Hurricane Sandy delivers slap on US face
Hurricane Sandy is likely to affect Obama’s campaign more adversely than Romney’s because his supporters were hoping to get the early voters out in the last week before November 6. The storm has disrupted this plan.
October 29, 2012, 20:00 EST
One of the biggest storms in US history is battering the eastern United States affecting nine states from North Carolina to Connecticut. At least 50 million people have been affected with many having to move out of their homes. Those staying put were warned to take ample precautions because rescue workers would be hard pressed to reach them in time.
New York as well as Washington DC have become ghost cities. Schools, colleges, airports, subways, offices as well as the New York Stock Exchange were closed on Monday and will remain closed the following day as well because of high winds and rain. Flooding is a major problem as the storm hits land.
Even the Wall Street sharks were powerless before God’s fury. There was no trading on Wall Street for the first time in 27 years because of this natural disaster. American television networks led by CNN are giving the storm 24/7 coverage.
Thousands of flights to and from New York and Washington DC have been cancelled. Power lines are falling down and power outage is becoming a major concern.
Hurricane Sandy has also disrupted campaigning in the last week of the presidential race. President Barack Obama went to Florida on Monday morning but had to rush back to Washington DC leaving former president Bill Clinton to stand in for him. Republican contender Mitt Romney continued to campaign shedding crocodile tears for those affected by the storm.
Hurricane Sandy is likely to affect Obama’s campaign more adversely than Romney’s because his supporters were hoping to get the early voters out in the last week before November 6. The storm has disrupted this plan. In any case, most polls are predicting a very tight race with the two candidates neck and neck. Whether one should put much trust in such polls is different matter.
Some media outlets are saying there could even be a tie vote in the presidential race with each candidate getting 269 electoral college votes. If this should happen, the matter would end up in Congress. Given the nature of divisive politics in Washington DC and with the House of Representatives dominated by Republicans, they will likely vote for Romney as president. The Senate with a Democratic majority would vote for a Democratic vice president, in this case, Joe Biden.
Presidents are elected based on who get the most electoral college votes. To win, a candidate must secure 270 electoral college votes. Theoretically, the popular vote in each state determines which candidate will grab that state’s electoral college vote. Thus, it is possible that a particular candidate may get a higher percentage of the popular vote but still lose the election as happened in 2000. Al Gore had a higher percentage of popular vote but George Bush got more electoral college votes and became the president.
In the meantime, as the storm batters homes and cities, Obama tries to look and act presidential pretending that he is more interested in people’s well being than worrying about electioneering. This of course is nonsense. He is trying to act presidential because he thinks it would garner him more sympathy and therefore support.
Ultimately, the election result will be determined by a few toss up states, among them Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, and Ohio. The real cliffhanger is Ohio where housewives will decide who becomes the next US president.
While the overwhelming majority of Americans are quite ignorant about issues beyond their concern for jobs, the fact that Ohio housewives will determine who should occupy the White House to decide on such weighty matters as dealing with the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear program or US relations with Russia is quite amusing, and revealing.
This is what American democracy is all about. But for now, Hurricane Sandy, as a divine slap on the face of arrogance, is smashing its way through the Eastern Coast of the US.