Friday, 9 November 2012

America's Choice

We know now, after a couple of weeks of uncertainty, that President Obama has been re-elected by what passes for a comfortable margin (about 2% of the vote) in deeply divided America. Although in many respects the lesser of two evils and still unlikely in the extreme to herald any genuine change, it is worth reflecting a little on the people who might have been elected in his place.

Mitt Romney, whose election victory website went live yesterday by accident, is clearly a consummate chameleon, twisting and changing his position on everything from healthcare and abortion to fiscal policy. To this end, he was content to embrace some pretty unpleasant people with unpleasant views in his pursuit of power. There were the pro-war agitators, keen to assault Iran and Syria at the earliest opportunity; the people who wanted to strip away even the minimal health protection provided to tens of millions of poor Americans by "Obamacare", and worst of all the men (and they all were) who made repeated and ever more extreme comments about female rape victims as alternately asking for it or being the subject of Divinely-ordained sexual assault. They were not even medieval in their outlook, but positively Old Testament. Even Romney's running mate for Vice President, Paul Ryan, had been involved in sponsoring unsuccessful legislation which distinguished between "forcible" and apparently "non-forcible" rape.

It is to the credit of American voters that all of these men went down in flames at the polls - and Obama led Romney by a huge margin among women voters. This led to chilling comments from a number of rightwing commentators that Obama is not the choice of white Americans, or that alternatives to voting need to be found to force through their Christian fundamentalist agenda.

Outside the mainstream, the Green candidate for President Jill Stein polled over 397,000 votes in spite of the two-party squeeze, more than doubling the Green vote since 2008, and some local gains were made with Greens elected in Maine, including one representative to the state assembly.

But among the non-major party candidates, it was former Republican Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, who polled best, taking 1.1 million votes as the Libertarian Party candidate running on a platform characterised by one commentator as being "founded on the concern that Americans are not yet greedy enough."

No comments:

Post a Comment