With the Joe Kline’s of the world trumpeting the emergence of a fundamentally new America with Barack Obama’s election, it might be useful to remember that the same country that elected Obama also elected Ronald Reagan and Goerge W. Bush to two terms. The reason this could happen is that as many as 30 percent of American voters are non-ideological—they vote for the person they like. This can be deduced by polls consistently showing that about 40 to 45 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservative, compared to about 25 to 30 percent of Americans who identify themselves as liberals. The remaining large fraction of so-called swing voters, vote on the basis of a presidential candidate’s personality, charisma, likeability or presidential “aura”. Obama may have an impressive mandate, but this is still a fundamentally conservative country. If he wants to get re-elected he’ll have to learn fast, as Clinton did, to moderate his liberal instincts.
Michael LeGault is the author of Think! He can be reached atmichael
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