Four years ago I predicted that John Kerry would win the presidential election. My gut told me so based on Kerry's more favorable showing among women, not the so-called security Moms or "W is for Women" camp, but rather those women who viewed security in a larger framework than just the Bush Doctrine. I also thought Kerry's stronger following from the under 35 voter would give him the edge over Bush.
At the time I was teaching a course called "Political Communication and Elections" and my class was evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. It made for some animated discussions. Students were unafraid to share their clashing ideological perspectives with one another and I enjoyed the dustups. I wrote then for Common Dreams' Web site: "In my fourteen years of college teaching, I've never seen students so motivated and fired up emotionally about their respective candidate. Historically, younger voters don't automatically vote for the Democrat but rather mirror the general electorate. This time there seems to be a youth gap between Bush and Kerry. A much larger percentage of younger voters dislikes the incumbent and prefers anyone but him, which helps explain why Michael Moore's Slackers Tour has brought out tens of thousands on college campuses. Maybe the younger voter isn't in love with Kerry, but s/he is willing to try the other brand on for size."
Well, I was wrong then. Kerry didn't win. Younger voters came out in the same proportion of the electorate as years before. We know the rest of the story. We got four more years of Bush and Cheney and watched the country and its global reputation go in the toilet. Now I'm eighteen years removed from teaching my first college teaching class. I'm a better predictor. This one isn't much of a stretch, however. The Obama brand isn't about choosing anyone but Bush as was the Kerry brand in 2004.
The 2008 election, once Obama secured the nomination, was very much about Obama and no one else. Sure, McCain won the Republican nomination and he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. We all enjoyed the semblance of a contest. But it was never a contest. It didn't need another campus tour by Michael Moore. He was trumped by Obama. We didn't need Drew Barrymore's Oprah appearance for Rock-the-Vote, P. Diddy's Vote or Die Campaign, much less Eminem's anti-Bush video. Obama proved in all three debates that despite his lack of political experience, he had enough of a manner and calm temperament, and oh yes, command of the issues, to calm any fears that he wasn't ready to be the CEO of this company we call America, Inc.
Tomorrow America will vote to secure the deal. But the deal has been struck and we've known that for quite some time. I can only wish the president-elect the best. At this point it's not about which candidate I favor. The one preferred by the electorate will win and I believe handily so. He will have his work cut out for him and enormous expectations to deliver on. Can he walk on water? No. We will learn that soon enough. That man, an all human Barack Obama, will win the 2008 presidential election November 4th and the world will look on with amazement. Yes, it is America and we have enormous powers to adjust course.
Fortunately, I'll be able to examine President Obama in a Syracuse University course I'm teaching this spring on the First 100 Days of the Persuader-in-Chief. There will be no other more important period for the new president and my students will be watching, commenting, and monitoring just how he is doing. I'll report about our observations throughout to HuffPo readers.