The US presidential election (6 November 2012)
To reflect on the significance of the US presidential election in November 2012.
by James Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 4/5
To reflect on the significance of the US presidential election in November 2012. (Comment assembly)
Preparation and materials
- Download pictures of the two candidates.
- On Tuesday 6 November this year, the citizens of the United States of America will go to the polls to decide whether Democratic President Barack Obama should be given a second four-year term of office, or whether to award the position to another.
Three rival candidates are opposing Obama: Mitt Romney of the Republican Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party. However, only Romney is expected to pose a real challenge.
- President Obama has had an active four years. He has launched and managed a vast bail-out fund for troubled banks and industries, which aimed to help the US economy weather the global economic crisis.
He has introduced a healthcare package which has extended healthcare coverage to many Americans who did not have it before.
The American economy has experienced small but consistent growth, although whether this is as a result of government policy or in spite of it is the subject of live debate.
- Obama’s main opponent, Mitt Romney, has argued that the liberal policies of the government have created a massive debt which needs to be tackled through big spending cuts in welfare and other federal government programmes. He argues that low taxes and reduced regulation will allow American business to take the lead in creating economic recovery. Not everyone, however, agrees that this is the way forward.
- With a high unemployment rate, jobs and economic growth are the main issues of the election. Obama seeks to increase the power of government to act as a guarantor of fairness and as a lender of last resort. Romney seeks to increase the power of businesses – big and small – to create a more dynamic economy.
Both sides have their supporters and their critics, and both sides are backed with billions of dollars from donors – from international banks to local supporters keen to help.
- The TV airwaves are full of adverts extolling one candidate’s greatness while demonstrating the flaws of the other.
This can be uncomfortable viewing, and it is certainly true that democracy sometimes has a less tasteful side. But this election offers Americans a real choice between two candidates with very different views on America’s future. Both are united in patriotism and a desire to make America great in the twenty-first century.
- A great strength of a democracy is the fact that its citizens collectively decide how they want their country to be run.
Early in the morning of 7 November this year, the American people will discover what kind of nation they are to be for the next four years. They will also know what kind of nation they are now.
Time for reflection
If you were voting in the US election, who would gain your vote?
How could you act in this country to bring about the sort of community that you want to live in?
What responsibility do we all have towards those who live in less influential countries?
Play the American national anthem, or other patriotic music of your choice.