World watches as US elects new president

World watches as US elects new president

CHICAGO - Hürriyet Daily News
World watches as US elects new president


Their voices crack; their faces reflect “election campaign fatigue.” Repeating their arguments again and again at enthusiastic rallies held every day of the final week of campaigning in four different states, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have fought one of the most closely contested election races in recent political history.

But now the last word belongs to the voters. Whether Obama will be able to serve another four years as president or Romney will become the United States’ first Mormon president will become clear late tonight or early tomorrow.

According to a CNN survey, Obama and Romney are tied at 49-49 in nationwide polls. However, the president might have an 80 percent chance of winning the election based on the arithmetic needed to win 270 seats in the Electoral College. Obama is believed to have already secured 237 representatives, meaning that if he wins swing states like Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin – where he is one or two points ahead of Romney – he will likely retain the White House.

Romney, however, with his estimated 206 representatives, needs to win Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia and Ohio. Under these conditions, Obama’s chance of winning is around 85 percent, according to The New York Times.

Both contenders spent their final weekend shuttling between contested states, calling on their electorate to cast their votes today. At a quick stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, a Republican stronghold, Obama renewed his calls to the American people to support his bid to complete the change he started in 2008 and to challenge the status quo in Washington.

“They spend millions of dollars to stop the change,” Obama said, targeting Washington-based lobbies and interest groups.

Controversy over early voting

In his address to an enthusiastic group of supporters, Romney continued to emphasize his message of a “strong leader, strong U.S.” while criticizing his rival for not keeping promises on job creation.

“Change cannot be measured in speeches,” Romney said while describing Obama as the most partisan president ever.

Apart from Obama and Romney, the pair’s respective vice presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, were frequent travelers to Ohio, which saw 83 visits by presidential candidates in 2012, a record in recent American history.

With every vote crucial in such a close election, both sides have been focused on ensuring there is no electoral fraud, and Democrats have already accused Republican secretaries of attempting to restrict early voting in counties in Ohio and Florida that lean toward the Democrats.

While Democrats filed a lawsuit in Florida to extend early voting after it was cut back from 14 days to eight by the Republican-controlled legislature, in Ohio criticisms directed at the state’s Republican secretary created confusion and concern over how to cast an early ballot. In both Florida and Ohio, long lines of people waited many hours to cast their ballots.

Election promises

Obama promises

- No more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.
- Roads and bridges will be rebuilt, generating jobs for unemployed workers.
- Medicare reform program will be concluded.
- Two million Americans will be trained at community colleges to give the U.S. a more skilled workforce. Some 100,000 math and science teachers will also be recruited.
- The U.S. Army will continue to be the most powerful military but problems like Iran will continue to be solved through diplomatic means.
- Investment in solar and wind energy will be intensified.
- A comprehensive immigration policy will be passed to provide every immigrant raised in the U.S. the chance “to run for their own American Dream.”

Romney promises

- Government spending will be reduced. Expensive, nonessential programs like “Obamacare” will be eliminated.
- The infrastructure of the country will be rebuilt through the combination of public investment and private initiative.
- Marginal taxes will be removed for a more competitive economy, while employers’ taxes will also be reduced.
- Obama-era defense cuts will be reversed. The U.S. Army will again become so strong that no one will be able to challenge it. At the same time, the U.S. will also increase its coordination with Israel.
- By 2020, the U.S. will no longer be dependent on foreign energy suppliers.
- A high-tech fence will be constructed and adequate manpower will be recruited to protect the U.S.’ borders. The administration will also get tough with employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Romney’s presidency to be uncertainty

ÖZDEM SANBERK, Retired diplomat

Who will win: Barack Obama

Ties between Turkey and the U.S. will not change, regardless of the election’s result. There are alliance contracts between Turkey and the U.S. on the NATO framework. Washington’s policy in Syria might change if Romney is elected, as he mentioned recruiting more U.S. soldiers. This could result in regional tension.

US-Turkey ties wıll remain stable

SEMİH İDİZ, Columnist

Who will win: Barack Obama

U.S.-Turkey ties will not change much whether Obama or Romney wins the election. However, there may be challenges on certain issue such as problems on ties with Israel. On Iran, Obama is still favoring dialogue with Tehran to solve the problem, but Romney’s policy on the issue is still not clear yet.

Obama’s re-election to the world’s benefit

SEDAT ERGİN, Columnist

Who will win: Barack Obama

I believe that Obama’s re-election will be for the benefit of the world as it will make it more peaceful. If Obama is re-elected, there won’t be great change in Turkey-US relations. I expected that Obama will move to a more sensitive position over problems related to democracy in Turkey in his new presidential term.

US structure won’t allow major changes

YUSUF KANLI, Columnist

Who will win: Barack Obama

The structure in the U.S. doesn’t allow major changes in foreign politics regardless of who is in power. The only change will happen in style, not the content.” “If Mitt Romney is elected, it would cause trouble for Turkey because his stance is close to Israel.” “U.S elections impacts all over the world.”

Main difference in domestic policies


I think there are significant differences between the candidates. Obama is more open to dialogue, open to moving in foreign policy with international organizations. Romney would follow tougher policies. Their main difference may be seen in their domestic policies. Romney works hand in glove with the Tea Party. This would have reflections in foreign policy.

Turkey-US ties to cool if Romney is elected


The Turkish government is working under a close relationship with Obama. If Obama is re-elected this relationship moves forward without many changes. Romney is a closed book about foreign policy. He neither has enough information nor experience with it. If Romney is elected, Turkey-U.S. relations will be re-evaluated and it may get colder.