While not praising my own prediction about the US election in my article “OBAMA vS McCAIN”, I am just elated that finally the US Presidential Election is finally over; and all the partying as well victory celebration is already over, and now the hard truth and fact will be in the face of President Elect Obama. To draw lessons from what has happened, I just would like to highlight and point out a few observations:
1. Obama won – based on the message of “CHANGE”. Years of right wing domination of US politics has come to almost an end. This is coupled with losses of the Republican in the Congress and the Senate. Obama has a real chance of making changes to have a high chance of success. It may takes sometime for the right wing’s politics to reform and reshape itself for them to continue to be relevant.
2. Obama won on a massive turnout from among young voters. In fact, about 70% of the youngest of the voters, voted for Obama; and as the age group increases, Obama getting less and lesser percentage. All in all, the young voters defeated the older voters. This shows that his message and election strategy works well for him. The younger Americans are taking charge and making their voices heard.
3. Obama’s strategy of using “alternative media” (i.e. internet and sms, podcasts, facebook, etc) seems to work extremely well. His strategy of not using the “racial cards” was brilliant. And his fund raising methods were also unconventional – that is to rely on masses rather than political interest groups – helps him to match McCain’s heavyweights fundraiser – by even surpassing the McCain’s amount.
4. The overall results will be a good verdict on democracy, America, and the World. The verdict shows that democracy can work if the people use it correctly as long as the systems is allowed to function without undue intervention and distortion.
In the case of Malaysia, we should learn the lessons that if people want to change, as a collective group, they can. Arrogance of UMNO and BN (and such of Mr. Bush and the Republican), can bring their dominance to end, sooner or later, it can’t last forever. Malaysia has a very high percentage of young voters, who can’t understand the old issues (such as NEP, “social contracts”, etc), and can’t relate the policies to their day to day lives. Sooner or later, they can generate these collective group, and effect changes, if they want. Last election was already a reminisence of this matter. I believe in 2012, they will definetely become a force to contend with. Any party that can mobilize them may have better chance in winning.
There is no substitute to running efficient campaign and having a clear and concise message to voters. For this, I believe the opposition (PKR, DAP, PAS) needs to work a bit more harder, if they want to unseat BN by next election. They should have a believe that they can, provided that they took stock with what’s going on.
Lastly, I just would like to bring to attention the forecast by the Iowa Political Market as I have brought about earlier. The final “prices” are as follows (as of 3rd November 2008):
Popular vote: Obama 51.3 vs McCain 44.6 (I have not checked the final numbers of the results, but I am almost sure that the margin of error are small, less than 2.5%)
Win or lose: Obama 90.3 vs McCain 10.1, which is already a known fact now that Obama has won.
What I am most happy about is that Democracy is not dead, and in fact alive and kicking. This is depsite that we have a serious issue facing Capitalistic system – which is under a severe threat of existence in the face of current financial crisis.