Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Voting begins across the US - It's all down to the swing states!


Head here for live election night updates from 5:30pm EST!!! 
http://www.theinternationalist.org/p/us-election-night-2012-liver.html

So here it is, the biggest day for one of the biggest countries in the world, by land mass, by population, by economy, and by media coverage as the 2012 US Presidential election has attracted a swarm of journalists and political pundits from around the world on biblical proportions! As voting stations opened this morning, thousands began to cast their votes. Early polls begin to suggest that President Barrack Obama will be victorious in those so very vital swing states. What happens in the next 48 hours will no doubt have repercussions around the world. It is all down to the swing states Ohio, Florida etc. The team here at the Internationalist are just a small fish in a very big pond on the coverage, hopefully we satisfy your hunger for the latest updates by working around the clock and being all ears!

So for anybody living under a rock...on the moon, here is a crash course in whats been happening in the run up to the election and the basics of what the two main candidates stand for:

The story so far:

The two candidates have spent the past year immersed in preparation for this day. Over the winter and spring  of 2011 and 2012, potential candidates have been set against each other to capture the support of voters and the party. By summer things started to get hot. Campaigning Efforts have been of epic proportions from not just the candidates themselves but a wide-range of different social groups and individuals. For example celebrities such as Chris Rock, Katy Perry and Samuel L. Jackson for Obama and the Simpsons character Mr. Burns for Romney. Although the campaigning efforts and contributions run right down to the door to door campaign groups and societies which have been reaching out to the nation alongside the candidates official campaigning team, listening to their views and to try and secure their vote for today.

Photo from Publisher.dailymotion.com
Of course what has come in the spotlight not just in the USA but across the whole world is the televised debates. These debates have provided a window into the feelings of the American electorate which on the polls, to be frank, were anything but coherent towards one candidate during  these debates. Both candidates fought their ground on key popular issues such as energy, foreign affairs, the economy, immigration and many more. But whilst it has been seen that the President made considerable PR weaknesses in the first debate and only just coming out on top of his opponent in the debate polls overall. Mistakes made by Romney such as his incorrect statements on Libya and his controversial proposals on the future of the nations energy resources has undermined his previously threatening position against the President in the polls. Leaving the President to ultimately make sufficient gains in the latter televised debates and retain a slight advantage.

After the televised debates, the campaign efforts focused on the traditional tactic of relentless rallies, advertising and travelling to potential "swing-states" which upon support of a particular candidate, could effectively give that candidate the presidency. Notably both candidates have chosen states in the mid-west, north-west, and of course Florida as prime target areas, in states such as Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio where both candidates devoted their last final hours of campaign drive to secure vital votes from the electorate.

Now we watch and wait, for the outcome of the next 15 hours or so will of course send shock waves across the nation and across the world and set the game for America's next four year political agenda.

Below, for anyone who is unsure of what sets the candidates apart in what they stand for, we have a section on key policies and motives for the candidates that they will propose if given the presidency.


What do Obama and Romney stand for?

A common view of US politics especially from those who are disengaged with politics or have no knowledge of US political ethos would say that essentially the two candidates aren't much different from each other and that politicians should express more conviction! Here is why this election is different:



Obama:

In the outcome that he is given another term, Obama will plan to make changes in some areas of issues concerning the nation and at the same time keep some things relatively under original plans in other areas. For example:

Foreign Policy:

Obama in his last minute effort
to secure votes at a rally in Ohio.
Picture from bbc.co.uk
Obama is especially keeping things fairly as planned in this area of US policy. He has previously in his current term as President planned a "wind down" in spending and focus on defence issues, $487m over a course of a decade according to news agencies. In Afghanistan the President has already made plans to reduce the number of soldiers on the front line, with an eventual closure to the mission in 2014 within regards to fighting. In turn there will be a drive for increased relations with Afghanistan politically rather than militarily. This emphasis on diplomacy and pragmatism with foreign affairs has been a key characteristic of the Obama administration over the past four years and is clearly displayed in the political affair over Iran and its nuclear capability where the President ,although recognising the importance of a solution to the problem, has put emphasis on diplomatic solutions to the problem rather than by military action. Obama would see the ongoing military campaign of targeting key figures in Al-Qaeda and the campaign in Afghanistan (until 2014) as currently vital to "finishing the job" in a sense but no higher of a military role should be played by the USA in the middle east in the foreseeable future.

Domestic Policy:

Here Obama is much more progressive. In areas of policy such as environment and energy issues the President is taking a lot more consideration and careful thought about the future of the nations energy demands, notably shown in his decision to hold back on the moving of oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico amid concerns about its impact on the environment something shockingly not realised beforehand resulting from the ill thought nature of the plan. Moreover, even more highly popular is his plans to invest in the upcoming market of green energy and new regulations on cleaner forms of energy such as wind and solar power etc. designed to bring them up to a suitable standard of development to be used as an equal energy provider for the nation alongside more conventional methods. Another key progressive move by the President, nonetheless controversial for many Americans and their religious convictions is his stance on abortion rights, in which he has expressed support for.

On the controversial issue of illegal immigration, which burdens many government administrations of economically developed countries, Obama is, on the subject of adult illegal immigration, on similar grounds with Romney. Increasing the deportation of adult illegal immigrants by a mile. However where the two candidates differ is on the concept of young illegal immigrants. Obama, recognising the social and ethical issues raised from arbitrarily deporting young illegal immigrants with no home to go to, has given them legal-status in certain cases. Actually getting around the deadlock of congress to enact this.

Obama at an election rally.
Photo from Reuters/Daily Telegraph
In areas such as healthcare and the economy the President has been put in the spotlight, especially in his campaign as well as in his current term as President. In healthcare the term "Obama-care" has  been both positively and negatively used by the media and his adversaries alike. Obama, despite criticism from those more politically left  (if left can be used in its full sense in US politics) that he has not gone far enough in health reforms, has indeed been the most progressive ever in the history of US politics since Roosevelt. The overall aim of the President's healthcare reforms was to kickstart a challenge the corporate culture of health insurance so that the less advantaged in society and those who cannot afford insurance were still protected. Obama introduced the health law in which implements universal health insurance policy and restrictions to insurers to deny customers on pedantic and unrelated pre-existing medical conditions of customers. In aid of this, the Obama administration issued a policy giving states money to help bring the lower classes into a public health insurance scheme known as "medicaid". We can only predict that in succession of another term in office that Obama will continue to consolidate and implement further reforms to the health system.

And of course there is the economy. the President has been in a sticky situation with how to tackle a global financial crisis and a rotten wall street culture that quickly became seen as the cause of the crash. However Obama, showing his nerve, has introduced bailout plans and economic stimulus packages paired with investment in crucial infrastructure such as education, health and energy etc. to bring the economy back into relative control where it can be commanded more easily for the future.

The President will aim, in a new term, to become even more progressive on the economy. To start implementing what has been dubbed as the "Buffet rule" (following a speech by billionaire Warren Buffet in support of the policy) increasing tax on the extremely wealthy and re-distributing the money to kick the economy back into growth and to invest in efforts to bring down unemployment. Moreover Obama wishes to make steps to abolish far right influenced tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 implemented in the Bush administration.


Romney:

If candidate Mitt Romney is elected into Presidency much he will propose to change, although it should be noted that such changes Romney is proposing are not in fact a further change in a positive direction for current policy but a more conservative attempt to revert back to policies both domestic and overseas, that were envisaged by the Bush administration in the early 2000's. Seeing events like the economic crisis and the constant turnover of circumstances in the middle east as no obstruction to returning to core neo-liberal economic values of minimal tax for the wealthy and a heavy hand in foreign affairs across the globe, particularly in the middle east.

Foreign Policy:

Romney meeting supporters.
Picture taken by Justin Sullivan/
Getty Images. Picture from Standard.co.uk
Romney shows immediate distinctions from the President, Perhaps showing off his true colours as a man focused on returning to a Bush administation approach to foreign affairs, perpetuating the USA's heavy handed role in the middle east particularly. In terms of the defence budget, Romney, whilst bringing drastic cuts to the maintenance of civilian defence programmes, advocates increased spending to a dramatic grand total of $100 billion. Spending will in particular focus on physical military assets such as missile defence systems, armaments and other items. Romney illustrates his view of US foreign policy on the Afghanistan issue. Whilst retaining the view that there needs to be a handover of the responsibility of Afghan security to Afghan forces, Romney is considering reviewing the nature of how and ultimately the extent to which we "wind down" our role in Afghanistan. Seeing 2014 as a closure date under question if conditions within Afghanistan do not permit a withdrawal of US forces. Romney also has a completely different standpoint on Iran from the President. Romney believes that military action, whilst not the only method of dealing with the problem. Is still part of the options available, with US presence in the waters around the Middle East a desired tool to use.

Domestic Policy:

Issues at home seems to be where Romney differs the most with Obama on policy, especially in relation to energy, healthcare and economical issues. For example Romney proposes a complete u-turn on Obama's healthcare reforms, and is essentially arguing for those who cannot afford healthcare to see past the voiced ethical concerns surrounding market influence in potentially life and death issues and buy their insurance on the market. Romney criticises Obama on illegal immigration policy yet he has not yet made definite alternative policy apart from the notion that illegal immigrants should feel the need to deport of their own free will by economic pressure from the state.

On Energy policy Romney is surely sticking to his Republican guns with no remorse. Romney advocates further oil exploration, nuclear investment and coal burning via removing restrictions on the practice of using this energy resource. Irrespective of its impact on the environment. Notably he is in favour of having oil sands refining in the Gulf of Mexico despite popularly voiced environmental concerns.

And to save the best for last we have economic policy. This is probably where the distinction between Romney and Obama hits its penultimate point. Romney would propose a complete reversal of Obama's regulations on the banking sector and the market. To go alongside this Romney also advocates thorough cuts to federal government expenditure in various departments though not specified yet. Romney argues that this will allow for the economy to grow. On the question of tax and the relationship between the state and the extremely wealthy, Romney is perhaps a favourite for those with deep pockets. He advocates a return to the Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy, reducing corporate, investment income and estate tax.


Why should I vote Democrat (Obama) or Republican (Romney)?

If you're still an undivided voter, or someone not planning of voting at all this election, here are a view reasons why you should vote for each candidate.

Romney

Mitt Romney is a well known Republican with a lot of previous political experience. He spent many years as Governor of Massachusetts, where his economic policies lead to great growth. He got behind the state and began to run it as if he were a CEO of a company. Mitt also was made president and CEO of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics where he was relatively successful.

The President casting his vote.
Picture by MCT/Landov/Barcroft media.
Picture from DailyMail.co.uk
If you're an old school Republican and/or fiscal conservative, then this election Mitt is the perfect choice for you. He's tough on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, making him perfect for those voters passionate about religious concerns on such issues. Romney and many of his supporters, in true Republican fashion, will limit the power of the government, he also wishes to cut public spending, removing many social security investments. Along with his VP nominee, Paul Ryan, they intent to fix the American economy using Romney's '5 point plan'.


Obama

The incumbent president Obama is a well known liberal. During his time in office he is well known for his for lack of presidential achievements. Many Americans feel that during the last four years, the economy has failed to see a very large improvement. In states such as Ohio however, many Americans see great economic improvement and we may see Obama take that swing state tonight.

Obama needs turnout. Since many of the core Democratic supports tend to be young, it is vital for the Democratic Party to get out and vote today. Obama wants to continue his policy of economic growth, although many people see this as slow pace and unhelpful to their lives. However, many Democrats would feel that their lives are better secured under an Obama White House. Romney is typically seen by many voters as disconnected and for the rich.

From 5:30pm EST (10:30pm GMT) today, catch our live US election updates here - http://www.theinternationalist.org/p/us-election-night-2012-liver.html

Also, we're going to be hosting a live webcast on BlogTV from 7:00pm EST (12:00am GMT) come along, discuss the results as they come in and debate with others here - http://www.blogtv.com/people/The_Internationalist

Ross Holden and Dom Jenks - The Internationalist 


Monday, 5 November 2012

Obama vs Romney: Americans, get out and vote!

With election day just hours away, most American vote have their decision clearly in their minds. A decision, an answer to a simply, yet profound question. Obama or Romney? A question we've heard so much of over the last year or so, it's become very vivid in our minds, even from a non-American perspective.

Image taken from artshumanities.blogs.ie.edu
One of the most significant factors in this election is undoubtedly turnout. With the polls opening in around 36 hours time and most Americans being ready to vote, there are some who haven't made a decision, they don't intend to. Many believe that this election, more so than any before it will be shaped around the participation of the people. I'm not here to waffle on about voting rights and I'm not going to moan about freedom and lecture about those who died for freedom but I do believe that this election is so important. There is so much at stake, from the economy, to healthcare and so forth.

Unlike 2008, many hardcore Democratic supporters are believed not to have any intention to vote at all on Tuesday, a move that will no doubt help Romney's road to The White House. Many Democratic voters (especially youth supporters) are taking this action tomorrow on the basis of political discontent and a hyped up, spewed out view that Obama has simply not done enough, nor is Romney scary enough to Democratic supporters.

There are no doubt big distinguishing differences between the two candidates (mainly on social issues) However, the two of them have a lot in common, ideologically. Many Americans (especially Democrat sympathizers) simply see the candidates as too similar, which is why this election is being fought on the support of celebrity culture and PR. Over the last two weeks, American TV and internet has been scattered with support campaign adds with the use of celebrity pop culture. Nevertheless, the differences between these candidates, The Pragmatic Romney and the Smiley Face Obama are being played out by the media massively.

Despite this many Democrats and liberals who are still sticking with Barry-O-B find the prospect of a Romney presidency quit depressing, even scary. Just like many Republicans, according to opposition, this guy is a puppet of the rich. A millionaire himself, in an economy like this, a time of great austerity around the world, this man wants to cut taxes? he's an old school fiscal conservative with some very conservative views on women's rights, abortion and people in the workplace. He wants to run America like a corporation... as if as as nation it isn't already being run like one?

If your typically a Democrat, a supporter of Obama, fellow liberals, this election day needs you!. With the polls neck and neck, Romney is fighting with every last breath, every last dollar, attempting to gain support from every last, disgruntled voter. I'm not even an American but even I can see how important this election is to America, to The rest of the World. Please just free up an extra 10-15 mins out of your day and make a difference.

So Americans, get out and vote! It's once every 4 years and this time, in 2012, your country needs you more than ever.

The Internationalist will have a live feed Election 2012 tomorrow from 5:30pm EST (10:30pm GMT) you can find the live updates here. - http://www.theinternationalist.org/p/us-election-night-2012-liver.html

We'll also be host a live webcast from 7:00pm EST @ -http://www.blogtv.com/people/The_Internationalist
Please come by and discuss the results with us as they come in!
Image courtesy of News24.com


- Dom Jenks - The Internationalist 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

New Articles as of next week!

Now we're settled into our new homes, in our new cities it's finally time to get back to writing here at The Internationalist. After months of travelling, moving and generally not writing political material we're back online with our brand new site name - www.theinternationalist.org and as of next week you can expect to see much more content from us here at the blog.

We hope to cover some of the more controversial issues in modern world politics and in our new cities (Leicester and London) will be able to get a more in depth views on the stories we cover.

What's New?

- As you can see, our website name and blog design is slightly different, although we are keeping our traditional  logo that we adopted in the Spring.

- We're degree students now at our respective universities, studying similar (both political) degrees in quite different cities. I now live in North-West London while Ross lives in Leicester.

- Our 'Views and Opinions' page will soon be opening, where we hope to spread our own views, hear some of yours and engage in debate.

We'll be back writing as of next week so please stand by!
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