By Dr. Nayyer Ali

27 June , 2008

Can Obama Do It?
By Dr Nayyer Ali

Barack Obama  made history by being the first non-white person to capture the nomination for President on behalf of a major political party.  It is a remarkable event, and it is difficult to imagine what other nation on Earth could have such a turn of events.
Obama is the son of a Kenyan Muslim father and a  White American mother, who divorced when he was two years old.  He was raised by a single parent, and traveled the world, even attending kindergarten in Indonesia.  He has a Muslim half-brother in Kenya, and his middle name is Hussein, of all things. On top of that, his last name rhymes with the instigator of 9/11.  To imagine that such a person would be within striking distance of becoming President is remarkable.
But can Obama actually win the Presidential election? In the earliest polls he has a small lead over McCain, 49% to 43%.   How that will actually end up in November is anyone’s guess.  But Obama comes into the race with a number of advantages.
As a candidate Obama is extraordinarily good. His speaking style is inspirational, even when the substance can be vague, and his ability to energize people is quite obvious.  John McCain, on the other hand, is a rather poor campaigner, and won the Republican nomination only because all the other choices were so awful to Republican voters.

Obama also has a massive fundraising machine on the Internet.  He has raised almost twice as much money as McCain, and this money advantage is likely to persist. Obama is relying on a massive number of small donors, while McCain has relied on the traditional large donor Republican base.  But Obama’s base is much deeper and broader when it comes to money.
The overall mood of the country is extremely anti-Republican.  Bush has an approval rating under 30% and is deeply unpopular, so much so that McCain will not campaign with him in public.  In three recent special elections to House seats, Democrats won in districts that had been safely Republican for decades. There is a major chance of a Democratic landslide in the House and Senate races this November.  McCain would have to battle past all that.  There are even Republicans who are openly supporting Obama, and refer to themselves as “Obamacans”.
On the core issues that concern Americans, Obama’s views are much more in line with the mainstream.  Obama wants US troops out of Iraq as rapidly as possible, which is exactly what the vast majority of Americans think should happen.  In addition, Obama’s views on healthcare are much more in common with Americans than McCain’s, who basically says that we should make insurance cheaper for the healthy, and let the sick go uninsured. Obama also has significant support among blacks, young people, and the highly educated.
So could Obama lose this election?  Is it possible?  Yes, but for that to happen McCain would need a substantial segment of voters for whom race is an issue.  These voters tend to be over 50 and white males.  However, McCain cannot rely on them alone to tip the election.  Most of them would have voted Republican anyway.  What he needs is that segment of normally Democratic voters who switch to McCain over the race issue.  This is likely to be a modest fraction of the electorate, but if even 3% of total voters switch is based on this, it would turn a 52% to 48% Obama win into a 49% to 51% loss.  However, if Obama is running 10 points ahead otherwise, then this small but crucial voting bloc would not make the difference.
A win for Obama would be a huge positive for America’s image around the world.  It would instantly wash away the stench of the Bush years, and probably do more to undermine the Al-Qaeda rationale for attacking the United States than anything else has done.  Obama is in fact Osama’s worst nightmare.




Deflating Japan

Bush’s Axis of Evil

Speaking to Non-Muslims

If Arafat Were Jinnah

The Shape of Things to Come

South Asia Expert Calls for Negotiations on Kashmir

Kashmir After the Cold War

Kashmir Quagmire: How It Started

Kashmir: Where We’ve Been

Make Way for the Euro

Will there Be a Muslim Palestine?

Careful, Careful

Our Growing Community

Pakistan’s Golden Opportunity

Musharraf’s Reform Plans

Pakistan’s Afghan Dilemma

Humanity on the Move

Strategies of America, Pakistan and Benazir

Winners and Losers

America’s Strategy Defang the Fundamentalists

The Noose Tightens

Pakistan in America

Musharraf’s Moment

A Sad Day for America, A Sad Day for Islam

Repeal the Blasphemy Law

Bush’s Stem Cell Compromise

The Depressing Stock Market

An Evening on Human Development

“Benazir” Takes Over in Indonesia

Race Riots in Britain

Global Warming or Just Hot Air?

Milosevic on Trial

Russia’s Collapse

Economic Recovery in Pakistan?

President Khatami’s Re-election

Lifting Sanctions on Pakistan

Israel’s Moral Burden

A Break in the Logjam?

The Second American Century

Pakistan’s Constitution

Dr. Lodhi in Los Angeles

Literacy: The Road Forward

Why Yusuf Can't Read

Literacy: The Glass is Half Full

Blowing Up Buddha

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Pakistan

Did You See the Moon?

Cornrows, Ali Khan, and Culture

Will the Children Go To Harvard?

Muslim Political Progress

Information Technology Gets A Boost

Sand and Oil

On Lieberman

Pakistan Builds A Tank

Kashmir in the Nuclear Age

Full Speed Ahead on Privatization

A Muslim France?

Too Much Food

Watching the Election Why Are We Hollywood’s Villains?

A Tyrant Falls

Taliban Victorious

The Walking Whale of Pakistan
The Joy of Air Travel?

The Amazing American Economy
Arafat and Jerusalem

Names For The Children

Population: Too Many or Too Few?

It Does Matter

Aziz Goes For Growth

The Military Government's First Budget

L'Affaire Salam

End Sanctions on Iraq

Third World Democracy

Light Weapons Trade on the Rise

Iran Reforms

Back to the Future

The Saudis and OPEC Mature

How Can We Help Pakistan Develop?

Report Card on Musharraf

IMF Vs Pakistan

A Candid Discussion on Foreign Policy Issues

A Sad Tale of Missed Opportunities

Cold War In Kashmir

Whither Afghanistan?

National Security and Literacy

Pakistan Votes

The People Win

What is an Islamist?

Selling the Crown Jewels

Still Not Government

One Year After the Taliban

Benazir's Folly

Iraq and Oil

Saddam and Iraq - I

Saddam and Iraq - 2

Muslim Democracy

Zakat and Capitalism

Zakat and Capitalism - 2

The Economy Picks Up

The American Military: Power without Limit?

Good Foreign Policy is Good Anti-Terrorism Policy

The Arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad

Bush Takes a Gamble

Bush Attacks

Besieging Baghdad

Darkness in Saddam's Bunker

Piccadilly It Aint Qissa Khani Is Still Qissa Kahani

Ed Asner and Afghanistan's Progress

Bush Delivers a Roadmap

Liberation or Imperialism

The Roadmap

Economic Rebound

Musharraf in Los Angeles

Economic Growth will lead to Democracy

Trapped by Myths and Fantasies

The Surge in Karachi Stocks

Bush's Busted Budget

America's Broken Healthcare

Time to Buy Stocks?

Islam, the State, and Human Rights

30 Years after the Oil Shock

The Future of Oil Wealth

Pakistan, India and Human Development

Pakistan's Eid Present

Iraq, Democracy and Islam

The End of Saddam Hussein

Three Wins for Pakistan

The Islamabad Declaration

Kerry's Big Wins

Repeal Hudood and Blasphemy

Bush's Growing Vulnerability

What Has Aziz Done?

Bits and Pieces

The Growth of India

Chaos in Iraq

Bush Caves in to Sharon

Abuse at Abu Ghraib

Too Harsh, Musharraf

The BJP Loses

What Do the Jihadis Want?

The Pak Economy: Bigger than We Think

Is America Richer than Europe?

Prime Minister Aziz

Unbundling WAPDA

Musharraf's Uniform

Chess Game in Kashmir

Three States, Three Debates

What's Wrong with the Democrats?

Can Elections Bring Peace to Iraq?

Elections in Iraq

Can Generals Yield to Democrats?

IMF Give Pakistan an “A”

Improve Higher Education in Pakistan

A Framework for Reconciliation

Iraq’s Elections By

Privatizing Power

Bullish in Karachi

Palestinians Should Abandon Suicide Bombings

The F-16’s

Bush’s Social Security Plan

Growth and Investment

Patronage Versus Policy

Aziz, the PML, and 2007

Are We Running out of Oil?

Purchasing Power

Economic Progress

Social Progress

PTCL and the Privatization Roller-coaster

Bombing in Britain

The Ummah is Not a Tribe

Is the US Oppressing the Muslims?

Is Iraq Dissolving?

Sharon Retreats

Pakistan and Israel

The Earthquake

The Other Earthquakes

The Battle for the Supreme Court

Pakistan’s Physician Exports

Beginning of the End in Palestine

Intelligent Design and Other Religious Beliefs

Shifting Populations in South Asia

Sharon’s Stroke

Building Dams

Hamas in Charge

Free Elections in 2007

Muslim Perspectives on Zionism

Iraq Falls Apart

Big Successes in Privatization

Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions

Global Warming

Dennis Ross on the Middle East

What Makes an Islamic State?

The Iraq War

Strong Growth, Falling Poverty

Buffett and His Billions

Why Peace Is Elusive in the Middle East

How Poor is Poor?

How Poor is Poor?
Pakistan’s Growth Moment

Declare a Palestinian State

The London Bomb Plot

Who Won the Lebanon War?

Iran, Israel, and the Bomb

The Pope’s Speech

Democrats Win!

The Republicans Lick Their Wounds

Finally, Some Enlightened Moderation

The Error in the War on Terror

Economic Challenges for Pakistan

Reshaping the Middle East - Part 1

Reshaping the Middle East - Part Two

The Surge to Defeat

Whither Palestinians?

Pakistan and Afghanistan

Blind to the Future?

Musharraf Goes Too Far

Letter from Lahore

Can Musharraf Escape His Own Trap?

Will Healthcare Swallow the Economy?

Israel’s Surprise Offer

The Economy Surges Again

Al Gore Should Run

Pakistan’s Arms Industry

Any Exit from Iraq?

Deal, No Deal, or Many Deals

Nawaz Comes and Goes

Will Musharraf Wriggle Through?

Can We Stop Global Warming?

Bush’s Sputtering “War on Terror” Loses Again

Mental Health at Guantanamo Bay

What a Mess!

Will Musharraf’s Errors Prove Fatal?

How About Some Good News?

Anyone but Nawaz

China, India, and Pakistan: Whose Citizens Live Best?

Electing the Next President

Benazir’s Tragedy

Pakistan Election

Democracy and Pakistan

False Hopes in Palestine

Dinner with Shaukat Aziz

How Real Were Aziz’s Reforms?

The State of Pakistan

A Real Debate on Iraq

Stop Negotiating

Severe Challenges Face Pakistan’s Economy

Mindless Obsession with Musharraf

After Musharraf, More Musharraf?

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
© 2004 . All Rights Reserved.