Election 2008 in American are marked by gender and race confrontations and new social demands imposed on political leaders. Each of the political leaders are unique individual thus they are perceived and understated as representatives of certain gender and race rather than unique charismatic personalities. Critics suppose that these elections symbolically portray social preferences and importance of gender and race in politics.
The main candidates are Hilary Clinton (a white woman), Barack Obama (a black man) and John McCain (a white man). The elections are a history breaking even for US because the main candidates belong to different races and genders, and the society will have o decide and choose between alternatives. The importance and uniqueness of these lections is that the leader brings to the job a set of emotions, cognitions and predispositions, which is different from that of his or her predecessor. The individuality of these clusters of personality traits means that each leader has the potential to affect the outcome of the policy process in a different way. There is the possibility that a change of leader will bring about a change in the nature of the governmental decision-making process. It is partly for this reason that voters are sometimes motivated to place their trust in new leaders. There is the belief that a new leader may be better suited to cope with the prevailing leadership environment. There may be a better ‘fit’ between the personality of the new leader and the environment with which the leader is faced. Nevertheless, despite the uniqueness of each individual, it is still possible to generalize about the impact of the personality of different political leaders upon the decision-making process (Bernstein 345).
Each of the candidates promises to change healthcare and stabilize economy, protect jobs of American citizens from illegal labor force and stop the war in Iraq. “Every American has the right to affordable, comprehensive and portable health coverage. My plan will ensure that all Americans have health care coverage through their employers, private health plans, the federal government, or the states” (2008 Presidential Elections). Obama promises to change insurance system and children healthcare coverage. Hilary Clinton and John McCain promise quality healthcare and insurance coverage for 47 million people.
Critics state that it will be a difficult decision for society to choose between a white female and male, and between men and a woman. All candidates have similar programs and statements promising to improve quality of life and economic issues. One’s racial awareness may be subliminal and not readily admitted into consciousness or it may be conscious and not easily repressed. For many Americans, racial identity pertains to the quality of the awareness or the various forms in which awareness can occur, that is, identity resolutions. Awareness of race may be accompanied by positive, negative, or neutral racial-group evaluations. The major racial identity theories propose that, within racial groups, various kinds of racial identity resolutions can exist, and consequently, racial consciousness per se usually is not considered to be dichotomous, present, or absent (Hasen 1).
All candidates promise to stop war in Iraq and withdraw troops from Iraq. Hilary Clinton claims: “When I am President, I will end the war in Iraq. … my National Security Council to draw up a viable plan to bring our troops home starting within the first 60 days of my administration. When I am President, I will withdraw our forces from the sectarian fighting” (2008 Presidential Elections). In contrast to Clinton, McCain does not promise immediate withdrawal but underlines that the American army should return home with honor and victory. “We cannot react to past mistakes by embracing calls to begin troop withdrawals or to revive our previous failed strategy of a partial troop pullback that will be an even greater mistake” (2008 Presidential Elections). These policies show that political leaders try respond to any short-term, popular desires which might arise within the system. It is impossible to give a full list of such desires as they may take many different forms. It is possible to state, though, that they may create a leadership environment which either helps or hinders leaders in their attempts to control the decision-making process. For example, short‐ term desires caused by a threat to the domestic polity from an external source may personalise the decision-making process. The threat of invasion and war creates a climate of collective fear to which leaders have to respond. Such a threat may create a window of opportunity for a particular political leader to propose a substantial package of constitutional, or policy reforms. By contrast, short-term problems caused by economic recession, or social unrest may deprive political leaders a power. They may be obliged to shelve reforms, or to abandon them altogether. Although there is no consistent pattern to such examples, the general point remains that popular desires provide the system with a dynamic which has the potential to alter the relatively fixed forms of leadership to be found in a country (Hasen 1).
In this respect, where such desires have influenced the decision-making process in the six countries to be considered, then their impact will be examined.
Barack Obama proposes to increase investment in innovative technologies and protect natural reserves. “I believe nationally we must get more energy from renewable sources and support a goal of 20% renewable energy by 2020” (2008 Presidential Elections). These policies portray that political leadership is the product of the interaction between leaders and the leadership environment with which they are faced. On the one hand, political leaders are motivated by particular ambitions and their actions are guided by certain modes of behavior. On the other hand, the leadership environment is comprised of many interlinked elements, which may be either mutually reinforcing or countervailing and which can be classified under two headings: institutional structures; and the needs of the society. McCain promises that as President, “I’ll implement an energy strategy of diversification and conservation to break the dominance of oil in our transportation sector. For example, my agenda will include deploying more technologies to improve energy efficiency, developing alternative fuels, increasing electrical power generation from nuclear power” (2008 Presidential Elections). Three leaders are able to shape their environment, but the environment will also shape their ambitions and behavior. The extent to which and the ways in which the one shapes the other is dependent on the precise nature of the interaction process (Hasen 1). In particular, it is dependent upon the set of elements under the heading of institutional structures. In the meantime, though, it is necessary to examine the process of political leadership in six liberal democracies. In the chapters which follow, the dominant leadership pattern in each country will be identified. Hilary Clinton states that “my plan includes a new cap-and-trade program that auctions 100 percent of permits, an energy efficiency agenda to reduce electricity consumption by 20 percent from projected levels by 2020, and a $50 billion fund for investments in alternative energy” (2008 Presidential Elections).
McCain and Clinton have fewer chances than Barack Obama to win elections because of than gender and color of skin. These facts and political promises portray that candidates do not differ in the focus and scope of their ambitions, but in the ways in which they try to bring these ambitions about. Although every candidate is unique, it is still possible to identify similarities between the kinds of ways that different political leaders behave in office. It is possible to generalize about the behavior of political leaders and to identify particular leadership styles. These styles may be identified from empirical observations about a person’s behavior in office or they may be constructed on the basis of an individual’s total life history. In this way, decisions are at least in part a function of the different kinds of leadership styles that political leaders exhibit. Although there are many variations between these two extremes, other things being equal, unified ‘rally’ parties act as a greater resource for political leaders than do factional parties (Nevius 78). Certain parties are also more cohesive than others. For example, in the parliamentary arena, the total membership of some party groups votes almost always en bloc, whereas the members of other party groups vote more individually. Again, although there are variations between these two extremes, the more cohesive parties act as a greater resource for political leaders than do the more individual parties. Societal attitudes are expressed through the partisan affiliation of the electorate. The leadership process is affected by the structure of such partisan affiliation (Lichtman 10). Needless to say, this aspect is closely linked to the points relating to political parties considered above. Nevertheless, it is useful to appreciate that the nature of party competition in the governmental arena flows at least partly from the distribution of partisan support in the country as a whole. For example, in certain countries partisan affiliation is divided on a class basis into two relatively impervious blocks of support: a bourgeois block and a socialist block (Nevius 78). Such systems are likely to be reflected in an adversarial decision-making process. In other countries, partisan affiliation is more fragmented. In these systems, the decision-making process may result in a greater degree of consensual decision-making procedures.
The historical moment will be that an African-American male become a President in a multicultural country. Moreover, to the extent that party identification is relatively unchanging these patterns of decision- making will also be relatively fixed. This is not to say that partisan identification is either immutable or totally inclusive of all the population. Partisan affiliation can change and there will always be floating voters whose support may be decisive in determining both the outcome of an election and the subsequent course of political leadership (Lichtman 10). Societal attitudes are also expressed through interest group activity. The leadership process may be affected by the nature of such activity in a country. For example, in some countries, interest groups may be formally included in the governmental decision-making process. They may be consulted by governmental representatives on a regular, ongoing basis (Lichtman 10).
In sum, current political battle race vs gender shows that society choose between racial and gender differences rather than political and social programs of candidates. The three political leaders focus their attention on similar aspects of this process and promises similar social policy and economic stability. They concentrate on the procedural aspects of government, ensuring that the business of government runs smoothly, whereas others will be more policy-oriented.
Bernstein, C. A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton NY: Vintage Books, 2008.
Hasen, R. L. The Untimely Death of Bush V. Gore. Stanford Law Review, 60 (2007), 1-4.
Lichtman, A. The Keys to the White House: Prediction for 2008. Social Education 72 (2008), 10.
Nevius, A. M. IRS Simplifies Late Filing Relief. Journal of Accountancy, 205 (2008), 78.
Presidential Elections. 2008. Web.