Election of either presidential candidate will not be a disaster
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Regardless of the outcome of the election on Tuesday, some people on the losing side will claim that the result marks the beginning of the end of the world, and probably make some joke about the Mayan calendar.
Any number of commenters on the internet will tell you that if Barack Obama is re-elected there won’t be an election in 2016 because Obama will have declared himself president for life or something. Commenters on the left are similarly hysteric, and claim that a Mitt Romney win would set women’s rights back fifty years, and send race relations back even further.
Anyone who claims that the world will end because of the results of the election are simply crazy.
The electoral doomsayers on all sides vastly overestimate the extremism of the opposing candidate, and the amount of power the candidates will have if elected. There are countless checks on the power of the president, and neither of the candidates are anywhere near as extreme or power hungry as internet users seems to think they are.
Obama is a relatively mainstream Democrat, not the socialist Kenyan colonialist Marxist that so many seem to think he is. He’s a constitutional scholar, and has not expanded the powers of the presidency far beyond where President George W. Bush set them.
Romney is a moderate center-right Republican, and is unlikely to roll back women’s rights or anything else. That’s simply not who he is. On abortion rights for example, Romney is best known for flip-flopping left and right, and not for being a hardliner dead set on repealing Roe v. Wade. Romney is a moderate, pragmatic guy, and he’s not the far-right reactionary that some seem to think he is.
The system of checks and balances that was set up in our constitution is still very strong. Even when Democrats had total control of the government in 2009 and 2010, they weren’t able to get a whole lot done.
The system isn’t set up to allow for the kind of sweeping reforms that many on the right were afraid would pass. Obama didn’t take away our guns, he didn’t bow down to Iran, he didn’t nationalize the banks and he certainly won’t do these things in his second term either.
There will be real policy implications if either candidate wins, but they won’t be nearly as disastrous as some seem to think. The Senate and House of Representatives are likely to remain split, and anything that does get through would have to be bipartisan.
Generally, people need to relax. This election is not going to cause the end of the world, and it is irresponsible for anyone to scare voters into thinking it might be. Roe v. Wade might be in danger of being repealed, but even that wouldn’t ban abortions nationwide. Its repeal would merely make it a state decision again.
Obama might raise taxes, but it would only affect a very small percentage of Americans, and the House of Representatives probably wouldn’t let even that happen.
If we are going to raise the discourse of American politics, one of the things we must do is speak realistically about the results of any particular election. Let’s start by not accusing our opponents of bringing on the end times.
Keene is a junior majoring in political science, economics and public policy.