According to the results of several polls, liberal values are gaining popularity in the American society. During a poll held not long before the presidential elections, 25% of the respondents say that they adhere to liberal values. In 1984, the relevant figure was only 17%, and in 2008 – 22%. Today, liberal values are especially popular among people of Hispanic origin and graduates of colleges.
Among the members of the Democratic Party, today, 46% call themselves liberals. In 2004, there were only 39% of liberals among the Democrats.
It cannot be denied that US liberals have won a number of victories within the last few years – from considerable progress achieved by trade unions in defending employees’ rights and the reelection of Barack Obama, who is obviously more liberal than the mainly conservative Republicans, to victories which some people would probably call dubious, like legalizing marijuana in the states of Washington and Colorado and legalizing same-sex marriages in 9 states.
US conservatives still say that their country is a state with a center-right policy, but many experts believe that at present, this is hardly true.
Unfortunately, in the sphere of economy, US liberals cannot boast of many victories. Many Americans still find the country’s tax system to be far from perfect and the system of payment for work to be unfair. The US economy still depends much on financial injections from abroad. US liberals doubt that despite Barack Obama’s decisive victory in the elections and the fiasco of Republicans, Mr. Obama will be able to resist the Republicans’ attempts to cut budget expenditures on the programs “Medicare” (a program of medical insurance for elderly people) and “Medicaid” (a program of medical aid to poor people). Of course, for most Americans, the situation in the country’s economy is much more important than such “victories of liberalism” as legalizing marijuana or same-sex marriages.
Unfortunately, if we start to count the promises that Mr. Obama gave during his first election campaign and didn’t fulfill during his first presidential term, the list would be long. The series of mass rallies under the slogan “Occupy” all over the US is evidence that the financial crisis in the country has already driven many Americans to despair.
Within the last few months, President Obama made several steps that may be qualified as backing the interests of large business companies and turning a blind eye to the fact that some of their projects may be harmful for the country’s ecology. Namely, he allowed the Shell company to drill an oil well in the sea’s bottom near Alaska and okayed the construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to the US, although many experts find both projects doubtful from the point of view of ecological security.
Now, a question arises: if so many Americans became disillusioned about Barack Obama as a result of his first presidential term, why did they reelect him? The reason is probably that many of them did not find the Republicans with their rhetoric to be a worthy alternative for Mr. Obama. Some Americans even find that in their pre-election critical speeches against Democrats, Republicans were sometimes one step from being ridiculous.
So, as we see, it would be wrong to say that Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential elections was a result of some brilliant policy that he led during his first term. Now, Mr. Obama will have to change much in his approach to many political and economic issues if he doesn’t want his country to be driven into chaos.