Planet Obama

What would happen if the entire world could vote in our election? One guess

The entire world is, apparently, full of whiny no-good commie liberals.

It's true. This is the only logical conclusion, the only way you
can possibly parse the piles of (largely unscientific, but still pretty
damn convincing) numbers and data and full-blown emotional
consciousness now pouring in from all over the world, pumping our
little presidential election full of all sorts of cosmic meaning and
profundity and oh-my-God-can-it-be-true.

Check that: Maybe it's not the only way to parse it. But
if you're a hard-core McCainite and/or are under some sort of
unfortunate, chemically-induced delusion that Sarah Palin is just
exactly the sort of dangerously harebrained, folksy, winking,
nonsensical political confection we all really need right now, well,
you might be more than a bit peeved to learn that the entire world has
already cast its vote for our next president.

And of course, the world wants Obama.

Overwhelmingly. Crushingly. Rather staggeringly. By quite
possibly the largest margin you will see anywhere except maybe Hawaii
and D.C. and, well, San Francisco.

Did you already suspect? Could you not already guess? Because
despite how here at home Obama is pulling nicely ahead by anywhere from
five to 10 points almost across the board, we still call that a
relatively close race. It's still "anybody's game," with both
candidates currently whipping the battleground states into a frenzy and
spending millions in a mad-dash sprint to an extraordinary finish.

The rest of the world? Not quite so divided. Not by a long shot.

Just look. Over at The Economist, they put together a rather ingenious tool, this Global Electoral College
tracker thing, wherein we can ask, well, exactly that: What would
happen if the nations of the world were divvied up in a way similar to
our electoral college, with each nation getting a certain number of
votes based on population? How might the world choose? Whom would they
pick?

You might think the answer fairly obvious, given how many
nations have been so violently insulted and ignored for the past eight
solid years, and that the world's current shocking fiscal meltdown can,
at least in part, be traced directly to Bush administration
incompetence. It's no stretch at all to see McCain as merely a clone,
more of the toxic, poisonous same, if not worse.

But come on, it can't be that much of a global landslide, right? Surely there must be some
stiff, stoic nations out there who'd want a grumpy, tempestuous
military man to lead the U.S., if only to have someone to play with in
the grand sandbox of war and intolerance and oily greed?

Is there really no military junta, no dictator, no incensed
bomb-gathering nation that really wants McCain, if only for the joy of
mutual saber-rattling and for refreezing the Cold War? Putin fanatics?
Tories? Papal knaves? Anyone?

Nope.

McCain gets Georgia (of course). And maybe Macedonia. Slovakia
is relatively close, but leaning Obama. And, well, that's about it. At
last tally, of the 9,875 available global electoral votes (195
participating nations, including the U.S.), Obama has 8,482.

McCain has 16.

It is not even a contest. It is not a question. The world sentiment is so devastatingly in favor
of the calm, stable, intellectual Harvard-trained senator over the
cantankerous Bush-loving war hawk that, well, it can only make you
wonder.

Is the planet simply turning into one giant blue state, more
tolerant and fluid and less combative overall, more eager to work
together to solve the myriad problems facing humanity, as opposed to
fracturing off into bitter, fear-promoting rogue nations? Or was the
world leaning that way already, and we've had these blinders on for so
long we forgot how to see it?

Or maybe the conservative political parties in these nations,
the ones you'd expect to support McCain's style of isolationist,
military-first governance, have become just as splintered and
out-of-touch as our own, and therefore can't muster enough unity to
cast a vote for a fellow old-school war hawk?

Or is it merely because all those educated international
readers of The Economist -- not to mention all the other international
newspapers of note, nearly all of whom see Obama as a historic,
positive step, a true world-changer -- are really just a bunch of
namby-pamby gay-loving tofu heads who should put down the pot pipe and
pick up a Bible and a gun?

Wait: Perhaps it's something even more frightening and
nefarious. Maybe the world wants Obama simply because they see him as
weak and conciliatory, as easy prey, and so of course the
perverted, terrorist-choked world wants him, because then they can more
easily bomb our cities and steal our women and drink our oil and force
us to marry gay people and enjoy universal health care and drive girly
little hybrid Eurocars to the soccer game.

Whoops. Channeling Rush Limbaugh for a horrible second there. Sorry.

I realize, at first glance, this entire question might be just
ridiculously lopsided, a bit loaded, sort of like asking the world if
they would like another presidential term for, say, Iran's Ahmadinejad,
an extremist demagogue widely ignored and scoffed at by his own
citizenry, but who makes headlines by catering to his militant,
fundamentalist base. Hmm. How oddly familiar that sounds.

Then again, the truth about this global sentiment might be even more obvious, compelling, simple. It's a truth in two parts:

One: No matter where you live, no matter which nation you hail
from or to which political ideology you tend to adhere, the Bush/McCain
approach to leadership -- belligerent, militaristic, religiously
closed-minded, culturally stagnant, environmentally reckless, fiscally
irresponsible -- has resulted in one of the most epic collapses of a
world power in modern history, which in turn has made the rest of the
world a more volatile, hostile place for all.

Two: Maybe it's the Impossible Thing. Maybe Barack Obama
himself, while still only a politician, still flawed and human and not,
in fact, a demigod, maybe this man really is capable of inspiring not
just intelligent progressives, not merely normally apathetic youth, not
merely women and minorities and academics and moderates and a jaded,
wary media, but the entire unpredictable, contorted, diverse planet.

In other words, maybe he really does have something
profoundly important, something rare and exceptional, to offer the
world, and the world -- like the majority of us here at home --
recognizes a once-in-a-lifetime shot at enriching its destiny when it
sees one.

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