Reasons Why Barack Obama Won the Presidential Election of 2008
Keys To Victory
Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election by a 2 to 1 margin collecting 365 electoral votes to John Mccain's 173.
When he began his presidential journey Obama was a popular personality within his party but a relative unknown across the country yet he was able to pull off an amazing victory over a seasoned opponent.
How was this relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois able to defeat an experienced veteran like John McCain?
There were several factors that contributed to his overwhelming victory. Let's take a look.
Soldiers Fighting In Iraq
His Stance On The Iraq War
Before the war even began Barack Obama voiced his opposition to an invasion of Iraq but his voice was not heard along with many others who were against such a military action.
The initial victory (the removal of Saddam Hussein from power), was gained rapidly but the insuing insurgency of rebel factions opposed to the United States' occupation of the country dragged on for years which created an atmosphere of opposition to the war among Americans.
Barack Obama acted on that opposition during the presidential campaign by making his platform position to have troops removed from Iraq as soon as it could be safely done. A crafty veteran move from a rookie of sorts.
This stance resonated with Americans who had grown weary of the violence, death and destruction being caused by the war and as a result his popularity grew along with his support.
George W. Bush
A Damaged Republican Party
Eight years of leadership under George W. Bush did incalculable and irreparable damage to the Republican Party. By the time the 2008 presidential election rolled around Republican leaders were scrambling to find a candidate who could overcome the overwhelming dissatisfaction that Americans had with the party and George Bush in particular.
The Iraq War, the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, and the fallout from former Attorney General Anthony Gonzalez's firing of U.S. attorneys were some of the incidents that occurred during the Bush administration that damaged the Republicans standing with American voters.
By the time that the Republican Party's National Convention rolled around George W. Bush was so unpopular and had damaged the party brand so much that he was not present opting instead to make a video appearance.
The party was unable to recover in time to make a good showing in the 2008 election and the results are the proof positive.
The Need For Change
In many polls taken during the lead up to the 2008 election the majority of Americans felt that the country was headed in the wrong direction. The message was clear there was a need to change where the country was going.
On the economy, the war in Iraq, social issues and other areas of concern the consensus was unmistakable....America needs to change.
Barack Obama again seized on the sentiment of the country and adopted change as his campaign centerpiece. McCain on the other hand was espousing a message of more of the same especially in Iraq.
And that did not sit well with the majority of Americans.
During campaign stops Obama would declare that it was time for fresh ideas and new ways of doing things. In foreign affairs, with the economy and in health care he emphasized a change was necessary and the country was ready for it.
Job Loss/Gain Figures From 2008 Through 2012
The Condition Of The Economy
When Wall Street went into a spiral it was if someone had handed the key to the election to Barack Obama and said "take this, it's yours". He couldn't have asked for a better gift at a better time.
Up to this point the Illinois senator had just been holding his own with John McCain but when major banking institutions started to collapse Obama again rode the wave of opportunity and bolted ahead of his opponent never looking back.
McCain did himself no favors in his handling of the news of the financial meltdown by declaring "The fundamentals of the economy are strong" essentially saying there was nothing to fear.
But there was and Obama knew it.
His calm and reserved approach to the catastrophe was in stark contrast to McCain's erratic response which included suspending his campaign. A move that pretty much sealed his fate.
The problems with the economy seemed to be a custom fit for Obama's campaign. It was his strongest ally and he used it to his advantage.
Obama never looked more presidential than when he was dealing with the issues of the economy and it was that look that helped him to win the election.
Sarah Palin and John McCain
A Poor Republican Ticket
As if the climate of dissatisfaction that surrounded the Republican party wasn't enough they further handicapped themselves by selecting candidates that were unelectable. Choosing John McCain who had for the most part alienated himself from the conservative Republican base and Sarah Palin a relatively unknown, uninformed Governor from Alaska were monumental mistakes that all but guaranteed victory for the Democrats.
Senator McCain's abrasiveness when dealing with those of his party put him on the outer fringes of their support which he desparately needed in order to win the election. He was not the true party choice but he managed to rally it's members to win the nomination. Being the oldest candidate to ever run for the office of president did not help him either.
Governor Palin's liabilities showed up when she began to conduct interviews with the media. Her interviews with Katie Couric of CBS and Charles Gibson of ABC were disastrous. It was disclosed after the election by those close to the campaign, that Palin refused to be prepped for the Couric interview and it showed. Her lack of knowledge on domestic and foreign issues was glaring.
It was clear that she was not qualified or prepared to be vice president and certainly not president should something have happened to McCain.
The American electorate saw this and they made their decision.
In short, except for the presidencies of Jimmy Carter (1976-1980) and Bill Clinton (1992-2000), The White House had been dominated by Republicans for the last 40 years and very simply, as the Democratic Party proclaimed throughout it's campaign, it was time for a change.