This report will examine the United States 56th quadrennial presidential election held in 2008. The 2008 race between Democratic Barack Obama and Republican John McCain for the White House ended on Tuesday 4th of November with Obama being elected president. The election became a major historical event since it led to the appointment of the first African American president in the history of America. Notably, Joe Biden, a former senator became the first Catholic individual to be selected for the vice president position (Stewart 212). Since neither George Bush nor Dick Cheney, the former vice president, took part in the campaign, the 2008 election became the first president in which neither incumbent nominees of the major party were elected since 1952. The two major political parties in America are the Republican and Democratic Party though there are other minor parties. The three factors made the 2008 election a unique one. Barack Obama contested against Senator Hillary Clinton, from New York, for democratic primary, who was the first female winner of a major’s part presidential main. Barack Obama was also a former senator from Illinois and his vice president was from Delaware.
Barack Obama and John Mc Cain where the main contenders in the 2008 elections supported by their running mates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin consecutively. Notably, Palin became the first female Republican to be nominated for the presidential candidate position (Wattal 670). Barack Obama before the election was a sworn in as a senator in 2005 and had earlier won in a landslide election in 2004 being a Democratic Party member. Joe Biden was a former senator of the United States before his election into the vice presidency. John McCain was also a senator from Arizona before the election whose Senate career began in 1987. Sarah Palin was the first American female governor from Alaska after the 2006 election. Consequently, after Alaska received United States statehood, Palin became the youngest governor in the Alaskan history at the age of forty-two.
Early in 2008, an increase in support by the party for Obama was observed in the polls. Barack was considered as the candidate of change and consequently, Iowa jumpstarted Obama’s campaign as he passed Clinton’s nomination. The Iowa victory negatively affected Clinton’s campaign as Barack became New Hampshire’s latest front-runner (Robertson 21). The immense support received from government officials and even celebrities motivated him to strive for the presidential seat. With the help of several endorsements from delegates, Obama received the nomination for president in the Democratic Party in June. On the 28th of August, Barack officially accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party thus becoming the first African American nominee for a major political factor. Another unique factor of the election was Cheney’s decision of not requesting a nomination from the Republican Party making it the first instance since the 1928 election that a candidate did not seek party nomination.
The early parts of the campaign focused on the issue of the Iraq war which Barack opposed while McCain supported it. Obama stood out from other Democratic candidates who supported the Iraq war. John considered American presence in Iraq as a peacetime presence but his statement that America could be in the country for the next 50 to 100 years gravely cost his campaign (Robertson 25). By 2006, George Bush’s popularity among the United States citizens had considerably reduced. Bush supported McCain’s campaign and consequently, the public’s view of McCain’s relations with Bush reduced his number of supporters. Noteworthy, McCain’s focus in his campaign was his experience while Obama emphasized on the need to change Washington. Barack considered himself as the candidate capable of bringing change to Washington once he received the presidential seat. The public’s perception that the ability to bring change was a more important quality of a candidate greatly contributed to the number of supporters Obama obtained.
Senator McCain during the 2008 election had just turned seventy-two years old. His old age in comparison to Obama was considered as a liability which necessitated his loss of the presidency. Additionally, the injuries McCain got during his captivity in Vietnam affected his health and citizens doubted that he would be capable of completing two terms of service in the presidential office. Tactfully, Obama appealed to the youth audience through his ideas and use of new media to favor his campaign (Heflick et al. 250). He considered public opinion to be a crucial factor in his election as the next president. In 2008, the United States economy was greatly suffering from the most severe decline since the Great Depression. News sources on the economic status of America made voters focus on the candidates’ ability to improve the crisis. Consequently, during the period, John McCain made some comments concerning the economy that politically affected his campaign. His remarks were mostly perceived by voters that he had little understanding and consideration for financial crisis faced by the citizens. The subject of the global financial crisis significantly affected the campaigns which caused McCain to suspend his campaign during the height of the issue. McCain’s choice negatively affected his popularity as he lost a significant number of voters.
The cost of presidential campaigns has been recorded to increase considerably over several years. Due to the high expenditure, John McCain and other candidates participated in the public financing system for financial support. Despite the high cost of campaigns, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton decided not to take any of the public funds for their operations (Heflick et al. 250). Media played a crucial role in campaigns as YouTube and other media outlets to advertise extensively and cheaper than in television broadcasts. Social media significantly supported campaigns as voters discussed political messages and voting choices. The 2008 election period is recorded to have greatly harnessed the internet accessibility to reach voters who no longer relied on primary sources of information such as newspapers. The internet provided ample time and space for candidates to share their visions of the united states with their supporters. Additionally, after Obama’s decline of public funds, the internet provided a network of contributors that raised more money for him to further his campaigns. In his election, Barack Obama is recorded to have raised the highest amount of campaign money in American history.
The 2008 election had a major effect on the internet and revolutionized the use of media in campaigns. Consequently, the events led to Obama defeating McCain by a substantial number of voters. The 2008 election led to the power shift from the Republican Party recently held by George Bush a Republican to Obama, a Democrat. Notably, Barack Obama got the highest share of votes received by a Democrat since 1964, making it another significant fact about the election (Dylko 840). In fact, Obama’s total vote count is currently the largest ever to be received by a presidential candidate making it an American historical record of 69.5 million votes. After the announcement of the results, Barack and Biden resigned their offices as senators in preparation for their inauguration. The 2008 election was marked by a series of new historical changes in records, race and gender adjustments. The general effect of the election was the United States having a biracial president for the first time in history.
After McCain’s defeat to Obama, he resorted to going back to his job as a United States Senate. He also became the Republican opposition leader against President Obama. As the leader, he led the opposition against several government reforms such as the Obama health care plan (Wattal 670). After Sarah Palin’s loss in the election, she resigned as governor and established the SarahPAC. The SarahPAC was an organization created to support candidates wishing for state office and campaign on behalf of candidates with principled ideologies.
In the 2012 election, Barack Obama got to serve their second term in office. The 2012 election campaigns focused on the Great Recession, military spending and domestic issues among other matters. After his reelection, Obama became the first incumbent to be reelected since 1944. Notably, in the 2012 election, Obama similarly won by obtaining the popular vote. The 2012 and 2008 elections were not specifically too different despite that Obama did not reach the vote count formally achieved in 2008. Therefore, his exit polls held up making him one of the most popular presidents in the American history.
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