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Sunday, January 29, 2023


Death of the idealist: New approach to 2016 elections


Kirin Daniels/The Cougar

President Barack Obama killed the political idealist. I expect that the campaigning for the 2016 presidential election will be lackluster in the public’s eye compared to 2008 campaigning because American voters have witnessed the dwindling of an uplifting campaign from Obama’s administration.

Obama relied heavily on hope and change as part of his political message and, understandably, could not deliver the change he promised. For radical change to happen, it requires a lot of time and patience.

If anything, the Obama administration has laid out the ground work and foundation for change to happen. The purpose of government is to primarily maintain what already works, such as the U.S. Constitution, the Federal Reserve and the Constitutional Budget Office.

As New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks pointed out, “the politics of the last few years have left people disappointed, disillusioned and cynical.”

People had high hopes, aspirations and expectations when Obama took office in 2008. While Obama has done many great things in both of his terms, it’s not enough to satisfy what the nation expected. At the next election, American voters will be looking for a resilient world leader. Americans won’t be looking for the seemingly perfect political candidate that can be expected to do no wrong.

No longer are we looking for a savior. We want a realist who understands that government consists of core functions that counteract negative actions.

The government is in place to “put out fires,” keep criminals off the streets, settle disputes and prevent already bad situations from getting worse. Public relations senior Christina Nemry said she looks for an articulate candidate with good rhetoric and who can deliver their message effectively.

“I want a candidate that has been in the political world with notoriety. I’m looking towards someone like Hillary Clinton,” Nemry said. “She’s gone through scandals, she’s risen out of them and she’s well-known enough in the public eye. To me, Clinton will be a strong candidate in the running because she won’t over promise what she’s capable of doing.”

People also vote for the candidate that promises the biggest impact. Over time, when the winning candidate fails to deliver the promised results, people become disappointed and it becomes a cycle of highs and lows.

While Obama failed to delivered the promise for large-scale change, the current administration has seen a massive improvement following the Bush administration.

The Huffington Post outlined several reasons on why “Obama is one of the best presidents ever” and listed several reasons such as his advocacy for equal rights, peace, environment and education.

In addition, Washington Monthly listed the top 50 accomplishments of the Obama administration. Most of these accomplishments fall under the economy and the end of the war in Iraq.

Then there are some people, such as business administration junior Caroline Alvarez, who do not agree with the accomplishments the media has praised.

“I haven’t seen much change, except him making matters worse,” Alvarez said. “Obamacare is a good idea, but in the fine print it does more damage than what current healthcare provides. Most people are paying more on their premiums than they would be for their regular healthcare insurance provider.”

I believe most people will be concerned for economic growth, foreign policy and affairs in the coming election. Voters are going to look towards a leader with extensive experience in politics, beyond anyone else in recent years. I expect the candidates will continue the work and progress made by the Obama administration.

Like many political issues, healthcare and education reform will take many years before coming into effect, which is something that voters fail to understand. When the nation demands that these types of changes happen, they’re often met with disappointment.

“Obama talks a big game but doesn’t follow through,” Alvarez said. “He made all these promises during his election, but people don’t see any of the results.”

This disappointment has impacted many Americans who will come into the next election with a more cynical belief towards politics, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this view.

America’s voters need to be more realistic about current affairs and the approach to solutions. The political idealist will have to lower their ideals when they vote in 2016.

Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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