Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

7 November 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. Preliminary Results of the 2012 US Presidential Election


On Tuesday, the USA held a presidential election. Despite a record number of candidates, it came down to a struggle between Democrat Barack Obama, the incumbent President, and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. In the USA, the President and Vice-President aren’t elected by direct popular vote, but indirectly, through the Electoral College. When they mark their ballot on Election Day for their preferred candidates for President and Vice-President, American voters actually vote for a group of electors from their state, which, then, votes for the President and Vice-President as the Electoral College. There are 538 members of the US Electoral College. The number of electors from each state equals the number of its US Congressional delegation (the number of its US Senators and Representatives). The District of Columbia, the location of Washington, the US capital, doesn’t have representation in Congress, but it has three electors in the Electoral College.

7 November 2012




Barack Obama Re-elected President of the USA… Neofascism Held Back


 On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama, the Democratic Party candidate, was re-elected to a second term, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a tightly contested and divisive race that saw the candidates and their backers pour an estimated 2.5 billion USD (78.3 billion Roubles. 2 billion Euros. 1.6 billion UK Pounds) into the campaign. However, control of the US Congress remained split between Democrats and Republicans after nationwide elections for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate, meaning Obama could face continued fierce opposition to his legislative agenda in the Republican-controlled House, while the Senate majority remained in the Democrats’ hands.

Early Wednesday morning, in a spirited victory speech to a raucous crowd of supporters at his campaign headquarters in Chicago, Obama called for national unity, saying that with his re-election, “The task of perfecting our union moves forward. I’ve never been more hopeful about our future, and I ask you to sustain that hope”. Obama said he had spoken with Romney earlier in the evening and congratulated the former governor of Massachusetts and his running mate, Paul Ryan, on a “hard-fought campaign”, noting, “We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply, and we care so deeply about its future”.

Romney struck a conciliatory tone in his concession speech early Wednesday morning, telling supporters at his campaign headquarters in Boston that America couldn’t “risk partisan bickering and political posturing” at this critical point in the nation’s history, telling the crowd, “This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation. This election is over, but our principles endure”. He added that his belief in his vision for turning around the American economy remained unshaken.

Earlier in the evening, the American media projected Obama to capture the key battleground state of Ohio and its 18 Electoral College votes, which helped push him over the needed 270 votes in the Electoral College to put him back in the White House. Several major American TV outlets projected the incumbent’s victory shortly before 23.30 EST (08.30 MSK 7 November 04.30 UTC 20.30 PST 15.30 AEST 7 November) Tuesday night. Shortly thereafter, Obama’s official Twitter feed posted the following Tweet, “This happened because of you. Thank you”. The networks projected Obama’s re-election after the president notched a string of projected victories in several tightly-contested and strategically-important states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire… states that were seen as key for Romney to win in his bid to unseat Obama.

CNN projected Obama’s lead over Romney in the Electoral College at 303-206, with Florida’s 29 electoral votes still on the table in a state race widely seen as too close to call as of early Wednesday morning. NBC News reported that exit polls showed that white male voters, as well as older voters, favoured Romney, whilst women and younger voters backed Obama. Citing the same exit polls, it also noted that Obama received overwhelming support among Latino and black voters.

Romney had spent Election Day on Tuesday campaigning in Ohio, a state hit hard in the American economic downturn where the Republican candidate had hoped to convince voters he was the right person to get the economy back on track. In a campaign that centred on the economy, Obama attacked Romney as seeking to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans whilst slashing social programs aimed at the middle and lower classes. The president’s signature health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act, also played an important role in the 2012 race for the White House. Romney vowed to work to overturn the law on his first day in office, whilst Obama campaigned on the broadly popular aspects of the 2010 law, including a provision forbidding insurance companies from denying coverage to people due to pre-existing conditions.

Foreign policy largely took a backseat to domestic issues in the election, although Republicans repeatedly tried to paint Obama as a less-than-stellar friend of Israel and accused him of clumsy handling of American policy in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings. Russia played a peripheral role in the campaign, though Romney notably called the Kremlin the USA’s “Number One Geopolitical Foe”, prompting Obama to accuse him of injecting a Cold War mindset into bilateral relations.

Arguably, the most significant wild card in the races was Hurricane Sandy, a massive storm that slammed the American East Coast just a week before Tuesday’s election, leaving more than 100 people dead and destroying property and infrastructure in states up and down the coast. Both candidates temporarily halted their campaigns in the storm’s deadly wake, but Obama took a hands-on role in the immediate recovery efforts, allocating federal emergency funds for states slammed by the storms and travelling to the frontline of the destruction to meet with victims of the hurricane. In the days following the storm, even New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, a high-profile surrogate for the Romney campaign, whose state bore the brunt of Sandy’s wrath, repeatedly praised Obama.

The bitter campaign was also the most expensive in American history. The independent non-profit Center for Responsive Politics estimated the cost of the race at about 2.5 billion USD, with funds coming in from the candidates’ campaigns, the Democratic and Republican Party committees, and an array of outside PACs. This flood of cash came in the aftermath of the January 2010 US Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, which allows corporations, unions, and issue advocacy organisations to spend unlimited amounts of money in support of or opposition to a candidate, as long as the spending is done independently of any candidate’s campaign.

7 November 2012



Sunday, 4 November 2012

4 November 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Five Steps One Needs to Do to Become the President of the USA


On 6 November, the USA will hold its 57th presidential election, to determine who’ll be at the helm of the country for the next four years. The main contenders are Republican candidate Mitt Romney and current American President Barack Obama, a Democrat. According to recent polls, most Americans believe that Barack Obama will win the election, to be re-elected for a second term. About 54 percent of Americans think that the Democratic candidate will win, whilst only 34 percent expressed confidence in a Republican victory. Meanwhile, a survey conducted among residents of the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, showed that 90 percent of Europeans wish to see an Obama victory. None of the seven countries, Republican Mitt Romney didn’t get even 10 percent support in any of these seven European countries. Joe Twyman, the head of the political and social research organisation YouGov said, “Without a doubt, many Americans don’t particularly care what Europeans think about their candidates, but on the other hand, history shows that if the president isn’t popular in Europe, it has far-reaching consequences for European attitudes to the USA as a whole”.

3 November 2012



Monday, 22 October 2012

How the USA will Elect “Obamney”

Here’s a snapshot of Mittens‘ base…


The incumbent American president, Barack Obama, who’s running for a second term, and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have to go through yet another, third, round of live TV debates ahead of the crucial vote, which occurs on the first Monday of November every leap year. On 6 November, a sophisticated election mechanism, which looks more like a game for rich adults, in which presidential candidates are like Monopoly tokens, will make its last turn before coming to a standstill until the next election season. However, no matter who wins, the general line never changes. Some people joke that the name of the next president is “Obamney”.

The American electoral system has had almost no alterations since its inception in 1787. As it was more than two centuries ago, the election for the President and Vice President is indirect. Firstly, voters in each of the states choose delegates or electors to the Electoral College, consisting of 538 members, equal to the total number of seats in the US Congress, plus three delegates from the District of Columbia. Wyoming, the least populous state in the USA, has three electors in the College, and California, the most populous state, has 55. Most of the states use the “winner take all” principle. Thus, if the Republican Party comes first in some state or another, all the electors from that state will be Republicans. Voters actually vote for a party-list of electors.

The election race begins almost two years ahead of the general election with so-called primaries, or party elections, during which parties or political alliances select potential presidential candidates through caucuses or local conventions. Three months before the final vote, national party conventions decide which of the candidates should run for the White House. Why is it all so complicated? French political observer Dmitry de Koshko said, “It’s a tool of control over people. The old electoral system was preserved for the interests of those who hold the levers of power in politics and the economy, to enable them to maintain their influence and the opportunity to choose candidates”.

Ukrainian analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky added, “The American electoral system enables the oligarchy to stay at the helm through allegedly democratic means. Someone once said that the difference between elections in the USA and elections in Russia is that, in America, despite ‘choice’ in the elections, it doesn’t matter who wins, because the same élite always rules. In Russia, a lot may change, so the winner is known in advance”. After George W Bush’s lame victory in the 2000 election, many Americans didn’t conceal their disappointment with the American electoral system. The voices of ordinary voters are actually irrelevant, since the entire model of American democracy, including its elections, is a sort of game for the rich.

19 October 2012

Nikita Sorokin

Voice of Russia World Service



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