Presidential Race Heats Up
October 26, 2012 by Nathan Gengler
Obama and Romney gear up for the home stretch of the campaign.
Election season is back, and whether you like it or not, what happens this fall is of the utmost importance. Whomever is selected to lead the country for the next four years will have momentous ramifications for decades to come. A few lucky students at Thomas Jefferson will have the opportunity to vote in this election, and this right of passage is a great responsibility, as those who can vote must make an informed decision. Even for the students who cannot vote, there are still ways to voice opinions and help change the course of the election.
After months of hustling around to every corner of the country, former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney has secured the Republican nomination for President. This means that he will face incumbent, President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party. While many other candidates representing other parties are officially in the race, experts suggest that none of them will challenge the Democrats or Republicans.
Both parties are focusing on a set of issues that are currently gripping the nation. “The public is most concerned with healthcare, the economy, jobs, and taxes. These are issues that Obama and Romney will highlight, but ironically, their job as President does not give them much power to change policy over these topics,” says Thomas Jefferson Government Teacher Jon Poole. Even if the President cannot control legislation over these issues, candidates still recognize that the public cares about them. This is evidenced by the recent Democratic and Republican conventions when important figures in each party spoke to supporters and a nationwide television audience. Speakers did their best to advertise their nominee by explaining different policies and ideas that candidates had. A great deal of time and attention was placed on the economy, jobs, and healthcare during the speeches. Prominent figures like Bill Clinton and Clint Eastwood dominated headlines for their eccentric presentations. Clinton used his admired status in the political world to give Obama and the Democratic Party added integrity. At the Republican convention in Tampa Florida, Eastwood took a creative approach to criticizing the Obama administration by humorously conversing with an empty chair not filled by the President.
As the race heats up, the candidates and their parties have been feverishly advertising themselves in an attempt to get through to undecided voters. Television ads are the most evident advertisements, with topics ranging from immigration to government spending. According to the Washington Post, $473.4 million has been spent nationally with an average of $534 per ad. Political analysts and viewers alike have noted the negative tone given off by many of the ads. Nationally, 79% of all political ads have been negative.
In order to maximize the effect of each ad, candidates and organizations are focusing on “Battleground States.” These are states where one party does not possess any overwhelming support. This is important because in the Electoral College System, by which Presidential elections are governed,votes in these states are crucial because they help decide weather one candidate wins or loses the entire state. It just so happens that Colorado is considered a “Battleground State.” It is evident that the political world has taken notice as 24.1 million dollars in TV ads have been spent in the Denver region alone. These ads may grow tiresome, but one advantage to getting this extra attention is that, as Coloradans, our opinions are valued more.
Realclearpolitics.com has kept a watchful eye on our state by carefully conducting public opinion polls for each candidate. After leading the polls since the onset of the election, President Obama lost his lead on the 6th of October. Public opinion seems to constantly be in a state of flux, so it is fair to expect more drama from day to day.
Attention turned to our great state as the first round of Presidential Debates commenced at the University of Denver on October 3, 2012. This massive event closed down a six-mile stretch of I-25 from 5:00 P.M. to 10:00 p.m. on the day of the debate. Reporters from networks all over the world flocked to Denver to analyze the event. Both Obama and Romney took the debate as an opportunity to impugn the statements of each other. Most experts agree, however, that Romney seemed more confident and on the offensive while Obama was slightly flat. Even supporters of the President had to admit defeat with prominent democrats like satirist Jon Stewart conceding, “…he had a very difficult night.” As the first debate of the season, this event set the tone for the rest of election.
The second Presidential debate that took place on October 16th gave Obama the change to make up some ground. The town hall format of the debate allowed for the two candidates to get up close and personal with one another and at certain times it appeared that a physical confrontation was about to break out. Luckily, the two men were able to restrain themselves and have a somewhat civilized discussion. According to most experts, this debate was less lopsided but the general consensus is that the President came away with a slim victory.
With one more debate on the 22nd of October on tap, there is still a lot to be decided between now and election day. Whatever the outcome, it is important to stay educated on the candidates and the race so that everyone can have informed opinions about this crucial decision. So, from getting your opinions out to getting in the booth and voting, Spartans can have a big impact this election.