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US in the Election Mood; Developments Discussed at TEPAV During a meeting that hosted Dr. Bülent Alirıza, of US based think-tank CSIS, how domestic politics in the US are being dominated by the November 2012 elections was addressed.
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22/11/2011 - Viewed 1212 times


ANKARA – Developments in the US one year before the elections were addressed during a meeting held at TEPAV on November 22, 2011.

The meeting, which hosted Dr. Bülent Alirıza, Turkey Project Director at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) as the keynote speaker, had the theme “US Politics: Towards the 2012 Elections.”

Alirıza stated that, different from US foreign politics which were controlled by a small group of elites, domestic politics interested everyone and that the determinant factor in the presidential and congressional elections to be held in November 2012 would be the unfavorable economic outlook. Stressing that he did not expect the reelection of President Obama, he said that the “overwhelming” negativity in the eyes of the public about the course of the economy and the country would be determinant in this result. Stressing surveys which revealed that around 70% of Americans were unsatisfied, he added, “In general, the President cannot be reelected with these results. At this point, the unemployment rate of around 9 points also will have an impact.”

Repercussions of the “Occupy Wall Street” Movement

Maintaining that Obama had so far refrained from commenting on the Occupy Wall Street movement, against which the police had reacted harshly, he stated that failing to maintain the support of young voters, who were of importance for Obama, could affect his electoral performance adversely. Among other disadvantages to Obama were the course of Tel Aviv-Washington relations, the great enthusiasm of the Republicans about taking over the presidency from Obama, and Obama’s efforts to establish a fund for election campaigns, which contradicts his image.

Things will change when the candidate is named

Accentuating that the candidate the Republican Party would choose to run against President Obama also was important, he said, “Though Obama seems to be disadvantageous himself, things might change when the Republican Party announces their candidate.” In this context, Alirıza made an assessment about the favorite candidates for the presidential election.

Pointing at the current state of the US Congress, he said, “Even if Obama is reelected, his presidency will not have meaning if he loses the other house to the Republicans.”  Recalling the strong disagreement throughout Congress about current budget cuts, he said that the Republicans, who hold the majority in the House of Representatives, had blocked the Congress and that Obama would face bigger problems if the Democrats’ position in the House was weakened further following the elections.

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