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Free Example of The American History Essay

All the elections that are carried out are important in their own rights, but the 2008 presidential election might just be more important than most of them. 

An African American was for the first time in the history of the United States was elected president. This marked a very bold step towards a society of racial equality. This election also saw for the first time women being considered as viable candidates for presidency and for both parties’ tickets. Never before in the American history had party nominations come down to women and nonwhites. This essay is going to assess the events and the results of the 2008 presidential election.

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For the most part of the American history, Republicans had dominated in presidential elections. For instance since 1980, the Republicans had had dominance for all but two presidential contests. This background saw many commentators speculate whether the election of Obama could bring about a shift to put Democrats at an advantage and may be a partisan realignment as well. There are many factors that led to the victory of the Democrats in 2008. There were many short term factors that played against the Republicans.  These included an unpopular president, a very unpopular war in Iraq, and an economy that was performing poorly. It should be remembered that the war in Iraq and the economic meltdown happened under the leadership of the Republicans, this therefore gave the Democrats an upper hand. If these short term forces had not been so strong, or had they not worked uniformly against the Republicans, then the race would have been tighter. But the war on Iraq can be said to have cast a long shadow on the elections in 2008. It is true that the effects of the war were felt a long time before the 2008 contest. There are many effects the war presented on the election. The unpopularity of the war did not just eat away the approval of President Bush, but also affected the public image of the Republican Party.  When you look on the side of the democrats, the controversy surrounding the war availed a foundational support for the candidacy of Obama. It might also have been the reason why Obama defeated Hillary Clinton for the party nomination for the Democrats because as it can be recalled, Clinton was a big supporter of the war earlier on. This gives the impression that the war may after all, had long lasting effects on the US political landscape. The war tilted the partisan advantage to the Democrats and also realigned political power within the Democratic Party (Ceaser, Busch, & Pitney, p 12).

Electoral realignment goes hand in hand with party identification. This depends largely on the individual voter. Research on the trends in party identification between 2004 and 2008 showed that the gap in party identification increased from a 4-point Democratic advantage in 2004 to 9-point lead in 2008. This trend largely resulted in the movement of minorities away from independence. During this time Republicans clang to their traditional support. Throughout the campaign many of the people held onto their identification although a small percentage shifted. It can be noted that many of those who change direction usually do it in the direction of change, and that was precisely what happened in 2008. But this is still not a sure reason for one to confidently say that 2008 brought in an alignment (Ceaser, Busch, & Pitney, p 12).

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