I’ve been blogging a lot about this year’s presidential election in the USA (although nowhere near as much as I did about the 2008 election), but I wanted to share with you the latest analysis from my good American friend Mike Grace with whom Vee and I spent a week earlier this year. He writes:
“The second presidential debate featured a much improved performance by President Obama, but was also one of the most rancorous and personal that I have ever witnessed. The audience was comprised of 500 “uncommitted” voters, although how anyone can be uncommitted just three weeks before the election is a mystery to me considering that our national news has been dominated by presidential politics for more than 18 months.
We politely call them low information voters.
Obama had several good moments, particularly when he dissected the math behind Romney’s economic plan to cut taxes, increase military spending and to preserve middle class tax deductions without increasing the deficit (we call that voodoo economics) and on the Libya issue.
Romney’s best moment came in response to a question where he succinctly listed the administration’s economic failures.
How much this event will effect the outcome remains unknown right now. But the news focus is finally off Obama’s poor performance in the previous debate. Hopefully Obama also has created some doubt over Romney!s promises. Viewership was down to 65 million from 70 million.
Romney is clearly the white candidate if the polls can be believed. He is expected to poll more than 60% better among white voters than Obama, the widest spread since Reagan, which could help overcome his deficit among blacks, Latinos and women since whites vote seven times greater than any other ethnic or racial group.
We have always had our differences as a nation, going beck to our founding. and one would expect that in a country as physically large as America with 300 million people that we will not always agree on everything. But the tenor and tone of the election is among the most bitter that I have ever seen since the Vietnam War protest days which was mostly a generational divide.
I disliked President Bush and his policies, but I did not hate the man or challenge his patriotism (just his intelligence). But a significant portion of Americans HATE President Obama with a venom that is difficult to comprehend. Cable news and right wing talk radio feed these beliefs. I see Americans today more intensely divided since the Civil War over basic philosophical questions about what kind of country we want, our national goals and our place in the world.
Many whites are unnerved about becoming the new minority here. Terrorists pose a perilous threat from which we can’t agree on how to respond. The global economic system seems to be unraveling. Our children and grandchildren face an unknown and uncertain future. And there are many other deeply held core beliefs that separate Americans.
The divide between Red and Blue America runs deeper and more rancorous than ever. I just returned from visiting friends in a retirement community in coastal North Carolina. Residents there actually ostracize one another over their political beliefs. Feelings run so strongly that it is impossible to even have a civil discussion over our differences. If you are for Obama, you must be a socialist or Muslim sympathizer. If you are for Romney, you must be a right-wing nut.
I don’t want to seem overly pessimistic but I don’t think this election will not bring us any closer together no matter who wins.”