Well another year, another vote. As Election Day passes and positions are filled again, people are already looking ahead to next year’s election: the next Presidential election in 2012. It may be a little early to start saying who will come out victorious, but it is never too early to begin thinking about where you want your vote to go.
By now I’m sure someone is reading this and thinking, “Does my vote really matter?” The answer is, yes it does. Just in case anyone isn’t sure why the vote matters, here is a brief breakdown. Everyone over the age of 18 gets to vote for their favorite candidate. After everyone votes, each state tally’s their votes. This is called the Popular Vote. Now for argument’s sake let’s use the last election as an example. According to CNN, in New York 63% of the people voted for current President Obama, so he won the popular vote in New York. This number then goes into Congress. Based on how many members each state sends to Congress determines how many electoral votes they get. No state can have less than three since every state has to have two senators and one representative. New York has 29, California has the most with 54, and Vermont, Delaware, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, and North and South Dakota all tie for the least amount with three. Depending on population this amount can change; in 2008, New York had 31 electoral votes. From here each state representative places their electoral vote based on the popular vote. So since 62.2% of people voted for Obama in 2008, the 31 representatives placed their votes all for president Obama. The first candidate with 270 electoral votes becomes the new President of the United States.
This is an extremely long, tiring, and agitating process, so who in the world wants to bother running with all the stress? A lot of people, to answer the question, in fact far too many to list. First off, it is no national secret that President Obama will run again, but what are his odds this time around? According to a national poll done by the American Presidency Project, in January of 2009, 68% of Americans approved of Obama and as of November of this year only 42% approve of his policies. A 26% approval drop means he needs to put a little pep in his step for this next election. So you might ask, what are a few of his current policies he is pushing? Right now Obama is trying to cut back government spending, stabilize the middle class by creating jobs and cutting taxes, and helping small businesses stay alive with more governmental help. That are just a few of his home economic policies. Out in the mean world beyond our borders, the President is taking steps to encourage more democracy in places like Egypt and Libya, stretching better trade with places like South Korea, and his most recent and probably the biggest step, pulling any and all United States troops out of Iraq by the end of the year. This all sounds great, but obviously something isn’t right because of his 26% drop. Perhaps this is just because he needs more time to work, maybe it is all in process, after all Rome wasn’t built in a day and the economy wasn’t fixed in a night. It doesn’t help that the greedy rich don’t care who can’t afford to eat. So for now, let us all forget that 26% drop and look at what his second term may hold, which if all goes his way, might mean a fixed economy and a democratic world for all. That sounds fantastic, right? Well there are two sides to every story, and more than one candidate in every election. If the Republican Party has its way, President Obama will not be reelected in 2012, but can it produce a better candidate?
The Republicans need to find someone to run. This means that a whole bunch of different people will all fight for the one coveted spot, and only the best of them will have a chance to run nationally. Right now there are 16 people who have openly said they want the spot. Out of those 16, let’s look at the top three; Herman Cain, a business man from Georgia; once speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich; and the former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney. As of right now, national statistics say these three have the best shot of going head-to-head with Obama for that big oval office.
Herman Cain is up first. I’m going to ignore those sexual harassment charges from his past that he was asked about recently. I know they are there but I’d rather look at policy for now. According to his campaign website, Cain is a firm believer that the federal government has no right to pick which companies to bail out or give tax breaks to. This cuts out that horrific thought of favoritism. He also believes that workers rights should be left to unions and the federal government should be left out. And for all the non-business people he wants to cut taxes, which is always a crowd favorite, this sounds great, right? It will save a lot of money and help the little guy stay in business without that pesky favoritism issue. Now let us see his foreign policy. His website doesn’t give a clear plan of action but if you read it, you can tell what he wants. He wants to dump tons of money into the military for training, technology, and equipment. Current statistics show that the military uses billions of billions of dollars a year, if we poor more into that, then all that money you just saved is gone. Well no candidate is perfect right? Economically he has an idea, leave business to the business people, and government to the politicians, a decent idea.
So, what of this guy, Newt Gingrich? Newt Gingrich is by far no youngster coming in at age 68, which many may say is an issue, as they did with John McCain. But does age bring wisdom? Well, Newt has some similar ideas to that of Obama and Cain, cut taxes. Gingrich is highly in favor of cutting taxes and setting up laws that will permanently keep taxes at a set rate. He also wants to bring business back to America by giving tax cut incentives to industries that set up shop back here instead of outsourcing. This will bring back jobs, but when do you hit the point of too many incentives and breaks? Ok, foreign policy time. Gingrich has a very unique point of view; he basically wants to isolate the enemy from the rest of the world and defeat it. This cannot work and honestly, his view of the enemy is a bit too much for this writer, so I am going to end my bit on him here. If you want the specifics, feel free to visit his campaign website, newt.org, and find out for yourself.
Ok, our final candidate is Mitt Romney. Romney has a very detailed website that clearly states his purpose in our economicall- troubled country. Cut taxes (nothing new there), implement acts that will cut the federal budget by $20 billion, make it easier for unions to operate, and abolish the regulations making it harder to create jobs. Sounds great, right? However, it’s a bit repetitive. Romney brings another unique idea to the table, watch the world and avoid trouble before it comes to war. Romney wishes to involve America in many organizations worldwide and help keep the world at peace so that the costs of war aren’t an issue. His overall concept seems great but in order to do this Romney seems to have the idea that America needs to watch over everything at once, a concept that could go either way on the spectrum.
Well there it is, an extremely brief overview of what is to come. I say extremely brief because, well, there are literally dozens of parties who hope to run candidates and I only mentioned two. I also only mentioned a few of the candidates from those parties and I also highlighted from their policies, key points of thought that affect us most right now, especially the economical aspects. Every single party and every single candidate has a website. I strongly encourage you to view a few of them and get an idea of what else these candidates, and what some others, want to do. Four years is a long time and electing a president is no joke. It shapes what direction our country goes in, and what happens to us as a whole. Yes, your vote counts, so please use it wisely.