America's Crisis Election

Both John McCain and Barack Obama possess impressive hard-power political and organizational skills, which is what got them where they are today. But when it comes to the soft power skills of emotional intelligence, vision, and communication, Obama outranks McCain, though whether that will sway American voters wary of financial turmoil remains to be seen.

CAMBRIDGE – On November 4, Americans will elect their 44th president amidst the worst financial turmoil the country has known since the onset of the Great Depression in 1929.  Both candidates are United States senators with little experience as executives, so their ability to manage the crisis has become a central issue in the election.

At the beginning of the campaign, many observers predicted that Iraq would be the major issue in 2008. Instead, it is the financial crisis. In principle, this should help Barack Obama and the Democrats, because polls show them stronger on economic issues, whereas Republicans and John McCain do better on security issues. After the Republican convention, polls showed McCain ahead in early September, but after the financial meltdown, Obama took the lead.

Although both men have warily embraced the $700 billion bailout of the financial sector, the contrasts between the two men are sharp. Obama is not only the first African-American nominee of a major party, but also one of the youngest candidates ever. McCain has experience as a naval aviator and more than two decades in the Senate. If elected, he would be the oldest incoming president.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/FsBTwZi;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now