By the time this aritcle goes to print, Obama’s second term or Mitt Romney’s presidency, will be hanging in the balance.
Students at Westminster College described the mood in the country as tense. They claimed that job growth, one of the crucial factors in both nominees’ campaigns, is expected to increase significantly in the next four years regardless of the outcome. However, whoever is in office will get the credit for this, consequently giving the appearance of legitimising their party’s position for years to come.
One student went on to say that the perception of policy success that will follow during the next term will shift the partisanship of the country as a whole. This would mean that the mentality of party loyalty over issue-based voting would become even more evident as a result.
Dr John Langton, political science teacher at Westminster College, Missouri, USA, gave some insight into the workings of America’s Electoral College system:
“In American presidential politics, voters are not actually casting their ballots for a candidate but rather, in each state, for a slate or set of ‘electors’ who are pledged to a candidate. In each state, whichever slate gets the most votes will become the electors for that state.”
The Electoral College then votes for the nominee. In the event of a tie in the Electoral College vote, the House of Representatives will vote for the President. These are defined by state, with each having one vote. The Senate will vote for the vice president.
Langton went on to say that this could result in a Republican president and a Democratic vice president, due to the majority of Republicans in the House.
A congressional research service report for Congress numbers 240 Republicans to 197 Democrats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, the same report numbers 47 Republicans, 51 Democrats, and two Independents, a majority for the Democrats.
November 6 will not have been the end of the election. In the short term, there may be an extended period of bureaucratic shuffling to decide upon the outcome, and then the obvious impact of the next president upon existing issues and policy.
In the long term the entire political consciousness of America could change due to factors already in motion that are now inevitable.