james debate
james debate

Wednesday 5 November 2008

So now the big question on many minds is how this happened. How did Obama come to score such a decisive victory? America is still a right-centre country, and the RNC took all the money they could get from special interests, lobbyists and the public financing system, all of which was rejected by Obama. So how did Obama manage to consistently outspend McCain and dominate this election?

The first obvious thing to point out is the terrible state of affairs our country is currently in. The Republican party has dominated the last 10 years and they've all but run our country into the ground and left it in tatters. Bush is seen almost universally as an abject failure and his administration is loathed by most people even in his own party.

There was serious controversy on how Bush first got elected. That he won a second time is one of the nation's great embarrassments. This time however the chances of the gop winning again was always going to be slim. Americans aren't as stupid as people think and they do learn from their mistakes, as they showed everyone today. Similarly Americans are determined to never again be manipulated by the fear and hate tactics that so characterized Bush's administration.

The McCain campaign never made a good argument for change. They never convinced the public that they would not just be more of the same, and this was crucial. At the end of the day the McCain campaign was just comically mismanaged from day one. The old John McCain from 2000 was a maverick, he really was, he was left leaning and a good man and good politician. That was his appeal and that is exactly why he won the GOP nomination this year because they felt only he could challenge the democrats. But then, inexplicably they squandered this appeal and shifted McCain to the far right that scares most voters, trying to rally the base at the expense of the centralist voters as well as at the expense of McCain's honor, dignity and reputation. It was a disaster and the message it sent to voters was 'do not fear, McCain is more of the same' as if completely oblivious that this is not what people wanted. It was as if the GOP tried to copy the Karl Rove playbook thinking it would somehow work again, except they handled it with a shred of the subtlety and intelligence that Rove did, and the most damning sign of this came when Karl Rove himself blasted McCain for taking attacks too far.

While it would be easy to keep hammering the GOP on this point and bring up the Palin pick, McCain's complete avoidance of the issues and the campaign's low-brow use of lies and hate mongering to try and bring in votes, I won't dwell on this point. That is because at the end of the day even if McCain had run a half decent campaign without selling his soul to the GOP, he still would have had a hell of a fight on his hands against what is undoubtedly one of the best run campaigns in American history.

Definitely the majority of the analysis post election will focus on Obama's grassroots campaign. Incredible effort from his volunteers, incredible organization, incredible reach across the country into every state, utilizing technology like the internet and text messaging to amazing and never before seen effect; the campaign was nothing short of genius in the way it managed to reach and inspire so many people, so much so that it raised far far far more money than even the McCain campaign, with all it's corrupt money and special interest donations. SO much credit goes to Obama's campaign staff, especially David Plouffe, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes. Plouffe himself has done so much that he even gets call outs during Obama's speeches nowadays.

The Obama campaign is as ingenious and meticulous as Karl Roves campaigns, except this time it's been run on positive energy, hope and optimism, instead of fear and hate. Obama has shown that you can win an election by being positive rather than manipulative, and this is something that will have massive ramifications for the future of American politics.

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