Affiliated with the University of Nicosia
The 2008 U.S. Election: Past and Prologue
By Monroe Newman
Monroe Newman is a professor Emeritus of Economics, Pennsylvania State University
Go back 50 years.
If someone suggested that the candidates of
a major American party for the highest offices in the land would be a
bi-racial African-American and a Roman Catholic, the personís sanity
would have been questioned.
Forecast that they would win and the
questions would have been replaced by a certainty.
Clearly, all this undoubtedly advantaged Barack
But do they explain such signal successes as
receiving $150 million in voluntary contributions in a single month?
(During the entire multi-month election period, no one was allowed to
give more than a total of $2,300.)
Or receiving 3 million separate donations
from Internet solicitations?
Or 100,000 people peaceably gathering and
dispersing to hear a single campaign speech?
Or not only receiving a majority of all
votes but also getting a higher percentage of
the votes of whites than either of the two
preceding Democratic candidates?
I think not, particularly in view of the
campaign against him.
The opposition campaign tried to build on some of
the worst sentiments in American society.
It tried to appeal to racism, xenophobia,
anti-intellectualism, religious bias, geographic and urban-rural
It tried to equate policy disagreements with lack
It besmirched the morality of those who
differ on social issues.
And it failed.
In 50 years the U.S. has transformed its
fundamental attitudes and behaviors toward its fellow citizens.
Something worth emulating?
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