CNN is now confirming that after winning west coast states of California, Oregon and Washington, and in addition to capturing the 13 electoral votes from Virginia, Senator Barack Obama has been elected the next President of the United States.
Senator John McCain just spoke to a crowd congradulating Barack Obama on his “historic” election as the president of “the greatest nation on Earth.”
In the final weekend before the election, presidential candidates, vice-presidential candidates, politicians, celebrities and others on the campaign trail doing everything they can to make their respective campaign successful. After a number of states opened polls early for early voting, many are closing Sunday and Monday in lieu of Tuesday’s Election Day.
Over 30 states allow their voters to vote early. In a few of them you need an excuse to vote early, but in most early voting at polls has seen record numbers. Over 20 million people have cast their vote before election day. And we’ve also seen widely reported that most of those cast have been democratic, but don’t get too excited. While a large share of those cast were by democrats, the voters are only registered democrats, but are still free to vote which ever way they want. In many cases that wouldn’t be a problem, we can all assume that registered democrats will vote for the democratic candidate and registered republicans will vote for the republican candidate, but assumption can be the base of many mistakes.
As we all know this is quite the historic election that divides the population as any election, but this one has to potential to polarize the American public like none before. Primarily because of what has been represented from the two campaigns. Many democratic voters are not voting for Barack Obama for various reasons, still bitter from Hillary loss, don’t feel comfortable with him, or just do not want to vote for an African-American. That’s similar to republican voters do not want to vote for McCain because they feel he doesn’t represent the party fully, no confidence in his VP candidate, or actually feel he isn’t the best candidate.
And as an added bonus some thought has to be put on the “Southern Democrat” population. Close to a third of early voting states are southern states. As many of us know, several years ago the republican party were liberal and the democratic party were more conservative. With Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal administration came an actual new deal in American political structure. After the impact his administration had on American politics, the party values essentially switched making republicans more conservative and democrats more liberal as we see it today. While many politicians since the start of the 1960s began to switch parties to align more with their values, many democratic voters in the south did not get that memo. That’s why you’d see civil rights leaders in the republican party in the south because they were in direct contrast to Southern Democrats who opposed the civil rights movement. And that’s why to this day many old school southern democrats, while still registered as democrats, vote conservative and for republican candidates.
Not for nothin’, but these are just two of the reasons why we can be misled by polls. Unless you see an actual number of how many people are voting for which candidate, we’re not going to know officially who’s in the lead. No matter how much you think or are told that the Obama campaign is ahead, no pundit, analyst, or strategist has a crystal ball, nor can they see the future.
Come Tuesday November 4 we all will have a choice to make. Most of our country will vote one way or another, whether it be democrat or republican, but there is still about 30 percent of the country that could go either way or a whole other way altogether. So for those who can’t decided or do not want to pick the main two party candidates, Barack Obama or John McCain, that doesn’t mean you’re absolved from your voting responsibility. There are several other candidates running for President of the United States in 2008.
There are many candidates who are either of a third party or independent. Although most of those candidates only appear on the ballots of one state, about a dozen of them are on the ballot in at least two states. Excluding Barack Obama and John McCain, there are four other presidential candidates who are actually on the ballot of enough states to win a majority in U.S. Electoral College, therefore making that person president. The four people who will probably receive the most votes next to the two main party candidates are Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Ralph Nadar running as an Independent.
Probably the most familiar of the four, and the one who’s on the ballot of most states at 45, is Ralph Nadar. Nadar announced his fifth campaign back in February. He is running with California political activist Matt Gonzalez as his vice-presidential nominee.
One former congressman also in the running is Bob Barr from the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party is the fifth largest party in the United States, that tends to favor minimally regulated laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, and non-interventionism in foreign policy among other things. Barr has recently been known to call out his self appointed “arch-nemesis” if you will, Ralph Nadar, only wanting to challenge him and only him in debate.
Aside from the Democratic and Republican Parties, the party with the most membership nationwide would be the Constitution Party. But their candidate, Charles Baldwin is probably the least well known of the major third party candidates. Chuck Baldwin is a pastor and radio show host from Florida. A longtime member of the Republican Party, he broke away after feeling they were going too far left.
A little less membership than the Constitution Party, but still widely known, is the Green Party. Their nominee Cynthia McKinney, another former member of congress, beat out opponent Ralph Nadar in their primary. Although controversial at times, McKinney and her runningmate Rosa Clemente are focusing on things such as racial profiling, statehood for the District of Columbia, and slavery reparations.
Just as with the previous years many fear that the spoiler effect will come in to play, particularly with Nadar being on the ballot. There are some out there who speculate on the effect Nadar had concerning the 2000 election. It is believed by many democrats that Nadar took votes away from Gore allowing a Bush victory. There’s already talk of that this year. It’s actually possible for any of these candidates. I’m sure there will be more talk on that and other issues. Three (excluding Barr) of the candidates have agreed to a debate scheduled for Thursday.
Not for nothin’, if you’re going to vote for any of these third party candidates, just remember one of them likely will fit the mold of everything you want from a president, but neither of them are likely to win.
Oh yeah, and in case you’re wondering, Ron Paul isn’t running, but he has endorsed all of the above third party candidates.
Have you heard a rumor about the Election 2008 process? Well if so, it could just be another myth. There are many myths floating around out there. Many people have heard different variations of different stories from email, social network sites, word-of-mouth, or other sources of things that may or may not impact their vote on November 4th. Some of these stories can be quite intimidating so that it may impact someone voting in an election. Voting is probably the easiest way a person can participate in our democracy. It is the right and responsibility for a United States citizen to vote. It is an essential part of the way our country operates, so the rules and regulations are something that should be noted by all.
One of the most prominent myths out there that has been circulating primarily through emails is in the form of a request. It is a request asking people not to wear any Barack Obama clothing or paraphernalia when you go vote on November 4the. The warning states that you risk being turned away by polling officials, citing it’s a form of campaigning and it’s illegal to do any campaigning in or near polling places on election day. This is a touchy issue, depending on who you ask, what state, and what you wear. Although there’s no federal law addressing a “dress code” for voting, there are rules in most states that are set up to prevent overt campaigning or electioneering in or around polling places. Those states prohibit anyone from distributing, circulating, posting, or exhibiting campaign material anywhere from 10 to 200 feet of polling spots. Sometimes that can include buttons, hats and even shirts, but it is usually intended for signs, posters, fliers, etc. Ten states (Delaware, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersy, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont) explicitly prohibit wearing pins, buttons, stickers, labels, etc. So in a few states, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to take it off, put a jacket on, or turn it inside out.
Another thing that needs to be cleared up, is quite simple. This is to those who say, “I don’t like either candidate,” or “it’s not going to matter who I want to be president, my single vote doesn’t matter!” If you are using either of those two excuses as a reason not to vote, then you’re not well informed on the whole Election Process. November 4th is called election day. It isn’t called vote for Obama or McCain day. Even if you don’t want to vote for either presidential candidate there are still plenty of other state and local races to vote on. Many times it’s not only limited to people to vote for> Many places have issues, amendments, laws, statutes, etc that will be on the ballot, some of which could most likely directly affect you.
As far as showing your ID when you go to vote, there may be some question as to whether you’ll be allowed to vote if your address doesn’t match. Most states don’t have a government-issued ID law, but some do. You may be asked for ID or you may be asked for a signature, it depends on where you are. Twenty-four states do require some type of identification, it could be from a photo ID to a utility bill. Just remember that only United States citizens are allowed to vote in the United States. Be prepared, especially if you’re a first time voter, to prove you’re a registered voter and United States citizen.
Not for nothin’, but you should check out any myth with local or state election offices. You shouldn’t be afraid, bullied, or intimidated out of going to vote. Don’t find an excuse not to vote. You’d be surprised at how many businesses and places of employment have specific rules that allow employees to go vote on election day. You should check with your employer. Remember…if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.
Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama squared off this evening on their first presidential debate in Oxford, Mississippi. John McCain announced earlier Friday that although he suspended his campaign to help work on our nation’s financial crisis, he will be appearing at the debate at Ole Miss University. All of the politics, attack ads, speeches, press statements, campaigning, and political conventions have come down to this first round of head to head contest between the two candidates.
First commentating on Jim Lehrer. With the experience of 10 presidential debates under his belt, has been accused and criticized for being non-confrontational. That did not seem to be the case, and quite evident during the first half-hour of the debate where he pushed McCain and Obama to more interaction. The candidates at the beginning, seemed to want to make their cases in a typical way they would normally give press conferences, but Lehrer wouldn’t let that fly. “Say it directly to him,” became an early theme and the two eventually followed along.
Even though this debate was supposed to be focused primarily on foreign policy, the great debate on our financial crisis that our country is facing was the first and most important topic debated Friday evening. Pulling from an Eisenhower quote of “military strength being economic strength,” moderator Lehrer pulled the financial crisis into this first debate. Once the debate did get into actual foreign policy, well over a half-hour after the start, with the question of, “what are the lessons of the Iraq War,” both McCain and Obama got equally fired up with their respective views.
Throughout the debate Senator John McCain seemed quite adamant at bringing up the past, his history and his record on certain issues. It was obvious at times that he did get excited and somewhat emotional. Obama, seemingly came across more relaxed and at ease, even conceding to arguments the two agreed on. But even though some points were conceded, many others were not. Both candidates were active in correcting facts that were misrepresented.
Not for nothin’, but it was a strong debate on both sides, with each making valid points. The 90 minute plus debate over foreign policy was handicapped to approximately 50 minutes due to the issues on the economy and the financial crisis. So by that rationale, and because the two had similar positions of needing more detail on the bailout plan, we would have to judge this debate on what we heard in those 50 minutes. Obama a few times was stronger in confronting McCain on his opposing views and even made a point in directing his comments directly at McCain, specifically on the point of the Iraq war. Despite who was right or wrong, Obama seemed to be a better debater especially at that point, and set the tone for the rest of the debate seemingly put the pressure on his opponent. Being behind in the polls, losing this debate was something McCain couldn’t afford to do. Not saying he did, but it was entertaining and made great fodder to set off the next few weeks of more debates and commentary.