digging till we reach the other side of the planet. From the far right it has been all about, last four years nothing worked in these sectors, so now it’s our turn to see what we can do. To be honest I haven’t got anything out of them. Mr. Romney as a candidate has kept everyone on their toes because of his flip-flops on issues. It seemed he’ll do and say anything that keeps him in the lead and will bring him votes. Because the right has kept the rhetoric going only with topics like job, unemployment, the President Camp has been focusing only on those issues in most cases which left issues like the above mentioned totally out of sight for voters.

Even after a Hurricane like Sandy, none of the campaign will use the word “global warming”. The far right has done such an awesome campaign against one of the obvious phenomenon of our time that moderate Republicans and even Democrats are avoiding the term. Not only them, the main stream rating hungry media will also use terms like ‘rapid climate change’ but won’t go in detail of why this might be happening. Both sides wants to give relief of tax burden to the middle class, but technically avoid the fact that with inflation wage hasn’t gone up for an average American. In 2000 average household income was approx. 30,800 and after 12 years it only reached 41,000 dollars!! That means for an average family income grew less than a thousand dollars a year for last 12 years. Our friends in the far right are more worried about people who make millions and surprisingly the most vocal participants on the streets, especially the tea party members are the ones in the median of this wage stagnation! Women voters are becoming more important, Mr. Romney said he had a “binder of full of women” to take in his governorship, but he never points out there’s a discrepancy in the corporate world, which he apparently champions, in terms of wage. If you look into the national data for full time working male verses female wage the closest to parity is in DC where a male earns average of 66K annually and a female earns 60K. The disparity in earning ration is more than 25% in states like South Carolina, Oklahoma, Indiana, Idaho, Alabama, Mississippi, and North Dakota; and over 30% in states like West Virginia, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming. How this is not a national problem when working mothers are the highest in number in the country’s history, I don’t know. If you go by race, then the statistics are even more embarrassing over the board. Immigration has taken second row but building fence has taken first priority in some campaigns. There hasn’t been a single dialog on what can be done with this. I’ll talk about this issue in detail in my next segment.

Overall both sides have targeted very few national issues besides the recession, only because we are in it. Even then they are not willing to talk about the debt ceiling deadline at the end of the year. The negative ads, mailed brochures and campaign speeches have exhausted the electorates, but for a voter we had to really look very deeply to find who stood for what in this election. In a recession and with hourly paid working class communities most voters don’t have the time to do all their research. For that politician, their campaign managements and left or right leaning biased media brigade get away with this negativity.

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