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Looking back at the 2012 race for the presidency

Dan LeRoy | Fulcrum Staff

“FOUR MORE YEARS,” they chanted from Cincinnati, OH to Jacksonville, FL. It looks like this assembly hall cheer has finally come to fruition. President Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States ever elected, will be our southern neighbour’s leader for the next four years.

Canadians should be happy with this result. According to a well-sampled National Post poll, Obama would have received 78 per cent of the Canadian vote. Amongst youth, this number is even higher. Essentially, if Canada was the 51st state—or if the U.S. was the 11th province of Canada—many wouldn’t have nervously chewed their nails in the early hours of Tuesday’s election results, as the Democrats would’ve walked away with an easy and early victory. Earlier this week, Huffington Post Canada mused on the ratings of their articles, noting that the articles they published on the American elections garnered many more “reads” than those about Canadian politics. It’s clear that as a whole Canadians were very invested in this election. But why? Would our lives as U of O students change if Romney had been elected?

There would have been three major differences had ex-Governor Romney been given the title President Romney. Firstly, our southern neighbor would have dumped more money into their military. Secondly, socially conservative—even extreme—legislation that would limit access to contraceptives, abortions, and universal health care would have been more likely to pass. Lastly, and most importantly for us as university students looking to enter the job market, Romney would have decreased spending in the American economy, which would mean less public service jobs. The trickle-down effect would have easily crossed the 49th parallel to America’s biggest trading partner—us.

With Obama in office, things will proceed differently. Social programs, like universal healthcare, will stay strong.  The United States Supreme Court, which is set to rule on the constitutionality of issues such as gay marriage and marijuana’s legality, will continue to lean more left—currently two Regan-era judges are 76 years old and may very well retire soon, opening up Obama appointments.

As a U of O student who is in favour of gay marriage and marijuana legalization, I believe the more politically palatable these policies become in the United States, the more in sync they’ll be with Canada. Economically speaking, it’s quite simple. Obama embraces a policy of more government spending in the American economy. The more the government spends, the more the American people get paid to do things for the government.  This means more American people with more money, ready and willing to buy things from the United States’ biggest trading partner: Canada. This creates a ton of jobs in Canada and helps us in the foreign job market.

Beyond that, what should interest Canadians is what Obama’s second term in office represents for the world.  On Nov. 6, not only were people celebrating in Canada, but parties were happening all over the world, particularly in Kenya, where Obama’s father was born. The more liberal the leader of the U.S., the more money will be invested in policies concerning the developing world.  Helpful policies like contraceptive programs for countries with high rates of people living with AIDS are supported with massive subventions. The last Republican government completely shunned the United Nations and put up to approximately 600 trillion dollars a year into the military, which is one half the entire Canadian economy. Conversely, the United States could turn other governments into allies by putting this same amount into its funding of foreign investment, possibly halting the environment that creates desperate and fanatic people prone to the terrorism.

Although military spending will remain the highest in the world under the Obama administration, they have already begun cutting it significantly. Obama’s approach has always been one of international engagement, leading me to believe that the United States will continue along a global path of healing. This would be positive for all those who want a more peaceful world—many of those at the University of Ottawa world, myself included. The results of Nov. 6 appear positive for America’s northern counterpart and U of O students. God bless Canada!