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Analysis and Comment (65)

‘Corporations are people’ – and so, apparently, is Mitt Romney. Gage Skidmore

With Mitt, Netflix shows human side of a hamstrung candidate

Mitt, a newly released documentary about former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, provides an up-close look at the exhausting presidential election process in the U.S. This is no House of Cards when…
President Obama cut through the campaign spin in delivering his acceptance speech in Chicago: EPA/Tannen Maury

‘That’s what politics can be’ – US winners and losers speak

One of the standout characteristics of the 2012 campaign was the candidates’ conspiracy of tedium. Barack Obama’s research had shown him that voters are deeply suspicious of his rhetorical brilliance (even…
Newly re-elected President Barack Obama reaped the benefits of a broad demographic appeal, and an increasingly irrelevant opposition. EPA/Shawn Thew

Obama forges winning coalition as GOP faces electoral irrelevance

After an expensive, unenlightening, and interminable campaign, Barack Obama overcame a weak economy, high unemployment, and a lacklustre performance in his first debate with Mitt Romney, and was re-elected…
Mitt Romney had everything in his favour heading into the election, but still managed to lose. EPA/Matt Campbell

The revenge of the 47%

This was Mitt Romney’s last best chance to be president of the United States of America. Romney had a relatively easy primary contest. All the other Republican candidates shot themselves in the foot by…
The next four years in office for Barack Obama (and VP Joe Biden) will define his presidency and historical standing. EPA/Shawn Thew

Forward for four more years: how Obama won his second term

Barack Obama’s re-election won’t generate the same exuberance as 2008. The lofty rhetoric of “Hope” and “Change” has been replaced by the much more sombre message of “Forward”. And while four years ago…
America has spoken: Barack Obama has won a second term as president. EPA/Steve Pope

Obama wins on the economy and the auto bailout

Barack Obama has won a second term as President of the United States. For months we were told this would be a close election. The received wisdom was a spluttering economy would play badly for the incumbent…
Face off: finally Americans will go to the polls to decide between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for president. EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

The ‘empty chair’ election: those who turn up will decide

While haranguing an empty chair at the Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood stumbled upon the central metaphor of the 2012 election. The election has been, on the whole, about people who were…
Slogans such as “Real Change On Day One” have featured heavily during Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. EPA/Shawn Thew

Mitt Romney’s ill-fated last stand

In these last days of the United States presidential election, the images from the campaign trail document the confusion of the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan campaign. The unclear Republican message is no match…
Streets are covered by debris caused by Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. How will it affect the presidential race? EPA/Michael Reynolds

Race to the White House: Tim Lynch, Nick Bisley

Welcome to part nine of our Race to the White House podcast series. Each week we’ll be talking to Australia’s top US experts on the ins and outs of the 2012 US presidential campaign. This week, we ask…
Mitt Romney stands to become the first Mormon President, but his religion has barely rated a mention in the campaign. EPA/Win McNamee

Should we be worried about a Mormon President?

There is a long and dishonourable tradition of religious prejudice in American presidential elections. Catholics running for office have borne the brunt. Democratic candidate Al Smith was subjected to…
Mitt Romney outside 10 Downing Street during his gaffe-plagued trip to Europe earlier this year. EPA/Neil Munns

A Romney presidency: the implications for Europe

There is less than a week to go in the US presidential race, and the candidates are coming agonisingly close in various battleground states. Imagining Mitt Romney in the White House might turn a few Democrat…
Hopes and anxieties: the US' approach to China’s economy is often tempered by its foreign policy outlook. AAP

The US must walk the tightrope of ambiguity on China policy

When I taught foreign policy in the United States, my students would often answer one question incorrectly, albeit in a way that speaks to a larger truth about US foreign policy. In lecturing on President…
As New York City firefighters look over two houses struck by trees in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, both Republicans and Democrats worry about the impact on voter turnout. EPA/Justin Lane

Why Sandy could be the ‘October Surprise’ of the 2012 presidential election

On November 4, 1979 when Jimmy Carter’s presidency depended on gaining the freedom of the US hostages held by Iranian student militants, he was unable to achieve this goal even when it looked like the…
Mitt Romney campaigns in the crucial swing state of Ohio, one of a number of states which will decide the presidency. EPA/Shawn Thew

A guide to the must-win states for Obama and Romney

With eight days until the US presidential election, Mitt Romney seems to have a very slight edge in the national polls. However, every respectable poll aggregator, along with all the betting and futures…
“I Voted”: but in many American states, the winner-takes-all Electoral College system renders some votes wasted. EPA/Erik S. Lesser

Electoral College system gears up again amidst rumblings of reform

Every four years, bemused Australians endeavour to come to terms with the Electoral College voting system for the President of the United States. While Americans vote directly for most political officeholders…
President Barack Obama casts his vote in Chicago. EPA/Brian Cassella

Race to the White House: Joe Siracusa, David Malet

Welcome to part eight of our Race to the White House podcast series. Each week we’ll be talking to Australia’s top US experts on the ins and outs of the 2012 US presidential campaign. And as election day…
President Obama’s sporting prowess has helped his popularity among the wider American electorate. EPA/Kevin Dietsch

Presidential politics: the true US national pastime

For many Americans, it seems, politics is the ultimate sport, the true national pastime. Like athletes, political candidates are written about and widely seen as heated rivals – for popularity, power…
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney finally discussed the war in Afghanistan during the third debate on US foreign affairs. EPA/Michael Reynolds

The third debate and the nagging Afghan-Pakistan question

For a war that has gone on for more than a decade, cost the American taxpayer some US$500 billion, claimed the lives of more than two thousand GIs and inflicted many more thousands of wounded, the conflict…
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama face off in the third and final debate on foreign policy. EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Round three to Obama – now it’s a race to November 6

In the heavyweight clash of the presidential candidates, round three went to President Barack Obama on points – not by knockout. This means the incumbent won two out of the three match-ups. Interestingly…
Hands up who wants to go to a private school? Barack Obama visits an elementary school in Silver Springs, Maryland. EPA/Chip Somodevilla

US elections: do school vouchers work?

Most Americans agree that public education in their country is broken. The infrastructure of thousands of schools is decaying, scores on standardised tests are stagnant, and roughly 1.2 million students…
President Obama gave a much improved performance in the second of three presidential debates. EPA/Win McNamee

US presidential debate: Obama gets his game on

The president probably wished he could have taken the shot again after his listless debate performance two weeks ago. There are no do-overs in politics. But then, in the second debate in New York, he just…
Republican candidate Mitt Romney has promised a tougher stance on China, but his policy responses have left a lot to be desired. EPA/Bryan Bedder

Mitt Romney’s China policy could be yet another flip-flop

With less than a month to go in the presidential campaign, the next two debates provide President Barack Obama with a chance to be more assertive against Republican candidate Mitt Romney following his…
President Obama is mobbed like a rockstar wherever he goes, but how well do his public statements connect with the electorate? EPA/Michael Nelson

The art of the campaign gaffe: what we learn when candidates stuff up

Speaking to a room full of wealthy donors at a private fundraising event in May, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said 47% of American voters believed they were “victims” and “entitled” to…
Can Paul Ryan match Mitt Romney’s achievement and score a win in the debate against his Democratic opponent? EPA/Shawn Thew

US vice presidential debate: Ryan and Biden square off

A vice president is usually brought in to complement the president’s vision and policies. However, this year, it was the Republican presidential candidates who had to tailor their own platforms to the…
The administration of Barack Obama - seated here with South African President Jacob Zuma - has been criticised for not focusing more foreign policy attention on Africa. EPA/Olivier Douliery

Africa and the US presidential campaign

This year’s US presidential election has been notable for the lack of focus on foreign policy issues by either candidate. Certainly Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, has attempted to gain traction…
Will Mitt Romney’s performance in the first debate boost his previously flagging campagin? EPA/Rick Wilking

Romney’s return: can one debate change the campaign?

Mitt Romney’s victory in the first presidential debate has given his campaign a much-needed lift with four weeks remaining until the election. But can the strength of Romney’s debate performance really…
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan campaigning in the battleground state of Ohio last month, one of the states the Republicans need to fall their way in November. EPA/Shawn Thew

US elections: battleground states

It is about five weeks before the election and, overall, President Obama seems to hold a small but steady margin over Mitt Romney. However, predictions regarding the popular vote are not as important as…
Mitt Romney and the Republicans are openly sceptical of climate change. EPA/Michael Reynolds

What happened to climate change? Fox News and the US elections

Climate change has been significantly absent from the US presidential election campaign. President Obama, who made climate change a key plank of his 2008 campaign, has not been anywhere near as vocal in…
Obama met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2009 in what was seen as a further sign of a strong emerging relationship between the two countries. EPA/Shawn Thew

India, the ‘New Asia’ and the American presidential elections

Any American presidential election reverberates around global policy corners but, for India, the 2012 contest carries unusual significance. With its economy slowing, national government under severe pressure…
It’s been a tough week for Mitt Romney. Can he turn it around? EPA/Brian Blanco

Race to the White House: Tim Verhoeven, Joe Siracusa

Welcome to part three of our Race to the White House pod cast series. Each week we’ll be talking to Australia’s top US experts on the ins and outs of the 2012 US presidential campaign. This week, Tim Verhoeven…
Mitt Romney has said that 47% of households pay no federal income tax, but something about the statement doesn’t add up. AAP

Doing the math on Mitt Romney and the ‘47%’

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s comment that 47% of households pay no federal income tax is true. (It’s actually closer to 46%.) But when you dig beneath the bumper-sticker headline, his…
Mitt Romney’s 47% comments portray a man out of touch with most American lives. EPA/CJ Gunter

Mitt’s 47% gaffe: the Romney shambles rolls on

At a certain point, Mitt Romney will have to pony up for the monocle and top hat if he wants to heighten his similarities to Rich Uncle Moneybags. Rhetorically, he’s topped out. Romney filled his gaffe…
Burdened by expectation: Barack Obama prepares to leave the White House aboard Marine One last weekend. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Obama or Romney? The choice of the 1%

On November 6, US voters will make a choice between two very different candidates with very different visions, policies and approaches. Well, that is the official version, at least. The reality is rather…
Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s speech to his party’s convention last month attracted heavy scrutiny from political ‘fact-checkers’. EPA/Justin Lane

The lost cause of American political fact-checkers

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. – Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Political fact checkers seem to perform a vital public service for American democracy. Websites such as FactCheck.org…
Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton arrive at a press conference for the death of the US Ambassador to Libya. AAP/Michael Reynolds

Race to the White House: Dennis Altman, David Malet

Welcome to part two of our Race to the White House podcast series. Each week we’ll be talking to Australia’s top US experts on the ins and outs of the 2012 US presidential campaign. This week, Dennis Altman…
With the rise of “SuperPACs”, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a fundraising advantage over President Barack Obama. EPA/CJ Gunther

Explainer: what is a Super PAC?

David Weisbrot of the University of Sydney explains where the money comes from with the rise of Super PACs in the US presidential elections, in collaboration with SBS Online.
Barack Obama is running for his second and final term as US President - but what do Australian experts make of his presidency so far and the election to come? EPA/Jason Reed

US presidential elections: the view from Australia

Ahead of the US presidential election in November, five prominent Australian thinkers give us their view on what they would like to come out of the contest. Joshua Gans, Professor of Strategic Management…
Locked out: many Americans may find it harder to cast their vote in the upcoming presidential elections in November. EPA/Jay Laprete

The right to vote the right way – how voter ID laws hurt the poor

With Mitt Romney getting only a small bounce from the Republican National Convention, the polls are currently showing a virtual dead heat between Romney and President Barack Obama just eight weeks from…
Barack Obama had a good convention, but it won’t win him the election. EPA/Shawn Thew

Will the Democratic convention bring Obama a poll bounce?

The Democratic National Convention went about as well as the party could hope. The question is, in this partisan political climate, will it be enough to move the polls? The common narrative throughout…
President Obama addresses the American Latino Heritage Forum in Washington last year. EPA/Olivier Douliery

Explainer: the Latino vote in the US

In the first of The Conversation’s video explainer series - produced in collaboration with SBS Online - Dr David Smith from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney discusses the importance…
Who will occupy the White House next? Our experts give their insight. Matt Wade Photography

Race to the White House: Tim Lynch, Nick Sharman

Welcome to the first of our weekly podcasts dissecting US politics in the run-up to the presidential election. Each week we’ll be talking to Australia’s top US experts on the ins and outs of the Romney…
Coronations or conventions? Barack Obama and Joe Biden salute the masses at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. EPA/Matthew Cavanaugh

As the American party conventions begin, don’t write off their relevance

Delegates and media are gathering this week in Tampa, Florida, for the Republican National Convention. With the threat of Hurricane Isaac forcing a one-day delay to the start of the convention, political…
Mitt Romney introduces Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Saving Privat(izing) Ryan: Mitt Romney selects a running mate

On Saturday, August 11, “before the press and just about everyone else” was notified, the Mitt Romney campaign used a mobile phone app to inform supporters that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan would be…
Presumptice Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney managed to offend his British hosts on his recent visit. EPA/Neil Munns

Romneyshambles: how not to win foreign friends and influence important people

On its trip abroad, the Mitt Romney campaign would have done well to heed the advice US presidential candidates are given in a selecting a VP: “First, do no harm.” Upon arrival in the United Kingdom, however…
Romney’s faith leaves him open to political attacks. EPA/Kamil Krzsczynski

Will Obama use Romney’s mormonism against him?

Five months before the American presidential election, one thing is clear: Obama wants this to be a referendum on venture capitalism. Last week the Obama camp sharpened its attack on the business record…
President Obama addresses of the White House Forum on Women and the Economy on April 6 this year. EPA/Pete Marovich

Obama the only winner of the Republican ‘war on women’

When former Senator Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican nomination contest earlier this week, the race for the presidency took a sharp turn toward the general election. For presumptive nominee…
A sign spray painted on snow indicates a polling station for Alaskan voters on Super Tuesday. EPA/Michael Dineen

The stand-off between Mitt Romney and the Republican base continues

For Democrats, the Republican presidential primaries remain the gift that keeps on giving. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, once hoped to seal…
Republicans today went to the polls on Super Tuesday, but no clear candidate for the presidential nomination emerged. EPA/Ryan Stone

Super Tuesday: what we learned about the Republican presidential race

Voting in the Super Tuesday Republican primaries has ended in every participating state except Alaska. The results have been shared: front runners Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have all…
Voters elect delegates who pledge support to a particular candidate. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Explainer: Super Tuesday

Super Tuesday is billed as the most important day for any US presidential nomination contest, and this year it’s more fascinating than ever. Fewer states are voting than usual and the Republican party…
Mitt Romney has targeted voters in different market segments in his bid to win the Republican nomination. EPA/Michael Nelson

Would you like fries with your vote? The rise of political marketing

One of the more interesting techniques emerging from the United States Republican Nomination Primary Contest has been the strategy being used in television advertising by some candidates, in particular…
Mitt Romney is struggling to gain traction with the base of the Republican party. Can the media be to blame? AAP/Jim Lo Scalzo

Stuck in the middle: Mitt Romney’s trouble with the media

Despite his solid performances in the early Republican primaries, Mitt Romney’s candidacy for the Republican nomination is still facing a crisis of legitimacy. Social conservatives have questioned his…
Rick Perry failed to distinguish himself among an uninspiring field of contenders. EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

Oops … I was wrong: why Perry fell and Gingrich is rising

I stated on The Conversation last August that Rick Perry would become the next President of the United States in 2013. Instead, the Texas governor dropped out of the race last week, unable to establish…