When Barack Obama finally managed to become the 44th President of the United States of America, many people lauded the victory but still questioned as to how a young African-American man could exceed all the expectations and take America’s top chief executive officer position. Therefore, analyzing President Obama’s elections, questions such as how and what motivated him to contest remain problematic taking into account a country where white population largely dominates. The paper, therefore, tries to look at the strengths of Obama’s presidential campaign. Obama relied on the use of the Internet and social media more than any other presidential candidate in the history of the United States of America. He further employed young and liberal-minded youths as his strategists. Obama’s choice of slogan was also in line with the situation people of America were facing at that time. Through three ways above, Obama managed to beat McCain and Romney and became the President.
Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2008 after successful running of 3 terms as a senator for Illinois. President Obama who was born in the year of 1961 has had a political dream right from his moments in Chicago. After completing political science degree, Obama invested much of his time in community work, which, eventually, urged him to contest for the senatorial seat. The dream of becoming the President of the United States of America was, therefore, born during his work at the Senate where Obama contributed to the passage of taxation and healthcare bills in support of eradication of poverty from America. His bold step in challenging Bush’s administration in the year of 2000 over the Iraq war also put him abreast of the presidential contest in America. Obama successfully won his primaries for the Democrats’ position in the year of 2008 after a close contest with Hillary Clinton and, later, managed to beat the Republican presidential candidate McCain as well as became the first Afro-American President of the United States. He further successfully defended the position in the year of 2012 in a contest with the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. The paper shows how Obama had conducted his campaigns to beat McCain and Romney and become the first African-American President to running for 2 terms.
Early Life and Preparation for the Presidency
President Obama beat the challenges of being a black American born outside the United States and became the 44th President of the country as well as the first black President of the United States (Bligh & Kohles, 2009). Obama was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and an American mother from Kansas. Ann Dunham, President Obama’s mother, later had to remarry in the year of 1965, four years after the birth of Barack in 1961 (Bligh & Kohles, 2009). At this point, his mother moved with him to Indonesia. They lived there until Barack Obama at the age of 10 years moved back to Hawaii to reside with his grandparents. Obama spent his childhood in very humble background where his grandparents suffered financial constraints. He, however, valued his education more than anything else. The future President attended the Occidental College, Columbia University and later joined Harvard law school where he studied political science and law respectively (Bligh & Kohles, 2009). During his stay in the university, Barack Obama participated in student leadership activities that nurtured his political career. Immediately after the completion of his university education, Obama decided to engage in community leadership as a community organizer, which later urged him to join the Democratic party in order to pursue his ambitions in American politics. In 1996, therefore, President Obama contested for the Illinois Senatorial seat, the position he successfully managed to clinch (Greengard, 2009). He further took the same position in 2000 and 2004; there he gained enough experience especially in drafting and passing healthcare and taxation bills for the purpose of eradicating poverty from the United States of America.
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Huge amount of propaganda from the contestants, which was aimed at creating disparity on racial grounds, marked Obama’s move to take the top political seat. For example, Republicans attacked Obama over his pastor’s remarks about the whites engineering the HIV virus to destroy his family; educational and social background, however, has played a key role in his election and reelection as the President of the United States of America (Heilemann & Halperin, 2010). It is important to note that the hardship the future President underwent during his early childhood and as a result of the separation of his parents as well as financial difficulties made him focused on the achieving of his goals.
The 2007/2008 Democrats Nomination
Even though Obama had a very great passion for the presidency, it was not until February, 2007 when he officially declared his stand and start of the campaign for his election. His declaration was symbolic since he launched his bid at a square outside the old Whitehouse in the state of Illinois at an exact place where Abraham Lincoln had made his speech in 1958, which is popularly known as a “house-divided speech” (Heilemann & Halperin, 2010). Obama at this point included a team of very young men to run his campaign as they were doing already during his bid for the senatorial position (Heilemann & Halperin, 2010). Their main target was the use of the social media and other Internet platforms in creating a revolution in the American politics. It was the first time when the social media were put to test as regards to their power to provide huge support within a short period of time. His campaign team was largely composed of young black and white people with liberal ideas.
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At the initial stages of running for Democrats nomination, Obama was declared an underdog due to his inexperience compared to Hillary Clinton and Edwards who had served on senior executive positions (Hibbs, 2012). His team, which had the chief strategist, Axelrod, initiated a very sophisticated plan using the social media, which as Obama saw, acquired many donors and other volunteers in steering his campaign. With the major use of Internet, at the year of 2008, Obama was already at the top of the list, ahead of Clinton and Edwards, which astonished many residents of America (Hibbs, 2012). At this point, the deviation between Obama and other Democrats’ candidates stood at 8% level. Clinton further won the New Hampshire primaries outpacing Obama for 3 points, which he recovered later in South Carolina (Hibbs, 2012). Obama won the support of the black people of America after the lower contest since they believed now that time for the whites to vote for a black President had come indeed. Obama, therefore, enjoyed subsequent primary contests beating Hillary Clinton and Edwards (Weeks & Southwell, 2010). At the end of the primaries, Clinton claimed lead of 20 states while Obama had 19 ones with an added advantage of winning majority of the delegates.
Obama focused on three issues during his campaign trail to outdo Hillary Clinton. The first one was based on his attack on Presidents Bush’s administration about the war in Iraq. He successfully defended his position as to why the war was unnecessary (Kenski, Hardy & Jamieson, 2010). He, therefore, beat Clinton because she did not have defined position regarding this issue and changed her attitude to it for several times. Secondly, Obama beat Clinton with regard to their ambitions and manifestos. Firstly, he decided to use a slogan of change during the period when America was undergoing financial constraints as against Clinton’s appeal to experience (Kenski, Hardy & Jamieson, 2010). Obama won since America was determined for change and unexperienced leader. The last aspect that brought victory to Barack Obama was the move to contest the primaries but still keep the delegates in caucuses of 17 states where Clinton made it to acquire the support of only 3 states (Kenski, Hardy & Jamieson, 2010). Obama, therefore, won the primaries, and Clinton surrendered on the 7th of June, 2008.
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Victory over John McCain
After his nomination as the Democrats’ flag bearer, president Obama faced many challenges especially when his pastor, Wright, blamed the American government for engineering the HIV virus as means of eradicating blacks. Since Obama took his own stand, he was negatively affected in his bid of convincing the whites to vote for him as opposed to Arizona’s senator, John McCain (Piston, 2010). Putting in mind the relevance and importance of his acceptance speech, Obama focused on key issues affecting America. Top in his list were fair taxation to the poor, concluding the Iraq war in a respectable manner, eradicating America’s dependence on oil from the Arabic countries, and healthcare enhancing (Piston, 2010). The choice of Palin who was a young lady serving in the gubernatorial position as McCain’s running mate further raptured Obama’s ambitions (Piston, 2010).Obama’s choice of Joe Biden who was more experienced figure in international affairs, therefore, reclaimed his hopes for the presidency (Tesler & Sears, 2010). During general elections. however, President Obama managed to beat McCain by 53% of the votes against McCain’s 46 percent in the general vote and 365 supporters from the electoral college compared to McCain’s 173 votes and was declared President on the 4th of November, 2008.
Re-Elections in the Year 2012
While Obama concentrated on his achievements especially in the health sector and capture of Osama bin Laden as his key appeals to the people of America for a second term, the opposition from the Republicans with Mitt Romney as a leader was overwhelming (Abramowitz, 2012). They criticized Obama’s Recovery Act as the one aimed at lowering the quality of medical care in America. They further stated that he had failed in raising the standards of living in the United States by increasing the unemployment rates in the country. The House of Representatives starting from the year of 2010, therefore, stood strongly led by Democrats while the Senate where Democrats were dominating was sending a signal to Obama’s re-election struggle (Abramowitz, 2012). Amidst the challenges, however, Obama that time was financially stable and ready for the running of his campaign and, therefore, swiftly clinched the Democrats’ position together with Joe Biden for a second term.
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What aided Obama during his second run was the fact that he was able to consolidate the support of all the Democrats as opposed to Mitt Romney who came under attack of even his own Republican party’s members (Abramowitz, 2012). The House of Representative’s speaker Mr. Gingrich, for example, accused him of looting companies (Motyl, 2014). Mitt Romney managed to lead in the first debates but Obama was able to win as a result of several factors. Firstly, before elections, a report was released that Obama had reduced unemployment rates up to 8%, which was a credit on him. Secondly, the quick response, which Obama offered during the Hurricane Sandy in America, further strengthened his lead (Motyl, 2014). Eventually, Obama won the presidential elections for a second term, however, with a very narrow margin in history of any sitting president seeking for re-election in America (Motyl, 2014). He also lost dominance in the House of Representatives in favor of the Republicans even though he reclaimed the lead in the Senate but with a very small number. Obama is currently finalizing his second presidential term in the Office.
In conclusion, Obama’s journey to the presidency was an unbelievable one especially for the white population of America. The fact that he was born outside the country and to a Kenyan father also worsened his situation. Through his Democrats’ nomination against Clinton and Edwards, Obama relied majorly on the social media in the cementing of his support. Through his resilience, he managed to beat McCain and become the 44th President of America and the First black President of the United States. His track record also saw him beat Mitt Romney to reclaim the presidency in the year of 2012.
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