IN AN ERA where the scrutiny is like never before, information is as transparent as ever and
accountability at its supreme, the US election was a benchmark for the electoral process. Or was it?
The victory for Obama was defined by a process that is as stringent as one can get. The primaries for the Republican nominees was an ongoing process for the last two and more years and the winner of that, Mitt Romney, got to face off with Obama. While initially Romney struggled to match up to Obama, the symbolism of the electoral system was in the right place.
The debates that impacted the neutral voter
There were discussions on a wide range of issues – the economy, energy and employment. These discussions were transparent and culminated in three debate sessions which pitted the candidates against each other. Despite some pre-agreed orchestrations, there were real issues discussed and it did alter the psyche of the neutral voter who was still undecided. The entire electoral process, in its theoretical form at least, symbolised a society that is forward looking and progressive in terms of its priorities in choosing their candidate for the highest office in their country. In addition, it also symbolised the power of the people considering that Obama, being an African American and with no political lineage, was able to win twice in the most competitive race for the President’s office in the world.
Despite the positive elements to the American electoral story, there are many question marks on the same. First, it is reported that this American election was one of the costliest ever in the history of elections globally. It cost each candidate about $3.0 billion, equivalent to the GDP of some countries. The implementation of law that allows endless spending on TV ads had also sky-rocketed during these elections. This had ensured the budgets of the candidates ballooned with the infinite possibilities of reaching the voter via electronic media across the platforms. This large budget of course came with a lot of corporate baggage and this leads us to the next issue in the elections.