According to Price (2008, pp. 5-7) Barack Hussein Obama was born on 4th August 1961, in Honolulu the State capital of Hawaii. His mother was Ann Dunham from Kansas and Barack Obama Sr. from Kenya. Obama was raised up mainly by his maternal grandparents. After completing his high school education at the prestigious Punahou Academy in Hawaii, Barack enrolled at the college of Occidental in Los Angeles and studied for two years. He later transferred to Columbia University to Pursue a degree in political science graduating in the year 1983 (Remnick, 2011, pp. 9-11; Thomas, 2008, pp. 35-40).
Obama enrolled in Harvard Law School in the year 1998 to pursue a degree in Law. At Harvard University, Obama became the first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review (Currie, 2013, p. 109). In the same year, Obama joined the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin as a summer associate. Obama met his wife Michelle Robinson at the same company. He later married Michelle on October 3, 1992 and are blessed with two daughters, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama born in 1999 and 2001 respectively (Right, 2017, pp. 26-32).
After completing his Law degree, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil right lawyer with the firm of Miner, Barnhill and Galland. At the same time, He taught constitutional law as a lecturer and later as a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago law school between the year 1993 to 2004. Obama's love for advocacy led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran on a Democrat ticket and won the election in the year 1996. According to Jackson (2006, pp. 43-47) Obama had remarkable personality, he worked with both Republicans and Democrats to draft legislation on establishing early childhood education programs for the poor as well as expanding health care services. Furthermore, Obama developed a state earned income tax credit for the poor citizens transforming their livelihood tremendously. He also served as chairperson of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee. In his tenure, many death row inmates were found innocent, Obama sort to work hand in hand with law enforcers to ensured there was videotaping of confessions and interrogations in all capital cases (Atwater, 2007, pp. 121-124; Currie, 2013, pp. 108-109).
In the year 2000, Barack Obama was not unsuccessful in winning the Democratic primaries for the U.S House of the representative seat, a position held by Bobby Rush who had served for four consecutive terms. In 2002, Obama formed a campaign team and strategized on how to win the upcoming 2004 Senatorial elections. David Axelrod, a political consultant, assisted Barack in assessing his possibilities for winning the Senate seat. Barrack Obama defeated Illinois comptroller Daniel Hyns and Blair Hull a multimillionaire businessman by gathering 53% of the votes. An open seat vacated by Peter Fitzgerald. According to Currie (2013, p. 110), Obama's primary opponent was a wealthy former investment banker who vied on Republican ticket known as Jack Ryan. Fortunately, Ryan withdrew from the ballot in June 2004 following public disclosure of unsubstantiated sexual deviancy allegations publicized by his ex-wife, Jeri Ryan.
In August 2004, Alan Keyes was endorsed by the Republican party to replace Ryan. The final results elections held in November 2004 saw Obama win 70% of the votes while his opponent Ryan Keyes received 27%. This election is termed as the most significant electoral victory in Illinois history ever witnessed. With the overwhelming victory, Obama became the third African-American elected to the United States Senate. In his tenure, Barack Obama partnered with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana on a bill that expanded efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Russia and eastern Europe. He also partnered with Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to develop a website to track all federal spending. Obama's top agenda during was centered on alternative energy development and improved veterans' benefits (Bennett, 2013, pp. 179-181).
The 2008 United States of America (USA) presidential election is one of the longest, most expensive and of course one of the most exciting contests in memory. Since 1952, it is known as the first wide-open election attracting twenty major party candidates for the presidential seat. The front-runners were familiar names like Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Furthermore, it had a little share of little-known's, like Tom Vilsack, Tancredo and Tommy Thompson.
The Democratic primary election season lasted far beyond anyone expectation, with a no clear winning candidate until June 2008. Critical lessons gained from both the Democratic and Republican parties in the 2008 elections are numerous. For example, the winner-take-all system of the Republican party, which gave McCain relatively quick victory in his party. The proportional system of delegate selection in the democratic party assisted in dragging out contestants and provided a substantial boost to Barack Obama. From the Democratic side, they portrayed the importance of going after caucus delegates rather than just focusing on the big state primary win (Sabato, 2010, p. 232).
The presidential campaign of 2008 had potent symbols. One such symbol was Sarah Palin, the first female f Republican vice presidential candidate nominee. Second phenomenal Icon was Hillary Clinton, who came close to securing the Democratic nomination and of course, Barack Obama a nominee for the Democratic party. Yes, it was an exciting, dramatic election, filled with fascinating twist and turns, some caused by the smart thinking, or candidates mistakes while others were due to external forces over which no candidates control.
Amidst familiar and unfamiliar faces in the 2008 presidential election came two new faces, Barack Hussein Obama, virtually unknown to the American public before his 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) held in Boston. Sarah Palin was the second newcomer, who came to the political arena nearly twelve weeks before the general election and for a while became a central force in shaping the dynamics of the presidential seat. The contest was very hot, with more polls than in any previously held presidential battle. The election attracted social network sites, cable and network televisions, viral emails, YouTube, and bloggers (Kenski et al., 2010, p. 232; Miller, 2008, p. 168).
The Presidential Candidates
There was a total of twenty officially declared candidates to run for the presidential seat in the United States of America 2008 general election. In comparison to past polls, it was not too unusual. What seems different was the wide-open-contest, where plenty of candidates from both the major divides arose. There were nine Democrats and eleven Republicans vying for the party nominations in the year 2008. Most of the presidential candidates announced their intention to run for office at least a year before the first caucus, held in Lowa in January 2008.
In general, a total of five former governors and one current governor vied for the nominations. Also, two current and two former members of Congress, three former United States. Senators and six sitting members of the U.S. Senate plus a former big-city mayor joined the nomination race. Remarkably, civil rights activist or wealthy business people didn't run for the presidential post in 2008 nominations. For nearly all of American history, the majority of the presidential candidates have been white men mostly in their fifties or sixties. For sure, the 2008 general election was unique in all ways known (Bennett, 2013, pp. 178-187).
Barack Obama wins the Democratic Nominations
Barack Obama victory in the primaries and the caucuses was a product of numerous factors, including his campaign's comprehensive understanding of the nomination process, its ground-breaking use of the internet as a fundraising and organizing tool, powerful message of change, and Obama's enormous talents as a candidate. Eventually, Obama overcame the most formidable Democratic primary opponent who was not an incumbent president in the modern nominating process, Hillary Clinton and honed his campaign for the general election fighting against John McCain from the Republican Party (Todd and Gawiser, 2012, p. 172).
Obama and supporters understood the importance of change and of being the change candidate in a change election. They firmly understood the new fundraising tools and methods that would make a decisive difference and give him an opportunity of raising an extraordinary amount of capital for both the primary and the general election. From the alpha to the omega, Obama presented himself as a historic candidate of change. On the contrary, Clinton introduced herself as an inevitable candidate (Denton Jr and Kuypers, 2007, p. 246; Johnson, 2009).
Obama extensively developed a loyal and robust network of volunteers instead of a large paid campaign team, deploying his squad successfully in state after state. His campaign team tapped into new tactics of organizing campaigns, such as social networking sites and blogs more extensively than ever used in any other presidential election. Obama and his team understood the importance of proportional representation and getting an early lead in the delegate count. Unfortunately, Clinton wrote off states which Obama would win by a sizable margin, allowing him to gain an edge of nearly a hundred delegates in the early sprigs, that delegate advantage proved decisive in the very end of the primaries (Denton Jr and Kuypers, 2007, p. 245).
The primary focus of Obama in the primaries was on winning delegates and not winning general election swing states. He understood that winning the nomination of the party was about winning the most delegates, not winning or succeeding in particular states during the nomination process which Clinton campaign team argued unsuccessfully was an essential criterion for winning the nomination. Notably, Obama campaign had a good relationship with the press, while Clinton's campaign continued to have problems dealing with the media (Kenski et al., 2010, p. 123).
In the end, Obama went to the Lowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and delivered a stirring speech that had a significant impact on both activities at the dinner and the broader campaign. Obama understood that J.J Dinner was a critical event in the nomination process and exploited the opening to its fullest advantage. Barack Obama won a hard-fought victory for the Democratic nomination for president. His win assisted in exploding some of the myths: 1) that an African American couldn't win the presidency. 2) that long and divisive nominating process would cripple a nominee who was up against an opponent from a party who had earned nominations quickly and decisively. 3) that minority candidates couldn't succeed in the early-voting states like New Hampshire and Lowa, where the majority of the voters are white (Bligh and Kohles, 2009, pp. 483-492).
Obama Tactics and Strategies in the 2008 General Election
For the Barack Obama, the general election campaign commenced in June 2008, the day he secured more than the 2,118 delegates needed to capture the Democratic nomination seat. During the primaries campaign, Barack worked successfully to establish his underlying theme of hope and change, theme that would remain hallmarks of his substantive appeal throughout. The main areas of focus during the general election were centered on domestic policy matters such as health care, jobs and the state of the economy (Todd and Gawiser, 2012, pp. 176-179).
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