After what can only be described as a desperate but valiant attempt to claim the presidency, Mitt Romney has been beaten by President Obama, who succeeded in eking out a second term as the President of the United States of America with a fraction of his 7.3% margin of 2008.
The result has been hailed by people around the world, who gave a sigh of relief, seeing Romney as a dangerous, unpredictable and illogical individual and politician, incapable of leading one of the most important countries in the world.
It is worrying how close we came to his presidency. The key swings states were all won by tiny majorities: Ohio by 50.1%, Virginia by 50.8%, and Florida by less than 50%. All of these were closely trailed by Romney, and Florida is predicted to have less than 0.5% of the vote between the two candidates.
I say ‘we’ because Romney’s election could have had a negative impact on us all. Romney would have been a reckless decision loaded with risk. At risk of sounding like a scare-monger, these risks include nothing less than overtly right-wing policies destroying American social values and a reckless, naïve ideology breaking international bonds and causing global conflict. His dogmatic stance against Iran and the Muslim world would have sparked tensions and possibly conflict: Iran’s nuclear stance requires delicacy and diplomacy, which are not Romney’s strongest attributes. He stated that military action ‘remains on the table’: an expensive, dangerous and horrific nuclear war would have been a greater risk under Romney, and we should feel a lot safer that he was denied the ‘nuclear button’.
A social catastrophe has also been averted. Under Romney, America would have declined from the pinnacle of western liberal democracy into a country where women could not even have had the most fundamental of human rights. He has attacked Planned Parenthood, abortion access, birth control access, equal pay and more. He is less concerned with controlling the economy than controlling women’s uteruses. Obama turned women, students and the working class against Romney, but let’s be honest: it didn’t need much.
Need we even talk about his personal life? The dog on the car roof for a 12 hour family drive to Ontario; the stories concerning him as a Mormon leader; the business deals at Bain Capital: the man does not seem normal, yet alone in-touch or human enough to run a country. What makes the plutocrat seem alien (apart from his vast swathes of money) is the fact that he fails to see the strangeness in his lifestyle. He admitted to putting his dog on the roof rack, but never realised why it was wrong; he just said he wouldn't do it again because it got him bad press.
Obama is by no means perfect. The economy has grown little under his presidency, despite huge amounts of fiscal spending to encourage growth. However, he has been restricted by global factors, meaning he has not been able to deliver all of his ‘change[s] we can believe in’. No government can deliver growth whilst burdened with cataclysmic amounts of debt, uneasy stock markets and a buckling European economy. He has inevitably disappointed, but, luckily for him (and us), Romney was worse. In re-electing Obama, America has avoided huge social and international disasters which would have certainly made America, and perhaps also the world, a worse place to live.