Obama’s ‘Hollow Victory’!
The Turkish media, in an unprecedented move, covered the American elections from the afternoon of Nov. 6 until the morning of Nov. 7. Had it not been for the obstacle of the 7-10 hours of time difference, the Turkish media would have declared the president elect earlier than the American media. It is hard to imagine how the Turkish audience imagined the American elections, after repeatedly hearing about electoral votes and how the popular vote does not necessarily determine the election, political action committees (PAC), the Supreme Court, Ohio, healthcare reform, the national deficit, the auto industry, the Florida scenario and the black and Latino votes.
Let’s leave the “Turkish dimension” of the elections at the enriched media critique, ethnographic research and postcolonial political psychology phase and turn instead to the “American dimension” of the elections. The 2012 election has taken its place in American history as the most expensive, most fiercely competitive election that held the most possibility of varied outcomes.
If we leave aside the so-called “professional courtesy” of the presidential candidates, both Obama and Romney ran 80 and 85-percent negative and aggressive campaigns, respectively. According to one calculation, Obama’s campaign spent $30 a second during the month of October, in line with earlier predictions of astronomic figures for the campaign. Since the Supreme Court lifted the Federal Election Commission mandate of a $2,500 limit on individual contributions to a national candidate, the American elections have become vulnerable to financial manipulations.
Another aspect of the American elections was the exaggerated application of the “2000 Florida Syndrome” to different possible outcomes, the most ordinary of which was the possible establishment of electoral courts in Florida in 2012. The most unusual scenario would have been one of the candidates winning the majority vote (only because a scenario with equal popular votes would be too absurd), while both candidates received equal Electoral College votes. In this scenario, the speaker of the House of Representatives, which boasts a Republican majority, would have to choose the president and the senate would have to appoint the vice president.
This time the U.S. elections, in which two “others” competed against each other, witnessed the “minority other” win in the complicated and archaic electoral system, with a hollow victory compared to previous incumbent campaigns, despite all the advantages having been utilized by the presidency. Obama – who has governed the country for the last four years with great challenges – won a victory against a Republican candidate – one of many hopeless Republican candidates – in circumstances almost completely determined by local dynamics. Nevertheless, when Obama’s campaign was still celebrating its victory amidst chants of “four more years,” the Republicans had already begun debating the legitimacy of this hollow victory.