After the costliest presidential campaign in American history, President Barack Obama won his bid for a second term. Although he triumphed over his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, examination of the popular vote shows the victory was small.
When such tight margins accompany an election, Americans get a sense of how politically divided their country is.
Several students at UMHB voiced their thoughts on the recent election and offered predictions for what the next four years will hold.
“I had a choice, but I didn’t really like either,” sophomore history major Matthew Boden said. “I liked certain things about each candidate.”
The kind of political dilemma that Boden expressed might be explained by a growing sentiment that circumstances will not reverse themselves as a result of who is elected.
He said, “I feel as though not much will change.”
While some were not impressed with either candidate, others had more definitive views.
“I preferred Romney over Obama,” freshman biology major James Poppenhussen said.
He was more confident in the Republican nominee on fiscal matters. The economy was among his priority issues.
“I preferred Romney because of health care plans, tax reform, and his plan to get our economy out of what it is right now,” Poppenhussen said.
Deshone Jones, a freshman business and computer information systems major, had a contrasting response. He favored Obama.
“Looking at Romney’s side with the financial aid, he got a big ‘no’ from me,” he said. “Most college students can’t afford it, so we rely on financial aid, so I voted for Obama.”
Concerning the Nov. 6 outcome, Jones said, “I’m very pleased.”
Senior accounting major Elizabeth Alven also weighed in. She supported Obama because she prefers his economic plan.
“Given the near economic collapse that President Obama inherited, the recovery will take an extended period of time,” she said. “I believe that President Obama’s economic recovery plan is more balanced because it requires sacrifice from all Americans.”
Alven is also confident in the president’s ability to handle foreign affairs.
She said, “In addition, Obama has done a very good job on the international front. Romney has limited experience in world affairs.”
Although Alven liked the Democratic candidate, she did not like the 2012 campaign on either side.
“I was disgusted with the whole election, from both parties, but was pleased with the outcome,” she said.
Like Jones, Poppenhussen and Alven, Jonathan Brachman, a freshman accounting major, identified the economy as his most important issue. However, as a Libertarian, he was disappointed that Ron Paul did not win the Republican nomination. Brachman’s next favorite participant was Gary Johnson, who ran as the Libertarian candidate.
He interpreted his unique viewpoint as a combination of Republican and Democratic ideas.
Brachman said, “The Libertarian point of view takes the Republicans’ domestic policies and the Democrats’ foreign policies.”
While Romney was not his first choice, Brachman hoped he would defeat the incumbent president.
“I did not believe that Obama was fit for saving the economy due to the unemployment rate being the exact same as it has been ever since he went into office.”
Freshman biology major Bennett Farley, who identifies himself as a traditional Republican, had a more conservative outlook on the election. He liked Romney’s economic strategy over the president’s.
He said, “Romney, being for small and large business growth, would have been the best choice for the country …. President Barack Obama, believing in wealth redistribution and ‘Obamacare’ is the opposite of what America needs to survive.”
Farley’s distrust for Obama’s economic plan leads him to wonder if America will see the chaos that Greece is experiencing. He also referenced the sharp drop in the Dow Jones that followed the election as an indication that investors share his views.
Sophomore nursing major Deanna Dawdy is another student displeased with election night’s result. The issue most important to her is health care.
She worries that an all-encompassing government form of medical care may diminish health care quality in the U.S.
Dawdy said, “With the Obamacare, hospitals will have to turn away people because the lack of resources and space capacity.”
She is also worried about what it will mean for people from other countries who look to the United States for efficient medical attention.
“With the new health care form, people will be literally having to take a number before they will be allowed to see the doctor, which could take up to months,” she said. “That is how Great Britain runs their health care …. Many people from Europe come to America for treatment because they know they will get seen by a doctor within the day they show up at the hospital.”
The system brings concerns about her chosen career path. She fears the European style may inhibit competition in the medical industry.
“The Obamacare will affect my major as a nurse because it will limit my performance as a health care provider.”
As America embarks on its next four-year political journey, many are full of hope while an almost equal number have serious concerns based on the current economic situation.
In giving his acceptance speech, Obama acknowledged the difficulties of the past four years and offered assurance of better times to come.
“Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”