It’s five days to go…
And Simon Jenkins takes the opportunity to pass comment on the likely victor:
Today the outside world, much of it with a direct and painful interest in American policy, wants Obama to win, by leads of 20% to 60%. These people have no vote. But the narrower electorate of the United States appears also to want Obama to win, albeit by a smaller margin. The world prefers him chiefly because he is black, the latter chiefly because he is not Republican.
I think both conclusions are completely wrong. If the latter claim were true, if the reasons for his enormous popularity really were so soft, then the slightest attack by the GOP would be enough to equalise this race, which is now massively overbalanced in the Democrat’s favour. It is his positions on the issues in contrast to McCain’s, it is his assured, intelligent, steadfast manner, in contrast with McCain’s chaotic irresponsibility, it is the narrative he’s painted about how he wants the country to be which has galvanised domestic voters into making this huge leap. This isn’t a partisan issue – the country has seen that trickle-down economics doesn’t work, that total war to control natural resources abroad doesn’t work, that operating alone in the world doesn’t work, that attacking your fellow Americans for their differences doesn’t work. Obama has made it clear he understands this and that he must chart a different course.
To say that the rest of the world supports him because he is black is disingenuous at best, racist at worst. My initial support was for Hillary Clinton, but I’ve come to be enormously impressed by the example which Obama has displayed in his campaign, and respect it now on its own merits; in many respects it’s unprecedented. True there is a novelty in his race, but I would maintain the rest of the world supports Obama because he offers a resumption of sanity to the White House. The pre-emptive wars (based on lies), the setting of international allies against one another for domestic benefit, the injection of religiosity into White House thinking, and reliance on the cowboy mentality of ‘you’re either with us or against us’ quite honestly offended the majority of the world outside America. Merely Obama’s acknowledgment that at some point the US will have to talk to Iran in order to begin restoring a sounder world order, got our attention. The fact that he talks in an enlightened way sealed the deal.
When Obama is elected president next week it will be a watershed in world history indeed because he is black, but not out of some fascination with his race. It will show an entire generation of African American young people that there is no longer a glass ceiling on what they can achieve. For a country which remains very much divided by race, the power of his victory will be like nothing it has ever experienced before.