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Can someone explain to me in simple terms. USA elections

415 replies

ihatethecold · 31/08/2012 07:44

What are the main differences between Obama and romney?
Is Obama like labour and Romney like very right conservative?

Why does Romney say he will get rid of the healthcare bill that Obama brought in.

Did it not work?
why wouldn't you want people without insurance to access healthcare ?

OP posts:
CheerfulYank · 01/09/2012 00:10

Those generalizations were a bit massive ThinkingAboutIt, being as I have lived in the center of America for my entire life and always voted Democrat. :)

Ron Paul actually makes some sense and I'd rather have him than Romney, but not a chance in hell he'll make it in.

Obama 2012! :)

worldcitizen · 01/09/2012 00:12

HmmThinking thanks for sharing. You really got it, I'd say. Cross-national comparative policy and also particularly your finesse in spotting ethnocentric issues within cross-cultural communication is obvious.

worldcitizen · 01/09/2012 00:15

Cheerful yes they were generalisations. Also immigration and diversity are not the only reasons for voting Democrat.
Also, the Hispanic population for example also usually tend to be Republican voters.

worldcitizen · 01/09/2012 00:16

But nevertheless is HmmThinking giving lots of great and accurate insight, me thinks Wink

CheerfulYank · 01/09/2012 00:19

We have become so polarized lately though. It wasn't always like this, and I hate it, frankly. So many people insist on toeing the party line, and not really thinking about what the candidates are saying.

NovackNGood · 01/09/2012 00:21

Wow just read what was posted whilst i was writing and amazed to find Nicholas actually agrees with me for a change.

HmmThinkingAboutIt · 01/09/2012 00:29

I did put in the cavet about it being massively generalised. Of course people 'in the middle' and on the coast vote differently, but I think its the easiest way to explain the polarisation and lines of division to people who aren't familiar with American politics. It is very worrying even as an outsider; I can't imagine how I would feel about it if I was an American.

Brits complain about how their vote 'doesn't count' but the situation is far worse in the US, and its far harder to get your voice heard politically, particularly if you live in a State where you don't follow the 'norm' or you are somehow disadvantaged by race or social class.

I don't see how this division can carry on, without it at some point, coming to so sort of head - and there either being a major political crisis or even conflict. I don't see things going in the other direction and sides suddenly finding common ground and being more able to compromise. How far in the future that point is, I'm not sure.

HmmThinkingAboutIt · 01/09/2012 00:30

some sort*

CheerfulYank · 01/09/2012 00:53

I know you did. :)

I don't know. Something's going to happen at some point.

I know we (MidWesterners) sound crazy, if you look at what's being said on TV. (Michelle Bachmann is from my district, for the sweet Lord's sake...oh the shame Blush) but most of us are neither as mad or thick as we're made out to be, and just want to do well and help our neighbors and live our lives. We don't want to go to war or force religion on anyone; most of us are neither racist nor homophobic.

But yeah...this election's going to be an interesting one. I hope Obama pulls it out, I really do.

NoComet · 01/09/2012 00:58

As people have said USA politics are right wing and ultra right wing.

In the Uk I'm a left wing, moderate Tory in the States I would be a Democrat through and trough.

Since I support abortion and gay marriage and am an atheist I couldn't be anything else.

Extrospektiv · 01/09/2012 01:01

Wow, this is just crazy!

I have been following US politics for a while, I support the Republican Party and THEY ARE NOTHING LIKE THE FUCKING RACIST FASCIST BNP. How out-of-touch can people get? They are not anti-women, see Romney's speech on women last night.

A few racist, homophobic, sexist idiots who believe the world is a few thousand years old, teh gayz want to convert your children to molest them, Area 51 is full of commies from outer space ready for Obama to launch at them in black UN helicopters to take away their guns but we didn't land on the moon, and Satan is behind everything DO NOT represent the mainstream Republicans.

This is everything I'd expect from Mumsnet though, A.K.A. metropolitan elite liberal feminist professional pro-abortion pro-gay marriage pro-mandatory sex ed pro-redistributive taxation pro-state funded healthcare anti-gun anti-austerity set.

Extrospektiv · 01/09/2012 01:02

I believe in God, pro-life, pro-family, I probably support gay marriage at the civil level though.

NapaCab · 01/09/2012 01:35

@ Extrospektiv: "This is everything I'd expect from Mumsnet though, A.K.A. metropolitan elite liberal feminist professional pro-abortion pro-gay marriage pro-mandatory sex ed pro-redistributive taxation pro-state funded healthcare anti-gun anti-austerity set."

So what are you doing on here if it's such a haven for liberal, pinko, gay, wealth-redistributing, lentil-weaving socialists aka non-Americans? I find MN quite diverse actually. Almost every thread on here winds up as a bunfight somehow.

@Ponders: I agree. The Paul Ryan speech and Clint Eastwood's incoherent ramble were two low points in the RNC. Paul Ryan saying that they want to preserve Medicare for future generations when they actually want to replace the program entirely for the under-55s with a voucher scheme is just such a shameless lie. For a devout Catholic, he must have very flexible morals to be able to lie like that.

And @nightlurker - yes, I can think you can judge a political party by their Vice-Presidential candidate's most important speech of the whole election campaign. If not, then what is the point of the conventions, RNC or DNC?

Extrospektiv · 01/09/2012 01:49

@NapaCab: You're stereotyping as much as the anti-Republican posters have stereotyped the Republicans. I was just the one calling BS on their ideas and overblown language ("BNP"? And they have been white-nationalist when exactly...?)

What am I doing on here? Have been lurking for some time and think pro-life pro-family voices should be heard. We exist!

NovackNGood · 01/09/2012 02:11

Romney grew up in and remains a leader in a church that refused blacks to be members until 1978. (so he was 30 years old and didn't find that wrong enough to leave but nooooo..So not racist at all then.)

He organised the Olympics in Salt Lake City, a mormon town with only 1 percent black residents. Couldn't get more whiter if he tried could he.

Anyone could be a great SAHM mother like Ann Romney with her 250 million dollars and the houses full of servants. Sure she feels the pain of the woman who she wants to force birth then abandon them to the streets with their babies.

Ann Romney's speech was a joke. She said she understand immigrants cause guess what her granfather was an immigrant.... So her grandfather knew about struggle but she was born into and married into families of privilege and millions so what understanding did she gain when she was sat at home all those years in multi million dollar home with multi million dollar holiday homes scattered all over the US (one she has yet to find the time to stay in mind you)

NovackNGood · 01/09/2012 02:16

Mitt Romney in a speech at a mine of a republican supporter a few days ago says to the assembled workers. " You've got a great boss" Incidentally the great boss docked everyones pay for the time not working spent at the speech.

nooka · 01/09/2012 02:28

I think that Extrospektiv has pretty much summed up the difference between British political sensitivities and the American Republican viewpoint.

In the States the right does seriously think that 'liberal' is a term of abuse, not a fairly normal position to live your life by.

Elite is oddly also a term of abuse, which is fundamentally stratnge, since anyone who aspires to be President has to be successful and have access to pot loads of money. But still candidates have to do their best to present themselves as folksy/ man next door types. Metropolitan and professional are also things to be suspicious of

Redistributing taxes is obviously socialist and therefore pretty evil (like most of Europe - Romney got grief for being able to speak French for goodness sake!)

Thinking that women should not be politically represented by a few wives saying what great husbands they have, that gay people should not be discriminated against, that sex education should be a bit more than 'just say no', and that choice about being pregnant is a personal affair are also to this group very extreme positions.

That many Americans live in fear of going bankrupt because of unexpected healthcare costs (even when insured) or that many simply cannot access essential healthcare (A&E often see people in crisis with conditions that could have been treated simply and easily)

Obviously anyone should be able to carry semiautomatic machine guns and buy as many rounds of ammunition as they feel like

I think the only position that is fairly similar are the views on austerity, given the cuts the coalition has made.

Extrospektiv · 01/09/2012 02:35

@Novack a lot of people were racist growing up back then because that's what they were taught, dems and GOP alike. I assume they don't believe it now those attitudes are not ruling society in large chunks of America and racism has became more of a private prejudice held by bigots. Before the 1970s it was a way of life and thinking, of course it was dead wrong, the Northerners saw racism was wrong way before that, but I can't blame him for who his parents were and where he grew up. Not his fault.

"Force birth"? You serious? "abandon to the streets"? This sort of hyperbole is beyond even half of MSNBC, Maddow, O'Donnell, Olbermann, the super-liberal establishment. (TBF though a super liberal echo chamber might not be so bad when the radically and maniacally conservative one exists with Rush, O'Reilly, Ann Coulter et al.- they balance each other out. Just neither of them are generally worth listening to for serious news coverage.)

What's the privilege-bashing? War on SAHM women? Barack Obama was hardly poor. Are you saying that Barbara Ehrenreich should be president, because she actually chose to live around the poor for an extended period (and made money writing about it.) Of course this may have deepened her existing comprehension but the whole point of having empathy is you can at least reasonably understand how others feel without having to walk in their shoes so literally. I hear Ehrenreich, Michael Moore, the Rage against the Machine members, Bill Maher, Bruce Springsteen and similar rich powerful individuals spouting their sympathy for the downtrodden of all sorts. I wouldn't mind- some of these people do a lot of good even though I don't agree with their hard-left wing politics- yet what gets me pissed is when they assume they are the ONLY ones who care about the poor and Republicans would want to let them all starve to death or shove them in workhouses/bring back slavery for them.

Athendof · 01/09/2012 02:38

I used to summarise the process in very simple terms:

  1. Only rich people get to run
  2. It is about making the other candidate look bad, not about convincing with proper political plans and arguments.
  3. The one that come out with the most convincing claim of devotion to religion, faith, or even a family dog, wins.

    I am a bit cynical though and certainly very fed up with the whole process...
Athendof · 01/09/2012 02:39

Sorry, forgot to include "family values" in point three, but I suspect it would be asumed considering how the popularity of Romney went up after he confessed waking up to a bed full of his children.

nooka · 01/09/2012 02:45

I've always found the Republican position difficult to understand, even when I was a lot more right wing than I am now. However we stayed with a family in North Dakota for a while and got a much better understanding as to why they had developed their views (the economic ones anyway, the social ones I still can't fathom).

So their family had settled in North Dakota on promises from the government about good land and support. Which were it turned out blatantly untrue. They and their neighbours only survived because they worked very hard and helped each other (and many didn't make it). It left them with a huge (and very natural) suspicion of government.

Another thing is that in the States there seems to be electioneering all the time, which means that there is little honesty and a lot of negative campaigns throwing the dirt around. The news is ridiculously polarised (we used to like switching between MSNBC and Fox, neither of which really reported the news, more opinion, often ridiculous in it's extreme position). At work people are expected to give their all but can be sacked on the spot for no reason. I think this makes people mistrustful and insular, very focused on looking after their immediate families.

Plus the American Dream is all about making it on your own despite the odds, so that feeds into the same dynamic. The main difference from Europe, or at least from the UK is that there hasn't really been any event that has truly brought people together in the way that World War II did (I don't think we'd have half of the Welfare State if it hadn't been for the common experiences during the war)

Extrospektiv · 01/09/2012 03:03

Economically I am Centre, not far-right, I can understand some level of redistribution and do not support dismantling socialised medicine in the UK; I even support Obamacare more than oppose it but would prefer it with Blunt Amendment and/or STUPAK (much better) Amendment for pro-life reasons.

You got it on MSNBC & Fox. Super-PACS = super-high funding for super crap.
Electioneering is a nightmare over there, the lies and baiting and idiotic extreme comments and personal attacks, they should grow up! Both sides! Between MSNBC and Fox is the liberal-leaning media, CNN/CBS/NBC. They tend to lean slightly Democrat. The LA Times and NYT are both mainly strong Democrat.

re: Welfare State- the economic centre has been vacated in Britain for decades, firstly by Tories effectively forced to accept the Post-War Consensus of left wing policies after WWII damage then by Labour pushed into removing clause IV by the Washington Consensus and Thatcher-Reagan blocking any realistic path to socialism.

Social views? Simple. Straightforward interpretation of Scripture plus centuries of tradition. They don't want to change. They don't want their children taught that a whole rainbow of sexualities/gender expressions are OK(I'm more pro-gay than average Republicans) and they quite rightly don't want schools offering free condoms, secret referrals for abortion or having teachers who keep secrets about sex for their minor children. They believe the sexual "revolution" of the sixties was wrong, as do I on most points, and we have a right to live by the old standards. Abortion? Not killing the unborn is far from extreme. Most GOP politicians in high places are exceptioneers anyway. Guns? Better to be able to protect yourself than call the cops when the attacker/ home invader/ rapist/ robber is already right there. Plus a vibrant hunting culture.

Not all Americans who believe in God are even like that. I know one here who would fit very well into "professional/metropolitan elite liberal" and is pro-choice to 22 weeks for any reason, pro-Roe v. Wade, anti-exclusivist (i.e. she doesn't believe other religions are entirely wrong), in favour of tax rises for the rich and affirmative action and will be voting Obama '12. She was a devout Episcopalian for the many years she spent there and still turns up regularly at church when she can, severe back pain permitting. I find it difficult to understand why a Christian would think that way, but the scriptures are subject to a lot of different interpretations once you leave the true fundamentalist ones who think that evolution is of the devil and masturbation will send you to eternal hell-fire. I can respect her more than I used to when I was seriously right wing.


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NovackNGood · 01/09/2012 03:44

Extrospektiv it was not before the 1970'sit was 1978 that he was still in that racist organisation in 1978 when he was a thirty year old man. Oh and they have never apoligised for it either and still maintain it in their doctrines of the faith. You do know they don't follow the bible don't you?

No war on SAHM mothers at all but a woman who has servants and 250 million dollars in her husbands bank account knows nothing of an immigrants daily struggle with no health insurance, no rent money and being forced to give birth to children because the schools are not allowed to actually teach contraception. Abstinence didn't work for Sarah Palin did it as she had one of those 3 months miracle pregnancies after the wedding and she didn't manage to instill these values onto any of her own children either did she.

What do you think about the fact that 11 states have mandated that health insurance cannot be used for abortion fees thus forcing the poor to be unable to plan a famly. What do you call the law in Utah, a mormon theocracy, that effectively means that no medical professional will provide an abortion. That is forced birthing. No choice for the poor there, is there. What about in Texas where you must be forced to listen to any foetal blood flow and if necessary through a probe inserted into your vagina. So not enough a woman gets raped and made pregnant she then has to be probed vaginally, made to listen to a swuish swuish of blood flow and then left for 24 to 72 hours to decide if she would not rather have the rapists child after all. Of course the bible does teach that a woman must marry her rapist. Like the taliban teach too

How do your own so called american family values side with Fox news which is owned by the same man who put 16 year old girls topless in his newspapers on page 3 day in day out for years. Don't you understand he is just paying you for profit as the middle of the media spectrum was crowded so the growth had to come from being hard right.

Where do you right to life values disappear to when 16,000 people a year die a t gunpoint and yet the reason that an armed person could save the day rarely happens. Like once in a blue moon compared to 16,000 deaths needlessly.

Where are your family values when George Bush was ordering the embargoes on Iraqi that lead to up to 1 million children starving to death.

really going by your post you want to live in a middle ages theocracy so hey since you seem to like no rights for woman anti abortion and limited education for children why don't all the folks like you move to, Afghanistan and show the Taliban how to really do oppression. You share the same god after all, unlike Romney who believes in an angel called moroni who was invented around 150 years ago by a man with his head literally in a sack.

Oh and about free condoms. Romney handed out about 100,000 for free at the Salt Lake Olypmics so i guess he flip flopped on that too.

Feckbox · 01/09/2012 03:51

great discussion. Thanks to all

NovackNGood · 01/09/2012 03:53

As for Roe v Wade you are aware of course that the number of abortions carried out annually pre Roe v Wade are almost identical to the number post.

Oh and most rapists are actually a well known person to the victim not a random stranger which explains that you never hear of a woman shooting her rapist because he probably knew if she had it and where it was and had it pointed at her as he raped her.

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