Columnists

Duncan Cameron
Money could not buy Mitt Romney the White House

| November 7, 2012
Photo: BusinessInsider.com

The road to the White House is raise, and spend, more money than your opponent.

Barack Obama won re-election despite reported spending of nearly $400 million by the Republican campaign to defeat him. Fully 80 per cent of individual contributions to the Romney campaign were large individual contributions. 

Thanks to "Citizens United" a Supreme Court decision supposedly defending freedom of  speech, U.S. airwaves have been overrun by attack ads demonizing the U.S. president, paid for, not by the Republican party itself, but by outsiders with a partisan agenda. Campaigning against Obama were millionaires, billionaires, corporations, and their political action committees (PACS and SuperPacs).

Facing the biggest infusion of third party money in the history of electoral politics, the Obama campaign went out and raised over $600 million for its own campaign, and it mobilized outside money of its own. 

The Obama campaign went negative, chastising George Romney as a corporate raider, an outsourcer of American jobs, and someone who pays taxes at a lower rate (14 percent) than middle class income earners. 

Romney lost the election in the American rust belt, the once proud industrial heartland of Michigan (where he grew up, and his father was Governor), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York and Illinois (home state to Obama). 

While Romney did well in coal producing areas, he sealed his fate by opposing federal support for the Big Three Automakers. Romney signed an op-ed in the New York Times entitled (by the editors) 'Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.' This cost him support in Ohio, the key state he needed if he wanted to win. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio.

The 2012 election results revealed a divided America. The Obama campaign could claim support from African Americans, Latino voters, youth, single people and a majority of women. Republican voters were white, and married. While Obama won the swing states, and therefore a majority of votes in the electoral college, the popular vote gave only a narrow lead to the incumbent.

The Democratic president will have a Democratic Senate, but face a Republican House of Representatives. 

Obama has been a disappointment to supporters looking for the "change you can believe in" promised in 2008. Drone attacks, bombing Libya, the Afghan war, in foreign policy -- it is American business as usual. Economic decline, and deepening inequalities are not being addressed.

Not having Romney in the White House is good news. His campaign promises were menacing for women, the unemployed, Iran, the sick, climate change activists and public integrity.

New York Review of Books writer Elizabeth Drew caught the flavour of the American presidential election: 'The Republicans' plan is that if they can’t buy the 2012 election they will steal it.'

Analysis of recent elections show there is no way Americans can have confidence their national elections reflect the will of the people.

There is little doubt that both George W. Bush's presidential victories were fraudulent. Polls reported he lost Florida in 2000 but thanks to his brother, Jeb Bush, the Florida Governor, state officials and the Republican nominated Supreme Court, the winner, Democrat Al Gore, was denied the re-count he needed to prove he won. Manipulation of voting machines helped Republicans steal Ohio for Bush in 2004. Bush would not have taken office if he had not stolen Florida in 2000, or Ohio in 2004.  

The United States needs a serious reform of its electoral practices. Not only has big money turned democratic debate into an ad buy contest, partisan control over the electoral process puts the integrity of elections into serious question.

 

Photo: BusinessInsider.com

 

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