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Super Tuesday and on the home front


It is now Wednesday morning and the time is 10:00am and as I sit in front of my computer after a hard night monitoring political developments in the United States in what is referred to as Super Tuesday, I feel compelled to comment on the Democratic contest which pits Barrack Obama against Hilary Clinton. Of particular interest is the fact that they represent two minorities that span gender and race.{{more}} Some one once said that the rest of the world should be allowed to vote in American elections, for whatever happens in the United States of America affects all of us, as the war in America clearly demonstrates. Is the looming economic crisis in America not at some stage related to the US$700 building a day that is being spent on the Iraq War? The contests in America have created interest not because two minority candidates are setting the scene afire but because friends of America throughout the world are hoping that Americans would elect someone who helps to restore American credibility and erase the hatred with which this country is felt in the rest of the world. Let us, however, not be carried away with this because ultimately little changes, for American policy is not decided by the millions who vote for the candidates or by the President but by corporate America, by the establishment. There might be differences in approaches to the Iraq war and other such issues but fundamentally little will change. America is America and there are certain things which no one dares touch.

Having said all of that, things are happening which not many people thought could have happened. Let me say before I continue on this theme that this is not the real contest. This is simply to select contestants and many other things will come into play when the time for the real contest comes around. George Bush has been a ‘God Send’ for Hilary and Obama, but particularly for Obama. That is why his message calling for change is resonating so well among young Americans. America has suffered under George Bush. It has lost confidence in itself. It wants to restore its image, whatever that image is. After two terms of George Bush, who will not want change! Obama’s talk of diversity, of bringing people together and working for a change that is still undecided, has indeed resounded among many people.

A few weeks ago many felt that Super Tuesday would have been the end of Obama’s spirited challenge. With twenty two states up for grab few gave him a real chance. But he has astounded all of them, winning most of the contests on Super Tuesday. He had little chance with New York, despite its sizable black population. After all, Hilary Clinton is the sitting Senator and was extremely popular with blacks there. Many Afro-Americans in New York would have found themselves in an extremely difficulty situation. In California, time was against Obama. A number of the ballots cast weeks ago would have gone to Clinton for a number of reasons. Obama’s rise was only in the last few weeks. Hilary had greater name recognition. But even more she is the wife of Bill Clinton whom many, particularly in the Hispanic Community, fondly remember. Besides Bill Clinton’s formidable electoral machinery has been resurrected. So Obama’s struggle was an uphill one. Many observers agree that Obama has a gift for connecting with people, but with 22 states up for grabs it would have been difficult for him to have the kind of presence that he needed in all of them. But despite all of that, Obama won the majority of seats on Tuesday, winning in most of the mid western states.

Blacks who were at first reluctant to move to Obama because they assumed that he had little chance of success are now gravitating heavily toward him. The irony of this is that he has had to play down his Afro-American self and instead focus what he calls a broad coalition. A significant part of this coalition is young Americans, many of them college educated, people who are more comfortable with blacks, having been associated with them in Colleges and Universities. Obama’s victories span areas right across America and in the south, showing growing support especially with white males who had formerly supported John Edwards, apparently moving to him. Whether or not Obama succeeds in his quest, he is showing that something is happening in America that we would not have dreamt about five years ago. Obama is quite articulate, something that was known a few years ago when he was given the signal honour of giving a feature address at the Democratic National Convention. He has also been strong on the matter of ‘hope’, something desperately needed by Americans after the Bush’s debacle. He is obviously inspiring millions of young Americans who find something magic in his words and message. There is still a long way to go and we wait to see what kind of momentum comes out of Super Tuesday, with both candidates being able to claim victory. Already there is speculation about a Clinton-Obama ticket but this is highly unlikely- two minority candidates will go against traditional thinking. Obama would lose his message if he talks about change and then runs on a ticket with a candidate who really is seen as an insider, as a continuation of the Bill Clinton machinery. There are also still some differences in their approaches to the Iraq war, so that combination is highly unlikely. The question is, would the enthusiasm and excitement that Obama has generated go over into the presidential campaign if he is not on the ticket? Would the young people and independent voters rally around the Democratic Party and go to the polls? There is still a long road ahead, with many more questions to be asked.

On the Home Front

The past week has been a difficult one for this country, with a lot of allegations and ‘ole talk’. The issue that has been inflaming the country is one I would rather not deal with. The allegations against the Prime Minister are serious ones that would have been better dealt with in Courts, but the actions by the DPP have brought the issue out into the public. The Press Conference held by the alleged victim’s mother and her lawyers was held simply because of the abortion of the court proceedings. This is unfortunate because it leads to continuing speculation that will not be healthy for the country. I strongly believe that one should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. One of the things that puzzle me is the matter of political conspiracy. This has not been fully explained, at least based on what I heard. The mother of the alleged victim claims that she has always been a member of the Labour Party. But more seriously, if the alleged victim was behind any political conspiracy, what is she supposed to gain from it? In what way would she have been involved in this conspiracy? Has she been paid? Has she been promised something? If so, what? While there are other serious issues for the country to deal with, we have been caught up with this matter. I really hope that it comes back to Court and be dealt with in a manner that would prevent continuation of all of the speculation and allegations that can only harm the image of the country.