Obama's perfect storm
In the first in a series of posts ahead of the impending Presidential Election, The Commentator’s Contributing Editor, Dr. James D. Boys offers his thoughts on the impact that Superstorm Sandy could bring to the remaining days of the campaign
In the first in a series of posts ahead of the impending Presidential Election, The Commentator’s Contributing Editor, Dr. James D. Boys offers his thoughts on the impact that Superstorm Sandy could bring to the remaining days of the campaign.
Usually when political scientists and pollsters consider the implications of the weather on voter turnout in elections, they do so with rainstorms in Ohio in mind, not the risk that the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States might be reduced to rubble by a storm, the like of which is hard to imagine.
However, just as Recall Elections and administrations decided upon by the House of Representatives rather than the people, are things that simply never happen until they do, so to has Sandy proved to be the undoing of many preconceived ideas.
There was little doubt that heading into the final week of the campaign, Mitt Romney was in the ascendancy. His debate performances had been solid and he had continued to build upon the momentum he developed from the first debate in Denver. Discussion and analysis of the vice presidential candidates, or of the final debate suddenly seem a long time ago.
The Obama campaign appeared desperate to get as many supporters to the polls as early as possible, lest they be convinced by Romney’s hopeful message in the final days of the campaign. Even the President himself voted early, in an historic first. The White House’s nightmare, of a continuing Romney surge, peaking on Election Day, appeared to be a distinct possibility.
And then Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard.
Whist is it still a little early to be certain, it appears to be a distinct possibility that Barack Obama will owe his re-election to the mayhem and chaos that has been delivered upon the Eastern Seaboard, and on the millions of Americans who lives have just been blown apart.
In times of crisis it is to the President of the United States that the people turn. Not to his challengers, or to the Speaker of the House. The eyes of the nation and indeed the world have been fixed on Barack Obama, and in the past 48 hours he has been seen to rise to the occasion.
When Republican Governor Chris Christie (until not to long ago, a serious candidate as Republican VP) is seen greeting the President warmly and praising his efforts to assist in the recovery operation, it is difficult not to sympathise with the Romney team. With power out in many key districts, one wonders if the election results could easily be called into question on Election Night.
They have come so far, closed an almost insurmountable gap in voter intent, only, it appears, to be undone, quite literally, by an Act of God.
Dr. James D. Boys is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. He is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King's College London, Associate Professor of International Political Studies at Richmond University in London and a Senior Research Fellow at the Global Policy Institute. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @jamesdboys
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