The speeches have been spoken, the rallies rallied and the cute babies lifted, crying, into the air: it’s time for America to get down to the business of electing a new President. With many polls showing Romney and Obama neck-and-neck, it looks like we’re going to have a barnstorming finish to what has been a race full of everything that makes political struggles great: glaring gaffes, witty insults and the odd nauseating slogan. But when it’s all said and done, what difference will it make? I’m here to take a good look at both candidates, to cut through the rhetoric and smear campaigns and ask: what America would look like with each candidate at the helm?
If Mitt Romney wins...
What Democrats think will happen
Romney appoints himself CEO of AmericaTM, the world’s newest large corporation. Immediately, he calls all the poor people into his office and fires them, saying ‘I just don’t like your kind’. He then makes a very racist joke about the Russians on CNN, which royally pisses them off, but when they demand an official apology, Romney simply doesn’t pay attention because he’s off playing a game of golf with his banker buddies.
Romney appoints himself CEO of AmericaTM, the world’s newest large corporation. Immediately, he calls all the poor people into his office and fires them, saying ‘I just don’t like your kind’
China launches a nuclear missile at the United States, prompting Romney’s only good move as the President: his laser eyes (he’s a robot, get it?) destroy the nuclear missiles over the UK, which he is really quite pleased about, as he hated the Olympics anyway. He takes this as a sign that he has been chosen by God, and travels round the US carrying out ‘God's will’, attacking homosexuals and abortion clinics at random, before eventually deciding that, actually, gays and doctors aren’t that bad, but his attempts to reanimate their dead bodies them prove futile.
What will actually happen
Expect ‘change’ to be Mitt’s favourite word for the next 4 years, as he attempts to carve out an identity that has yet failed to materialise in the minds of American people. Part of this process will be to cut a traditional Conservative figure on social issues. Don’t expect him to ban gay marriage or make all abortions illegal, but expect a push from his party, who will be championing traditional Christian values, to tighten regulations on these matters.
The economy will undoubtedly be his focus: tax cuts and job gains will act as his target, and Congress will be the bow that guides the arrow. To force his promises of a 10% reduction in corporate tax and an elimination of capital gains tax for the middle class through the political system, he and his party are going to have to do some serious politics, and it will be interesting to see just how successful they are. He has set relatively modest targets on the employment front, pledging to create 12 million jobs in 4 years. Economists say that this milestone will probably be reached no matter who grabs the Oval Office, but expect Mitt to laud at as his lasting legacy.
Elsewhere, Romney has made a concrete vow to repeal Obamacare, and it’s not a job that he will relish doing. The system is already deeply embedded in many states and has gained many supporters, so scrapping it is bound to cause outrage. But Romney has made his bed of promises, and now he’ll be forced to sleep in it, dealing with the chaos that the transition period will cause.
Elsewhere, Romney has made a concrete vow to repeal Obamacare, and it’s not a job that he will relish doing
Lastly, and most importantly, expect a few faux pas from both Mitt and his party. We’ve already seen a lot of them in his campaign on a diverse range of issues, so expect his term in office to generate many Youtube worthy moments: the kind that mean people outside of the US – including here in Britain – will remain cold to the new President, and his plan to label China a ‘currency manipulator’ will only tarnish his international reputation further.
If Barack Obama wins...
What Republicans think will happen
Obama will extend his healthcare reform to cover everyone on earth, inviting people from all corners of the globe to come and sample America’s state-of-the-art hospitals. This is, of course, all funded by the new 99% income tax on the country’s wealthiest citizens. No longer able to afford to live in nice areas, these people are forced to work of Obama’s new immigration task force, who are given the job of getting as many people into the US as possible. The concept of an illegal immigrant no longer exists.
Obama rips up the Bible on national television and burns the American flag, claiming it is a signal of oppression and says that the American dream is ‘a load of horse shit’. He visits every single small business in the US and demands that they give him 75% of their profits for all the great help and support that he has given them. This all happens in the first year of his presidency. For the remaining 3 years, Obama sits behind the Resolute Desk, contemplating how best to make friends with the Muslim world, deciding, eventually, that a nice flowery speech is the best way to do it.
What will actually happen
Obama has been both the hare and the tortoise in his campaign: he started with a revolutionary message but has increasingly painted himself as the steady, stable candidate who has already achieved many successes in his time in office, and will go on to achieve many more. Obama’s 4 year plan will rely on generating increased tax revenue – and he’s already said that he’ll roll back tax cuts on the very richest. Expect this to be a popular move with the majority and labelled ‘anti-American’ by his opponents.
Many of the economic problems that America has faced over the last 4 years have not been created by Obama himself, but there are still monetary and fiscal fires burning that he will need to put out
Obama has promised to steer the US towards a $4 trillion deficit cut over ten years. This is an extremely ambitious, possibly unachievable, goal. Many of the economic problems that America has faced over the last 4 years have not been created by Obama himself, but there are still monetary and fiscal fires burning that he will need to put out. If Obama does take America onto the road of economic recovery, their wheels will be barely turning by the time his 4 years are up.
Another cornerstone of Obama’s campaign has been the promise to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. This will be symptomatic of a move to prove that he is strong on foreign policy: an area he has consistently been doubted on during the last year, with critics pointing to his airy-fairy approach to the Arab spring. Expect an Obama led America to try and re-invent themselves as the main global superpower, and bang in to China in the process.
As has happened since Obama took office, expect him to struggle against an increasingly restless Congress. As his term plays out, the President will become increasingly frustrated by the Republican Party’s inability to come to an effective compromise. He will try to highlight this at every opportunity – something he failed to do, to his eventual disadvantage, in his previous term – to show that he is the hero and those big, bad Conservatives are the ones you should blame any lack of progress on.
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