Day 3 of US Elections: Are Expectations Lower Than for Obama?

With the election still too close to call, we look at expectations for the next four years vs when Obama won in 2008.

It’s an election scenario almost no one wanted, but an election scenario we are stuck with. Election day for the USA was set for November 3rd, but as we know now, we didn’t get an election call. Instead, we are stuck with a rather unforgiving cliffhanger. Some had hoped that we might get a result the next day, but as we know now, no call has been made the next day.

Now here we are on day 3. While what has been called varies slightly depending on which source you follow, things haven’t even budged since last night. Probably the only thing that has changed, much to the dismay of Republican’s, is the number of votes that have been counted.

While we can’t report anything differently today, we wanted to offer a perspective that compares the Obama 2008 win to the situation now. Barack Obama won the 2008 election after a disastrous 8 years of George W. Bush. The US, at the time, was undergoing what is commonly referred to as “The Great Recession”. Bush had already issued what some criticize as a blank check bailout to big banks. Obama had to ultimately issue his own bailout in the early months of his presidency.

Despite the problems plaguing the country, one feeling among Obama supporters is that these big problems can be fixed. The country can be put back on the right track and Obama is the man for the job. A Republican senate did hold things back and notoriously became known as “the party of no”, so many years were spent sitting with a gridlocked government. Still, the expectations were there.

One of the digital issues facing Americans was the issue of warrantlesss wiretapping. That, indeed, blew up towards the end of Bush’s tenure. The hope at the time is that, because of Obama being a lecturer that taught what all the constitution is about, maybe he could overturn it. For progressively minded people, this is one of a list of things that became disappointments. Instead of reflecting on unreasonable search and seizure, Obama wound up defending warrantless wiretapping during his time in office. If a repeal of warrantless wiretapping was what was hoped for, then Obama wound up disappointing.

Fast forward to today and we have a situation that has so many similarities, yet so many differences as well. Today, we have economic turmoil that seems quite self-inflicted. Instead of a lack of regulations, this time, it is the result of an out of control pandemic that has seen no real leadership from the Federal level. We now have a vice president from the Obama era trying to gain the highest office of the land.

At the same time, the feeling is much different then what it was during the election of 2008. Now, it’s much less about finding someone who can fix all of America’s problem and more about trying to find someone who is actually half way sane and put him at the helm of the country. Sure, fixing things will be nice, but the hope is that maybe Biden can simply stem the bleeding more than anything else.

Indeed, these would be lower expectations. At the same time, can you actually blame people for having lowered expectations? After all, one of the big issues facing the US is that out of control pandemic. Reports suggest that the US is now seeing 120,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day. Thanks to Donald Trump, we are seeing deficits soar to $3.1 trillion. On top of it all, the world’s view of the US has been increasingly pessimistic. With all the trade wars waged on US allies, one question on the minds of many is whether or not we are in for more trade turmoil every time the US electorate votes in a Republican. You’re probably not going to find a whole lot of people out there that is saying that Biden is going to easily fix problems like these – this especially in the event the Republican’s take control of the Senate.

With all of this happening, digital rights and innovation seems to be a distant thought throughout all of this. Issues like reversing the network neutrality decision or reversing the war on Section 230 just seems like such distant issues that they may very well be relegated to an afterthought. With the US being in such a huge mess, it’s unclear if there will be time to fix these issues.

Above all else, this is assuming if Biden holds on to those thin leads and takes the White House. After all, that is still to be determined. Even on the third day, we are still waiting for some sort of certainty. As of now, we have to simply keep waiting.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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