ELECTION Barry Obama rides
again By Pepe Escobar
LAS VEGAS - So he's done it. Way beyond
demographics, the ground game, getting the
turnout, the micro-targeting of voters, the
worries about suppression of black and Hispanic
early voters in Ohio and Florida, and over 55% of
women voting for him, Barack Obama inherits his
second term to try to (re)project at least a
measure of the vanished American dream across a
deeply, profoundly, divided country (with the
popular vote virtually tied at 49%; not to mention
the 90 million Americans who did not even bother
In Big O's big words: Here I am,
baby (Stevie Wonder musical intro); now it's all
about "perfecting our union"; "the heights of
hope"; "an American family as one nation and one
people"; "the best is yet to come". It's about
equal opportunity; a "common bond"; "you can make
it if you try"; and "hope". All over again. But
this time for real. Will it stick?
painted the Empire State blue. Mass hysteria took
over the Obama headquarters in Chicago; but in the
comfy air-conditioned bowels of the Aria casino in
Vegas, there was hardly a peep. From the poker
tournament going on at US$100 an entrance plus $25
buy-on to the multiple HD mega-screens of the Race
and Sports book, most punters were more interested
in betting on the NFL, horse races and even on the
far away Champions League in Europe.
sunset in Vegas it was clear that it's the Brits
who really know one or two things about betting.
Betfair was giving Romney only a 15% chance of
winning. The Brits, meanwhile, were already
burying him as a 9-to-1 corpse.
American election was a multi-billion-dollar
casino operated by both campaigns, the Vegas real
deal spells trouble. Aria was virtually empty the
whole afternoon and early evening, local time,
when the cliffhanger was all about Florida - just
for the networks to finally project an Obama
victory in Ohio clinching the deal.
quite a sight to meander through that illuminated
cemetery of solitary machines. A Wheel of Fortune
offering over $289,000. A Progressive offering
over $1.2 million. A Megabucks offering a whopping
$16 million (Double Diamonds, anyone?) And even a
lowly Progressive - each play at 1 cent - offering
a not negligible $11,000. No takers. No one. Nada.
Except, later in the day, of course, a slow influx
of Chinese fanatics, ready to conquer the
blackjack tables. Mitt's proposed currency/trade
war against the Middle Kingdom anyway is now dead
in the (Asia-Pacific) water.
casino spells out an economy in deep trouble.
Obama did carry Nevada - but let's say voters were
somewhat reluctant. Nevada is Foreclosure Hell -
much more than Arizona (Romney won) or New Mexico
(Obama won). Unemployment is officially at 12% but
Las Vegas insiders point at over 20%. I just had
to drive out of the Strip to see rows and rows of
derelict, barely finished houses lying in the sun
like cadavers. At least 7% of Nevada voters are
Mormons. It was not enough for Romney. Nor a lot
of casino workers who voted Obama in 2008 and
changed their mind at the last minute this
Got balls, brother? Nevada demographics are key - apart from the
Obama campaign's faultless ground game. Since
2008, when Obama first carried the state, the
Latino population has grown by no less than 39%.
Most vote Democrat. The fact that the Romney
campaign could never appeal to them even under an
ultra-depressed economy graphically demonstrates
supreme incompetence. The 71% pro-Obama Latino
vote anyway did send a thunderous message to
Republicans; Don't mess with us. We got
cojones. You don't.
miles (9,656 kilometers) across six states in the
Southwest, The Roving Eye's informal polling could
see this coming; Romney predictably carried Utah
and Arizona (where soon the Latino vote will turn
it blue). Obama carried California, Nevada,
Colorado and New Mexico. The Romney campaign did
all it could to disenfranchise poor, black,
Hispanic and student voters - all part of the 47%,
along with soldiers, pensioners, and the
unemployed - in every possible state, including
these ones. It failed miserably. How could it not?
Romney no less than fired 47% of the US population
from civic life.
On top of it Mitt
"Binders Full of Women" engineered somersaults to
the right of Genghis Khan (no offense to Genghis)
on everything from abortion to immigration, from
climate change (it's a fraud!) to stem-cell
research. And most of all the Holy Grail should be
preserved at all costs; those Bush tax cuts.
On foreign policy, Romney would antagonize
Russia and start a trade/currency war with China
on day one - not to mention get ready to bomb,
bomb, bomb Iran. Considering his astonishing
ignorance of the world at large, he was easy prey
to cosmic mediocrities such as Dan Senor or John
Bolton. May they disappear into oblivion - and
that also applies to Karl Rove.
next? In a perfect world, wishful thinking rules;
Obama should give all he's got to build a US
geared towards more tolerance, social justice and
equality. That is far from given. As for the world
at large, will Obama finally have the
cojones to really address the Palestinian
tragedy; carry a stick - and not carrots - to
those anti-democratic Persian Gulf
petro-monarchies; engage in a meaningful "reset"
with Russia; think twice about his multiple shadow
wars; not turn the "pivoting" to Asia into the
preamble of a war against China; and seal a deal
with Iran? Well, Barry, now there's no excuse; get
your cojones in gear.