Four years ago I remember looking out the window of Eggers Hall, my Freshman dorm, and seeing the swirling mob of support for Barack Obama, the newly elected President of the United States. I remember feeling like I was apart of something, that I had voted for a new era of America. I was optimistic.
Four years later, I voted for the same man. The same man won the Presidency. The optimism isn’t the same.
I felt that Obama had done enough with his first term that he deserved my vote for a second time. I couldn’t trust Mitt. I felt that the difference in economic policy was negligible enough that the social policy could swing my vote. Even though the President’s social policy rarely comes under fire. Especially in a term that expects very little Supreme Court turnover. But still, it felt like the Republicans didn’t really expect to win the election. So why should they get my vote?
In 2008 I was hopeful. We had just voted in a black President. America had GONE somewhere. I felt proud of my country. Proud of our growth. That less than 60 years after african-americans were refused the right to vote, that a brown-skinned man could win the Presidency. It was maybe the most staggering example of American racial progress in decades. In 2012, it felt more like default. It felt like the Republicans mailed this one in. In late March, when it became clear that Romney was Obama’s challenger, I declared Obama the immediate winner. No way Obama didn’t beat this stiff. Romney’s flaws were so massive that they could be targeted from miles away. But I mean somebody had to run, right?
Default. Republicans never wanted to win this election. It’s sickening how much of a plutocracy America has become. That the big two-party system can mail in four years of control with knowledge that they can run the next eight. I mean, best-case scenario for Republicans is Obama does little with his second term which gives them more firepower to vote in a strong first-time running candidate.
Is this what America has become? That one-half of the political parties can mail in an election, conceding nearly a decade of power in order to ensure control for the following decade? The best Republican candidates were probably told from Republican higher-ups to refrain from this election. They understand the incumbant advantage. Why fire your best shot at an inopportune time? In baseball, smart managers don’t use your best reliever in a three-run game in the sixth inning. You wait until things are up for grabs, like the 8th in a one-run game with runners on second and third. Or in politics, when you can throw your best candidates into the ring (Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio) in 2016 and let them fight for the spot against a wide-open Democratic party which may be looking at an uphill anti-Obama America. You know, like in 2008 when Democrats could of rolled a corpse with a “Fuck Bush” t-shirt on and won the election over McCain.
This election shows the disconnect between the politicians and the public. They think 12 years ahead. We think two years ahead, at best.
I’m glad Obama won. But I can’t say I’m optimistic for the future of America.
And no, I wouldn’t be optimistic if Romney won either.