- Posted October 12, 2012 by
Washington DC, District of Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
U.S. election: Your global views
Obama Vs Romney – Who is Worst for Pakistan?
Looking back in time, I was in America during the 2008 Presidential Elections and was a die-hard fan for Obama – for his promise of “Hope”, advocacy for “Change”, and for the perspective “Peace” I thought he would be bringing to the world. And then the bell-curved politics happened. He got elected, got the Nobel Prize for Peace, and then went downward. As a Pakistani, I witnessed the cut in foreign aid, far more drone attacks, Raymond Davis and his “license to kill”, Attack on Salala check post killing 24 of our troops, thrashing the country’s sovereignty on Osama’s killing, and the worst relationship with America in the history of my beloved country. My definitions and confidence for words like “Peace”, “Hope” and “Change” have altered for good.
Now, as the Election Day is coming again, I am wondering what it would mean for Pakistan, when 90 million American voters will cast their vote on November 6th? Who will be the worst for Pakistan – Obama or Romney? Who to believe? and who not to believe? Listening to presidential debates and the media coverage, I would rather go with Gary Johnson (Libertarian party nominee for the 2012 presidential elections) for his anti-war rhetoric and focusing on America’s own problems.
To run for the President’s office in the US, there are only three requirements as per law, one should be the citizen of United Sates, be resident in the country for 14 years, and should be 35 years of age or older (ironically, we have none in Pakistan – person can be a national of any country and can get his NIC as soon as he touches down in his jet, may not be living in the country at all (we can import head of states), and should be of any age, as soon as the age conflicts with the law, we will pass another amendment bill). But with campaigns and advertisements, there are millions of millions of dollars that one needs before even thinking to go for the office (that is true in both countries). The estimated campaign cost for this US presidential election is 3 billion US$. The campaign organizers even charge the media organizations for their journalists who want to accompany the candidates during their debate and public meetings, for as much as 1,000 US per hour, and separate cost of food, accommodation etc. There are only four media organizations in the US who were able to send-in their staff members for this reason. Although, there is a Federal Election Commission to monitor the affairs, but it is as powerless as traffic police in our motherland in front of politicians.
US has the Electoral College system where the winning candidate gets all the electoral votes of the winning state. There are 538 total electoral votes and to be elected as a president, one needs 270. There are states overwhelmingly in favor of Republicans (Red States), and there are safe states for Democrats (Blue), and there are few states called swing states or battleground states (Purple states) where no party has the majority and the state can swing in either direction at the day of election. Historically and technically speaking, Democrats (Obama) have 237 almost-confirmed electoral votes, while the republicans (Romney) have 191. There are nine swing states that everyone is counting on for this election Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. If Obama able to grab even only the bigger three out of total nine, he would win the election.
Obama’s mantra for this election has been the “General Motors is alive, and Osama is Dead”, while the Romney claims “Hope is not a Strategy”, more aggressive foreign policy, and cracking down on China for jobs and outsourcing. I am wondering how far US can go when it comes to outsourcing with China (or India for that matter). I bought a Lincoln Memorial souvenir outside the white house, it says “Made in China” in the back, I bought the copy of US bill of rights and US constitution from the library of congress, it says “Made in China”, the notebook I am writing on and the pen I am writing with that I bought from the CVS are “Made in China” too.
According to WSJ, Pakistan would go with Obama as he is more predictable and easier to understand than Romney. On my way back, the African-American taxi driver told me, that he would only vote for “Brother Obama”. Obama definitely has the edge for all African-Americans, Latinos and Hispanic Voters. Pakistanis in the US are generally supporting Obama, while Indians are more inclined towards Romney. But, we can always count south Asians as purple (can swing in either direction on their will).
While, America is busy in crazy debates (to fill-in the large airtime devoted to elections) from the level of shoe shining a candidate must wear on debates to Obama blinks 1,000 times more than Romney, from body language cues to which school the candidates went to, from migration patterns that are threatening the political inclination of the states to the foreign policies, and from hypothetical questions of space wars to pro-gay, pro-women, and pro-everything movements, I, as a Pakistani, can easily conclude that no one is better for Pakistan, the question remains, who is the worst?