What This Election Is About Depends On Who You Talk To…

by George Kennedy on October 3, 2012

What This Election Is About Depends On Who You Talk To...In an article posted recently, Robert Reich, former cabinet secretary during the Clinton administration, said this election is more about the details of the September 2012 Jobs Report to be released this Friday and less about the debates.   Meanwhile, pundits and other media commentators are asserting that presidential elections often turn on pocket-book issues, how much is left over in voters’ pockets at the end of the month; that this election will also turn on the health of the economy.  In his article, Reich correctly noted our economy is still in the gravitational pull of the Great Depression, hence the importance of the September Jobs Report.   However, I would take his point a step further and suggest other forces are at play in this election.

The 2012 election will also be about hope…that’s right, hope.  There is an abundance of hope that whoever the majority of voters vote for, that president will do what’s right for the middle class…Mitt Romney’s “47 percent.”

This election will also be about voters investing in a president they hope will exercise leadership, mature judgment, and judicious restraint on issues of peace and perhaps more conflict in the Middle East e.g., Iran, Syria, and Egypt.  Shrill voices from the right are clamoring for American military involvement in new theaters of potential conflict and that could be unnerving to those with loved ones currently fighting in Afghanistan and under constant threat from those to be entrusted with that country’s security beginning in 2014.

This election in the minds of millions of older voters, will likely center on which presidential candidate allays their fears about their increasingly tenuous tether to affordable healthcare, the survival of Medicare as they know it, and who offers the best guarantee of a modicum of financial certainty anchored in Social Security.

This election for many women of childbearing age will also be about avoiding (hopefully) the necessity to re- litigate rights currently enshrined in law but under constant assault by the GOP and its conservative foot soldiers.

For millions of Millennials – the largest generation since the Boomers – poised to assume the responsibilities of adulthood and citizenship, this election is about electing a brand of leadership committed to leveling their playing field; not seeding their path with the land mines of increased student debt,  systemic disenfranchisement, and fewer job and career opportunities.

For African-Americans, this election turns on a simple but deeply felt belief:  they are unprepared to relaunch a journey already marred by bloodshed, deaths, tears, and a few hard won victories.  The small tent of the GOP does not offer them social, economic, or political refuge.

Let’s be clear.  This election for some is about fear; a self-induced, ill-defined fear of phenomena that exists largely in their imaginations and the hysteria of the right.  They, too, vote.

For many in the 47 percent, this election, however, is about hope, the quality of their tomorrow, and faith in a president they feel will not consign them to the margins of the future.

George Kennedy

George Kennedy is a retired senior Foreign Service officer with extensive international experience. He holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon and two graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kennedy was a political advisor to state and federal officials and has authored strategy pieces for Members of Congress and presidential candidates. He serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona.

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  • R.J. Palozzi

    George,  Your latest venture reads like an accurate road map. It explains the republican, Mitt Romney situation all right. Here’s a statistical oddity: 75% of Iowa was against Romney, but conversely so was Santorum using the same percentages in the outcome since he received 25% of the vote, meaning as many voters were against him also. And that’s 87% against Newt by the same measure.

    • I appreciate your comments Mr. Palozzi.  While 75% also voted against
      Santorum, his showing is politically significant given that he was the
      “1 percent candidate” everyone had dismissed.  It remains to be seen if
      either Romney or Santorum translates their Iowa victory into significant
      gains in the coming primaries.  Again, thank you for your comments.

  • I appreciate your comments Mr. Palozzi.  While 75% also voted against Santorum, his showing is politically significant given that he was the “1 percent candidate” everyone had dismissed.  It remains to be seen if either Romney or Santorum translates their Iowa victory into significant gains in the coming primaries.  Again, thank you for your comments.

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