(from If the world could vote.com)
Well, here is my advice to my friends, relatives and myself wondering about the judgment of the American voters:
let's all get off our collective high horses and ask ourselves whether it would really be a slam dunk if the same situation were to present itself back home. In other words, would a relatively young candidate from a minority group with a new approach fare that well against an experienced politician labeled as a war hero in your own country ?
A few things to consider:
Firstly, the data show that the rest of the world would like Obama to be the next US president, not their own president. It might also be the case but we don't know that.
Secondly, those polls are mostly based on online surveys or surveys of people with an interest in international news. Therefore, the polling group is not really representative of the entire world population but more of an informed knowledgeable group. The same demographic groups in the US are also leaning heavily towards Obama. As a matter of fact, on the map above, 80% of voters in the US are also leaning towards Obama.
Now, in the history of presidential elections worldwide, how many times did a younger, ethnic minority candidate win in a landslide ?
I do not have the exact answer but as far as I know, only two countries have had an elected ethnic minority national leader at some point in history: Peru (Fujimori) and Fiji (Chaudhry)**. India (Singh) and Bolivia (Morales) could be considered but I am not sure if either count as a true elected ethnic minority leader, Singh was not elected and is more part of a religious minority. Morales is part of the indigenous population but technically, indigenous groups are the majority even though they are very rarely in power. (If I am wrong or if you can think of other countries, please weigh in).
(Fujimori photo via msnnbc.com)
Closer to home, I don't consider Ravalomanana (a merina) a true minority either because the ethnic definitions of malagasy people is too complicated ( a total cop-out but hey, the truth is, there is no ethnic majority in Madagascar). Now a chinese-malagasy, european-malagasy or indian-malagasy president would be considered a true minority. Yet, unfortunately, we are still decades away from that to even be a possibility. That said, the same can be said for the rest of the world today.
Clearly, Fujimori and Chaudhry were the exceptions. Instead of chastising US voters for not making a clear choice for Obama already, we should laud them for making the likelihood of Obama being in charge very plausible now.
Additionally, international observers are also not subjected to fearmongering rallies, emails and dvds or deliberate lies so it is easier to see through the mud-slinging like this:
(photo of Virginia Republican flier h/t Andrew Sullivan)By no means am I suggesting that this is a done deal (I am quite a superstitious cat and have witnessed the power of "jinxing"way too often) nor that race will not play a big part. New talking points spring every hour so who knows...
Let me try one last analogy: let's say you throw a party that will include your folks, their friends and your friends and you have a choice between Phil Collins and the Roots. You may think it's a no-brainer but in reality, it really isn't that clear-cut.
Kudos to you US voter for seeing through the BS, now go on, call your friends, vote early and close the deal.
**Update: Kristoff on the NYT provided a few more elected minorities: white prime minister in Jamaica and a French-born prime minister in Mauritius ( should have known that one)