This article enumerates and explains five top reasons why Obama won win the 2008 race to become the 44th President of the United States.
Reason #1 - Empathy and Genuine Help for Middle-Class Americans
Barack Obama "gets" what it means for a family to worry financially, to work hard simply to make it, and to do without essentials.
Obama was born to a teenage mother, abandoned by his father at age two, and raised largely in a small apartment by his middle-class grandparents. At one point, Obama, his mother and younger sister relied on food stamps to put meals on the family table.
Michelle Obama, close counselor and best friend to her husband, and her brother were similarly raised in modest circumstances in a one-bedroom apartment on the south side of Chicago.
Both Barack and Michelle Obama speak frequently about what it means for middle-class Americans to be at a disadvantage financially and otherwise.
Because they "get" it, both Obamas refer with heartfelt eloquence to middle-class fears, including to:
- the climbing unemployment rate
- the staggering home foreclosure rate gripping the nation
- crashing 401(k) and pension plans, leaving retirements in limbo
- 48 million Americans without health care insurance
- high percentages of public schools failing our children
- the continuing struggle of middle-class families to balance work and parenting demands
When cornered by Pastor Rick Warren several months ago, John McCain defined "rich" as " I think if you're just talking about income, how about 5 million."
Middle-class anger is palpable about economic fairness in these unusually tough financial times, and subsequent to what many view as President Bush's $700 billion bailout of rich Wall Streeters, .
Obama offered actual, understandable policy solutions to help middle-class Americans, including:
- a detailed 12-point program to repair the economy for middle-class families, including a $1,000 tax cut, creation of 5 million new jobs, protection of family homes from foreclosure, and reform of unfair bankruptcy laws.
- a Small Business Emergency Rescue Plan which includes emergency lending for small and family-owned businesses, special tax incentives and tax cuts, and expansion of Small Business Administration support and services.
- a specific plan to reform Wall Street practices, including new regulation of the financial markets, to blunt the greedy influence of special interests, crackdown on manipulation of financial markets, and more.
The American public is fed-up with failed Bush/McCain economics, which claim that prosperity will eventually "trickle down" to everyone else.
Obama won the presidential race largely because voters correctly perceive that he, and not John McCain, care about and will address middle-class economic struggles and inequities.