5 Nov 2010
America Moves to the Right, Barack Obama Weakened
By Sawraj Singh

Obama’s trip to India will also be adversely affected. He is going there immediately after the defeat. He will not be able to offer any major concessions. Contrary to Bush, Obama is seen by the Indians to be soft on Muslims. Obama may also be perceived as more conciliatory to China as compared to Bush.

The midterm election results show that America has taken a sharp turn to the right. Obama has been weakened and his chances for the second term have taken a big beating. The populist movement led by Sarah Palin has become a force to be reckoned with by the Republican party. 

Sarah Palin, though bruised, may still be able to play the role of a king-maker. Only 32% of the candidates of the Tea party won. Whereas the Tea party helped the Republican party to win the House, it was also responsible for the Republicans being unable to win the Senate.

Even though the strategy of the Republican party was primarily to block Obama from getting a second term, they have managed to deepen the racial division in America. There is also a risk that populism can lead to fascism. Obama is very popular in Europe. Obama was able to decrease the anti-American feeling in Europe, which reached its peak during the Bush era. Europe will feel extremely uncomfortable with the rise of the Tea party and Sarah Palin.

The economic recession was the main reason for Obama’s setback. Obama could not have fixed the economy in just two years. It took Bush eight years to push the economy into recession. Obama could not undo the damage in just two years. It will take much longer than that.

The Tea party and the Republican right are promoting the concept of American exceptionalism. However, the rest of the world perceives American exceptionalism as arrogance. Obama tried to preach the virtues of humility. However, many Americans perceive humility as a weakness.

I feel Obama and the Democratic party made a blunder in the year 2008. They did not make Hilary Clinton his running mate. If Hilary was on the ticket, then Sarah Palin would not have had a chance of becoming a national figure.

The Republicans now have two Governors of Indian origin. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. When Bobby Jindal became Governor, many Hindus were overjoyed. Now, many Sikhs are very happy that Nikki Haley has become the Governor of South Carolina. 

Neither many Hindus nor many Sikhs realize that Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley have become Christians, therefore they do not represent the Hindus and the Sikhs. Moreover, their party may be promoting racism, making the minorities very insecure in America. If a race war breaks out in America, the Indian community can be the most vulnerable community.

In many cities the blacks and the Hispanics have pockets of population where the whites are afraid to enter. When the Tea party held its big meeting in Washington D.C., its followers were given maps of the city in order to avoid the black areas. Many white people are afraid to go to the black and Hispanic majority areas.

There is a very big difference between America and Canada in tolerating and accepting multiculturalism and diversity. Canada has many persons of Indian origin who have been elected to different positions, but none of them had to change their religion to get the position. 

The American attitude remains of a melting pot in which people have to dissolve their identity. Canada is more like a salad bowl, bringing people together without losing their identity.

Obama’s trip to India will also be adversely affected. He is going there immediately after the defeat. He will not be able to offer any major concessions. Contrary to Bush, Obama is seen by the Indians to be soft on Muslims. Obama may also be perceived as more conciliatory to China as compared to Bush. 

Traditionally, a fair complexion has always been a big appeal in India. India is used to welcoming the “Gora sahibs” (White Masters). It is a new experience for the Indians to associate a westerner with black skin color.

Obama has two years to turn around the economy. He should make the economy his top priority. If he can somehow help the country to come out of the recession, then he may get a chance to serve the second term. 



























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