Unfounded Fears - What if Obama Doesn't Win?

What happens if Barack Obama doesn't win this election cycle? Look, I know everyone is saying this a given, but what if? He's been given more coverage than McCain, more positive coverage than McCain. Bastions of our popular culture are Pro-Obama, from SNL to US Weekly. Polls say people want Obama.

Most Democrats have an unspoken fear that Obama will manage to blow it during the next few weeks. There is still one final debate that will take place. Some Dems worry that people have been deliberately lying to pollsters, so as to skew results. Today's Gallup Poll shows Senator Obama ahead by 11 points, so there is little fear of that. With what seems like vast media, public, and even International support, what could stand in his way?

Let's examine some of the problems that may be in the making for him:

It's the beginning of October, with less than a month to go in the election. Most psychologists wholeheartedly subscribe to what is known as the "Primacy and Recency" effect. It simply states that the first and last impression you have of any person, or in this case, candidate will have a great deal of effect. This is not so much in play with political partisans. Most of those people knew who they were voting for before the general election started.Where it will have a great deal of effect is with those who have declared themselves "independent" or "undecided".

Now, as we stated earlier, there is still a single debate left. It is possible that it will be the most watched of the debates. It will be the time when those who missed the first two debates fell obligated to watch. Any flubs, gotchas, or wins will be greatly magnified in the eyes of these influential voters. Obama must play it safe, and make it through the debate unscathed. John McCain has stated that he believes the last 72 hours is where the election is won. McCain will pull out all the stops. One only has to look back a short while, when George Bush was forced to confirm his DUI conviction, on November 2nd 2000. Who knows what kind of impact this made? It surely cost Bush a few votes in a tight election. This is what is feared may happen again.

Then, there is the fear that Republicans will make the William Ayers connection stick. The Obama campaign is doing their best to distance themselves from the former leader of the domestic terrorist group, known as "The Weather Underground". The events of 30-some-odd years ago are of less concern to the Obama campaign, than the fact that Ayers has embraced Hugo Chavez, and argues vehemently for socialist ideas in his posittion as professor at the University of Chicago. The crux of the matter is this: Obama states that Ayers is merely someone who lives in his neighborhood, someone whom he has served with on boards at educational institutions.

Republicans(and Hillary Clinton) have tried to argue that it goes deeper. Evidently, when Obama launched his State Senate campaign, the initial introduction to movers and shakers was done in the home of William Ayers.
Whether this is a valid point or not, these are facts that Senator Obama does not fight. It remains to be seen if he will be able to keep it from having an effect.

Another issue that Democrats are worried about is overall turnout from the youth vote. While this is played as a strength for the Obama campaign, the youth vote has been extremely unreliable. It is very popular amongst 18-30 year olds to be Pro-Obama. Whether this fad will translate into an increase into actual Generation X/Y turnout has yet to be seen. 26 year old "Obama Girl", Amber Lee Ettinger, failed to vote at all in the primaries. This gives everyone a little "cause for pause".

There is also a "good" problem that has reared its head in the past few days. Some polls are showing a virtual landslide leading into November 4th. Will this kind of projected win lull people into a sense of false security, and give us the kind of close election we saw between George Bush and Al Gore? Will people just stay home, and assume Obama has the votes to lead him to victory?

I would not want to be in the position that the Obama campaign finds itself in currently. They are defending an ever-widening lead. The problem with defense, is that you are not in a position to go on offense. McCain/Palin has nothing to lose, but the election. Obama is carrying "the hopes and dreams" of his constituents. That is a far heavier burden to bear. Time will tell whether Obama can push through to the finish line without disaster. In the meantime, he must keep the fears of his colleagues from being realized, and their hopes from being dashed yet again.

Resource Box
Kurt Hartman is Head of Employee Training at Mobile Fleet Service, Inc, in addition to being a political and new junkie. His company sells off the road tires to the mining and construction industries.

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