By Valentin Zorin
The presidential race in the United States is entering its final stage. According to tradition, presidential elections in the US are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday every leap year. There is no provision to this effect in the American Constitution, and no one at Harvard, on the Capitol Hill, or among the omniscient press, could tell me where this centuries-old tradition came from.
This year, the hapless Tuesday falls on November 6th. On November 6th the Americans will be told who will run the country in the next four years – incumbent President Barack Obama, or Republican leader Mitt Romney. At present, no one can predict the outcome of the election. Even though Obama is currently leading in the race, he is ahead of Romney by a fairly narrow margin which might shift by November 6th .
Apparently, after suffering a humiliating defeat four years ago, the Republicans are doing their utmost to regain power. In the absence of a clear-cut political and economic program, the Republican leadership is resorting to unrestrained criticism of the incumbent administration and is relying on substantial support from major financial and industrial corporations and the military industrial complex.
Thanks to this support, the Republican election fund exceeds the resources raised by the Democrats nearly twofold. Given that money makes all the difference during US elections, the amount of it could be decisive for the election outcome. The candidates’ election headquarters handle sums approaching $1bn. Candidates for seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives spend hundreds of millions of dollars on their campaigns. During the last elections, to get a seat in the House of Representatives cost more than $1mln and much more than that was needed to secure a place in the Senate.
When asked who was behind such generous funding, President Obama said with an openness so uncharacteristic of Washington officials that the money could come from oil companies, or Wall Street. Nobody knows the source of the resources. Their recipients keep their mouths shut and the channels for cash flow open, the president said.
But the money is not given for nothing. The Republicans pledge to extend the regime of tax benefits for the wealthy which was introduced by the George W. Bush administration and expires on January 13th next year. Republican leaders insist on further arms race which means fabulous profits for the military industrial complex. Multimillionaire Mitt Romney is their top choice for pursuing these programs.
While opting in favor of the Republicans, the American business circles are giving credit to President Obama as well for retracting its promise of 4 years ago to cut military programs and put an end to the arms race, which has been a heavy burden for the US economy.
The country’s bipartisan system serves the needs of those in power. And it will continue to do so no matter what the outcome of the November 6 elections will be.