Why Barack Must Win

01/11/2012 07:54 GMT | Updated 31/12/2012 10:12 GMT

Mike Black, a current student of law at Madgalene College, Cambridge, and a former President of the Cambridge Union, argues why it is so essential that Barack Obama continues for a second term as president of the United States.

2012 feels like a heavy comedown for those of us who just four years ago were inspired by the politics of Barack Obama. A largely negative campaign against the backdrop of high unemployment, a still open Guantanamo and a more cynical politics than ever before is a stark contrast from the near-hysteria of 2008.

Barack Obama's election felt so significant for much more than his race. After 8 years of Bush, Senator Obama promised a radically different way forward. An understanding, cautious foreign policy, a pledge to restore the rule of law, healthcare reform and action to fight the global challenge of climate change were among the aspirations his global following were

hoping for.

Reality collided with the dreams of a generation more swiftly than we imagined. The mess that the president inherited was worse than the administration anticipated and Republicans have done all they can to oppose the Obama's agenda. With these significant challenges in mind, I believe he has made outstanding progress and the prospects for a second term are even


The great recession which began in 2007 was deeper and more damaging than any since the 1930's, but when Obama took office the economy stood on the precipice of depression. The stimulus package helped to stave off even worse economic calamity and start the long road to recovery. Obama would have done even more without the opposition from Republicans, and their drastic cuts would risk hurling America back into recession.

The government bailout of the auto industry has preserved thousands of jobs. The healthcare reform bill, though tamer than Democrats would like, remains a historic achievement when you consider just how many presidents going back to Eisenhower had attempted it. It prevents healthcare companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and ensures

that millions of Americans will no longer go uninsured. The repeal of 'don't ask don't tell' and the end of defending the Defence of Marriage Act represent great gains for LGBT civil rights, the executive decision not to deport immigrants brought to the U.S as children that have served in the military or gone to college is a great victory for common sense and compassion, Dodd-Frank will help to rein in the excesses of Wall Street, the 'war on science' has been ended, the war in Iraq is over and the drawdown has begun in Afghanistan. Obama worked with the international community on Libya and brought justice to Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.

The Republican alternative is unpalatable. Mitt Romney has been a liberal senate candidate, pragmatic governor and a 'severely conservative' candidate for the Republican nomination. He promises to extend the Bush tax rates for the rich, reduce tax rates for the rich by $4 trillion and increase defence spending by an additional $2 trillion, promising to pay for much of this by eliminating deductions that he refuses to name. He will defund Planned Parenthood, hurting thousands of women that rely on it for healthcare. He wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system, and will have to impose stringent cuts on vital services to realistically achieve his

goal of getting America on track to a balanced budget with all of his other promises. His foreign policy is informed by Bush-era hawks such as John Bolton. It is sometimes hard to tell whether Mitt Romney is an extreme far-right ideologue or a politician without any core principles. In my

opinion neither makes for an attractive Presidential candidate.

Though November 6th may not feel as exciting as 2008, in many ways it is more important. All of the president's achievements are at stake against a Republican Party intent on rolling back the achievements of Obama, LBJ and all the way back to FDR. It is in all of our interests that America continues to move back towards prosperity and steers clear of the policies

of the Bush years. I sincerely hope that America agrees and votes next week to re-elect president Barack Obama.