Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Humble but strong message of Barack Obama for the presidential elections in 2012

Adelina Marini, April 6, 2011

The presidential elections in Bulgaria will take place sometime between October 20th and November 20th. The date is yet to be negotiated. You are asking which year the elections will take place? Well, what do you mean which year? This year - 2011. Instead, the presidential elections in the United States will be in 2012 but the date is known for a long time - November 6th, while the primaries will start in January 2012 (for the Republicans they have already started in some states). With each day more and more candidates announce their bids and on April 4 the incumbent president (Barack Obama) has announced his intention to try for a second term. How about Bulgaria? There is still not even one officially announced candidate! Not even one! Half a year before the elections!

It begins with us

This is the slogan of President Barack Obama's campaign, whose election team has been organised a little less than a month ago and in which no representative of Mr Obama's government participates. His team consists of young volunteers who believe in the success of their candidate. Moreover, the campaign headquarters will be not in Washington but in Chicago, Barack Obama's home town. Where his career as a senator started, where he launched his campaign for the presidential elections in 2008.

His campaign was launched with a simple video in which supporters of his explain what they expect from him. The most impressive thing, however, for me, was the key message, conveyed by a mid-aged woman: "I had this perception that politics was all show, all soundbites, but politics is how we govern ourselves. That's what politics is". In addition to this statement, in his short message when announcing his presidential bid, Barack Obama said another very important thing:

"We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you -- with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build".

In his statement President Obama also says that lasting change (change was part of his slogan in the previous campaign) does not come quickly or easily. In an attempt to protect progress achieved, Obama's encirclement has decided to ask for Americans' trust for a second time.

Who is standing Barack Obama against?

Yet a month ago, responding to numerous journalistic questions, the rival in the previous election race and now a Secretary of State - Hillary Clinton - announced firmly that she would not make a second presidential bid. Very interesting is the other (for now announced) candidate of the democrats - Randall Terry, an activist from New York, who in January this year switched from the Republicans' camp to the Democrats. In the beginning of September 2012 the Democratic Party will hold a national convention which will elect the party's nomination for the presidential elections. Yet in January the primaries will start, so more names are expected to appear in the democrats' list.

The race in the republican camp already seems very contested. The candidates are a lot and among them there are unknown names but also names we know very well. The most expected and controversial nomination is that of Newt Gingrich, a former Chairman of the House of Representatives, considered being a neocon and a hardliner. The national convention of the Republican Party will be in the end of August 2012. Then the republican nomination will be announced. Among the conservative candidates are familiar names like the former candidates Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, who was a candidate for a vice president to John McCain in 2008.

The stake

The battle lines are already clearly defined for the upcoming year and a half. The Republicans have built their strategy upon criticism against the most significant reforms Barack Obama's administration has started - healthcare, spending cuts (aimed at reducing the huge budget deficit), economic policy, unkept promises and foreign policy. These are the points which Obama's team will try to defend as achievements.

Only two years after the severe recession that welcomed Barack Obama at the very doorstep of the White House, there is a very clear trend of decreasing unemployment and economic growth. A problem however is the budget gap as well as the global economic situation. So, what Americans will have to decide is whether they want to take part in saving themselves and their country or wait for the messiah who will decide on their behalf and then generations to come will pay the bill. By the way, this is the choice the Bulgarians will also have to make again since we have that right.

And when we begin making this choice it will not be too bad to see the websites of the two main parties in the US in order to see how much money they have raised so far to fund their campaigns. Look also at the web pages of the Bulgarian political parties, whose presence in the public domain is being funded by our taxes but also by many unknown people or entities. Only then you should make your choice.