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Election Reactions Around the World

November 23, 2008

Filed under: life,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 08:00

The plane pushed back at 1:50 pm on November 4, 2008 from San Francisco International Airport. It wasn’t until I arrived Beijing, China at 6:00 pm on the 5th that I learned the results of the U.S. presidential election. I was surprised by the views of almost everyone I encountered during my 16-day zigzag around the world. I found that people internationally are happy with our nation’s decision. Already, it has begun to restore our blemished image, making it less awkward for Americans to travel abroad.

The November 8, 2008 issue of The Economist reported the outcome of 53,000 readers worldwide who voted on-line. More than 44,000—a margin of better than five to one—chose Obama. When considering electoral college votes by country (using a method similar to the way the U.S.’s electoral college system allocates votes by state), Obama collected 9,115 compared to 203 by McCain. That’s a ratio of about 45 to 1. The authors of the article believe the U.S. will enjoy more international goodwill than it has in recent years, something that both parties can celebrate. A separate article in the same issue of The Economist stated, “America will now be easier for its friends to like and harder for its foes to hate.”

The challenge will be for Obama to deliver on his promises, especially considering the current economic crisis. More than 47% of Americans did not vote for him, so uniting the nation will be a very big job. Also, whenever one party controls both Congress and the White House, problems develop. History shows that Americans prefer the checks-and-balances that come with having different parties in Congress and the White House. So, only time will tell whether the outcome of the election is good for our nation and the world.