Decisive element in the U.S. presidential elections of 2004, the security card will not be the factor to choose the future winner of the elections on Tuesday in the United States. It has been replaced by the economic situation which has become the priority issue of elections where the Democrat Barak Obama is facing the Republican John McCain.
For more than a year, the U.S. economy faces several painful blows : Crisis of mortgages at higher risk (subprime) decline in the dollar exchange rate against major currencies in the world, rising oil prices and also The global financial crisis that led to the collapse of several giant U.S. banks, including "Lehman Brothers."
These crises have affected U.S. economic growth : The GDP growth rate declined during the third quarter of this year by 0,3%, to its worst level since 2001. This led, therefore, to the rising of jobless rate which reached last August 6,1%, marking the highest rate in five years.
The American citizen is now carrying the slogan "Kill me and give me a job", as emphasized Nicole Javaly, journalist from New York who is studying Arabic in Cairo.
The American voter is not interested in the attitude of candidates on the issues such as the Middle East or global warming. They are only interested in candidates proposals to resolve the financial crisis.
In this context, Nicole Javaly said that during the three debates between Obama and McCain, Obama showed stronger reactions to the economic crisis than McCain, despite the inexperience of the two candidates in terms of economy. She added that McCain has tried to avoid meeting Obama in the 3rd debate on the pretext that he would fly to Washington to discuss the economic crisis with the officials. "But he stayed in New York until next morning, despite having canceled a large part of its agenda as revealed by the organizers of his election campaign", she said.
For her part, Juliet blalack, Californian journalist who lives in Cairo, sees that terrorism and security issues have been sidelined in the order of priorities of the American voter who is primarily interested in ensuring its financial future and To obtain a conclusive answer to his questions on the way out of the current economic crisis. She sees that the cost that American citizens payed in the war in Iraq must be linked.
For his part, Abdallah Zihni, Egypto-American, said that the U.S. citizen now concentrating its attention on the future of the economy and social services such as healthcare and education when the economic indicators herald a recession. "The American media focus on economic policies of the two candidates, which shows the declining interest in the issue of security", he said.
According to Johann Bayer, one of U.S. soldiers who have completed their military service in Iraq and is currently studying Arabic in Cairo, one of the reasons for the decline of the role of security issues in the elections is that the war in Iraq has become a synonymous with the failure of the administration of President George W. Bush. It also refers to all the lies launched by the Republicans to persuade U.S. citizens on the usefulness of this war. "The Americans do not feel they are threatened by Iraq or Afghanistan, as was the case in 2004," he said.
Johann Bayer indicate that the current economic situation in the United States strengthens the arguments of Democrats that Republicans have ruined the country through their economic and security politicies.
However, David Degner, a journalist-photographer from the State of Georgia and belongs to a family who often vote for Republicans, sees that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan would not influence the vote in the USA . "This will affect the vote in the families who lost sons in the war", he said.
Regarding the announcement by the movement of al-Qaida for its support for John McCain, the Americans have agreed that the announcement would have no effect on the chances of candidates. The Americans never care about the opinion of al-Qaida on domestic issues of the United States. Rather, they see that both sides can use this announcement to strengthen their chances. The Obama camp will benefit by showing that it supports the arguments used against the Republicans, while McCain camp will see it as a ploy used by the media to weaken its position among the public.
But Nicole Javaly believes that if al-Qaida announced its support for Obama, and not McCain, that would have a significant impact on the elections, because such support could push voters to link it to the allegations that Obama would be committed to the American left, symbol of terrorism in the United States for the 70s, in addition to its Muslim origins.
For his part, David Degner, ironically wondered if this announcement means that Americans should vote for or against terrorism.
Regarding the impact of a terrorist attack in the United States or against American interests abroad, a few hours before the election, on the chances of candidates, Abdallah Zihi believes that such an attack could strengthen the position of Republicans in elections, because there is a widespread feeling among Americans that the Republicans implement strong security policies, while Democrats are competent in economic policies and resort to diplomatic means.
For their part, Juliet Blalack and Nicole Javaly consider the impact of such an attack would depend entirely on the reaction of each camp.
However, Johann Bayer believes that this kind of terrorist attack would be minimal. He stressed that Barack Obama is capable of winning the election because Americans feel uncomfortable with the manner in which McCain led his election campaign, especially after choosing Sarah Palin as Vice-President, In addition to its reactions to the economic crisis. This means that the Americans did not trust his judgments or influence of his advisers, a major problem during the reign of Bush.
Concerning the effect of the aborted attempt to assassinate Obama on the electoral process, David Degner noted that it would have a minimal effect, an opinion shared with Nicole Javaly, which stresses that any person could be the target of assassination.
However, Juliet Blalack see that such attacks could weaken the position of Obama as it could strengthen it. "such the attempt might make people afraid to elect him, and it also will make people focus on Biden as he could potentially be president if someone suceeded in assasinating Obama", she said
For his part, Abdallah Zihni believes that threats to assassinate Obama must be taken seriously. But he sees that these threats are supporting Obama's position because it shows problems that could be raised by supporters of McCain.
However, Johann Bayer sees these threats in a completely different way. "What I like in the U.S. is the diversity of views, trends, and even degrees of madness, those who planned the attack belong to the latter category", he said.
Johann Bayer stressed that these threats are present in every political regime, from fascism to communism, and exists in any community, whether Christian or Muslim. "Some of these attempts have succeeded, such as the assassination of Martin Luther King and John Kennedy in the 60s and explosions in Oklahoma in 1995 and the attacks of September 11th 2001, and most of the time they just fade away into a wikipedia list of assassination and bombing attempts or cult suicides", he says.
Regarding the personality of the two condidats, Juliet Blalack believes that Obama is charismatic and rhetoric. "But he has not disclosed his plans on what measures can be taken to address the issues raised in the minds of voters...The only clear position is to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq", she says. As for McCain, she believes he will follow the policies of Bush, an opinion shared with Nicole Javaly, who thinks that Obama will reduce the executive power.
For Abdallah Zihni, Obama is young and dynamic. "Barak Obama's platform is very solid and, as a young American, very appealing. The prospect of a dovish, diplomacy-heavy president rather than a gunslinging hawk is very appealing at this point. Obama's economic policies are sound, especially his middle class tax policies..And he does not seem to be heavily influenced by the bigger special interests", he added.
David Dagne believes that the fundamental difference between the candidates is that McCain is like a "fighter pilot". "He can change his positions according to the data, then Obama take his time to think and when he has an opinion he is self-confidant.
Charles Blake, an afro-American from Washington DC and studying Arabic at the American University in Cairo, sees that the most important feature of the election campaign is that Obama has never used his color. "Had he done so, he would have lost respect for American citizens", he said.
On the impact of candidates for the post of Vice-President, there is near unanimity on the fact that the selection by John McCain of Sarah Palin for vice president has hurted his election campaign, because Palin's views and ideas that had shown so far are not acceptable to most Americans. But Joe Biden, chosen by Obama for the post of vice-president, enjoys a better experience, especially in the field of foreign policy.
Charles Blake stresses that Palin has become object of jokes in the United States because of its ubiquity in the media. "Even women who have supported her in the begining, are not by her side anymore", he says.
Regarding the chances of winning the elections for each camp, there is a general feeling that Obama is closest to the White House because Americans want change after the failure of Republicans for eight years to improve the living conditions of citizens. Another factor that might help Obama : the Democrats are dominating Congress and hold most positions of governors of the states.
In this context, Johann Bayer said that the lies launched by the Bush administration, in addition to the restrictions on civil rights of Americans, help the Democrats in these elections.
Although all polls so far confirm that Obama already dominates the race for the White House, David Degner believes that noone should believes in polls. "Most Americans that do not want a black president would not declare it for fear of being accused of racism and, therefore, they say something during the polls and vote so completely different during the elections", he says.
The question now: What will happen if McCain wins the elections in light of the threat of Obama supporters to declare "civil revolt" if their candidate loses?
Juliet Blalack see that this threat will not be applied. "In 2004, many Americans said they would leave the United States to live in Canada if Bush wins the election ...Bush won and they stayed", she says. Johann Bayer shares this idea. He said that The left in USA is lazy and so tied into the establishment that the only people who would rebel would be that group of crazies.
David Degner and Nicole Javaly say that if McCain wins the elections for racist reasons and not for objective ones, it means that Americans have lost their values of justice and equality.
But Charles Blake believes that if McCain wins the elections, a significant portion of people will be convinced that elections were manipulated, which could lead riots. "What's more of a concern is what will happen in other countries as a result and I fear that this will have an even more negative affect on the global economy", he said.
It will be very interesting to see what the next 24 hours will give before knowing the candidate who will be elected by the Americans to lead the greatest world power for the next four years.