In the run-up to the U.S. 2012 Presidential elections, the GMF Warsaw Office hosted a discussion on the elections and their impact on transatlantic relations. The Office had the pleasure to host Craig Kennedy, the President of GMF as the guest speaker on the subject during a public event which took place on October 23, 2012.
Mr Kennedy said that an incredible sense of uncertainty is surrounding this year’s elections. With two unsuccessful wars and the financial crisis, this year’s elections are as unpredictable as the 2000 and 1992 votes.
Citing the statistics provided by different public opinion polls, President Kennedy said that Obama is likely to be re-elected for a number of reasons. He has an incredible personality which attracted an extraordinary number of votes four years ago and did not commit any big external policy disasters, even though he has been in office when economy has been in the worse. Romney on the other hand has several disadvantages: not only has he run a mediocre campaign, but is a businessman who appears to be a stiff guy. Several states, such as North Carolina and Nevada have turned to support Romney, but it might not be enough to beat the incumbent President, who is in fact running a successful campaign.
On the U.S. – Europe relations, Mr Kennedy remarked that there would be no big difference should democrats or republicans win. If Europe wants more U.S. involvement, it needs to find a good reason to justify it. An ambitious U.S. foreign policy would certainly attract U.S. interest and could help the new administration address the big challenge – the future of NATO.
But for the internal relations, this campaign actually marks the sharpest contrast of two different ideological visions the U.S. can follow and what the role of the government should be. Both campaigners play to the middle class citizens – especially Mitt Romney, who expresses his support of entrepreneurship and innovation, aspires to recreate the Reagan years of economic performance. He would like to see businesses more independent of government. Barack Obama on the other hand understands that many American families use grants, Medicare support and depend on government for employment and thus tries to address the insecurity of the middle class. This election will show where the U.S. would go, but the real answer will be seen in four years.