Paul-itics: Dome and the campaign trail

While we endure the return to school and a heat grievously sticky, more than routine is returning around the country. Unlike the season, however, this event takes place less than annually. It’s what our country prides itself upon, and it’s here. It’s democracy.
 The 2012 presidential race is entering its most intense stages, as both parties’ candidates and platforms have clearly emerged. Current president Barack Obama is seeking re-election while being challenged by 2008 holdover Mitt Romney, each sticking to their guns and slinging their mud.


For many, 2011 was the first year Mitt Romney was a known figure; however, this is not the first election Romney has participated in. After serving as the 70th Governor of Massachusetts, Romney ran for the Republican nomination in 2008, keeping pace with fellow GOP member Mike Huckabee until John McCain defeated both and took the position of presumptive nominee.

The current election, however, looked upon Romney much more favorably. After triumphing over fellow Republican contenders Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, Romney became the presumptive nominee and was confirmed as the official candidate at the Republican National Convention. Wisconsin Congressional Representative Paul Ryan was chosen as his Vice President.

On the candidates website, the Romney campaign lists three main issue focuses: Jobs & Economic Growth, Foreign Policy, and Smaller, Smarter, Simpler Government.

When evaluating important issues, Romney presents an expectedly more conservative view; while he has taken liberal stances on gay rights in the past, his campaign now has a focus on traditional family values (meaning a less positive stance on gay rights). Romney’s government tends to be on the smaller side, spending less with a goal of decreasing the deficit; with that, he has stated that he would keep parts of the highly controversial Obamacare. His foreign policy aims to preserve United States interests at a high cost, with less multilateral commitment than what the Obama administration aimed for.


Unlike the challenger, Barack Obama has been a household name since before he took office, serving as a first in multiple areas (America’s first African-American president and the first sitting president to publicly support same-sex marriage, for example). Before serving as the 44th President of the United States, he was both an Illinois State Senator and a United States Senator for the state.

Obama’s presidency has been marred by the ongoing struggle of the economic climate, with some notable events including the Supreme Court upholding his healthcare reform, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the capture of Osama bin Laden.

On the incumbent president’s website, some issues listed include Jobs and the Economy, Education, National Security, and Women’s Health. Also listed on the site are attacks on the opposition and essays regarding the current administration’s stance on other issues not explicitly stated in the Issues section of the site. Their platform revolves around maintaining the administration’s current steps and furthering the goals behind them; committed to a multilateral world and a liberal social stance, the Obama presidency aims for more change, and more hope.


Also running in the election are the alternative candidates. Among them are Stuart Alexander for the Socialist Party USA, a Noam Chomsky-endorsed Jill Stein for the Green Party, Gary Johnson for the Libertarian vote, and Rocky Anderson on the Justice Party USA ballot.

They may not be Vermin Supreme, but these candidates are aiming to take votes as well as the two giants of modern politics duke it out.

By Paul O’Neill


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