The race to the presidential elections in the United States of America is not an easy one. And in order to hold the most powerful office in the world, the contenders for the same grapple at whatever straws that they can get their hands on. Even if it means a few tears on national television
Hillary Clinton was not having the best of times. With Barack Obama having won the Iowa caucus and touted to win the New Hampshire caucus as well, even before a single vote had been cast, Clinton was liable to do whatever it took to stay in the race.
Thus, when the waterworks begun at the candidates’ debate in a café in Portsmouth, a day before the votes, one could not say that it was entirely unexpected. The world watched Clinton with moist eyes and quivering lips, passionately stating how she did not want America to go ‘backwards’. The moment was a fleeting one, but as American television played the clip repeatedly, it was enough to make those tears worth the effort. Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary. If this was a well-planned publicity gimmick, it has certainly served its purpose. Having successfully broken the image of a tough and emotionless politician, Clinton has managed to stir within the women (of New Hampshire at least) a feeling of compassion. The female turnout at the primary was phenomenal. Clinton won with a whopping 46% of female votes in contrast to the 30% of female votes that she received at the Iowa caucus. Female voters in New Hampshire made up 57% of the Democratic Party electorate. Clinton seemed to have recovered quickly from the results of the Iowa caucus. With a change in her approach, would sudden emotional breakdowns be her strategy to win the seat to the White House? Perhaps this is her method of humanizing herself. A few tears may have gotten her out of the impending danger that she was facing momentarily. But if she believes that this is the way she will resolve the numerous problems that the nation is facing, including facing those fringes of society whose aim is to demolish USA, tears are not really the best weapon at her disposal.It also reflects poorly on New Hampshire that they would let themselves be overcome by the emotions of a political leader rather than the policies and programmes that she is proposing. One would think that with a matter as sensitive as the next president for the country, the citizens would perhaps pause to think what would be best for them. Tears are not going to polish their system neither would they enhance their ways of living. Obama has always been touted of having more realistic policies than Clinton and being a breath of fresh air from the diplomacy that ‘experienced’ politicians like Clinton bring to the table. However, his defeat at New Hampshire is a defeat for America, not because Clinton has any less potential than Obama, but because the decision to make her win the primary was made on the basis of emotion rather than of merit. Obama has already put his defeat in New Hampshire behind him, and is now at New York on a fund raising campaign. With clear intentions, the latter is energetically gearing up for the next round of challenges, at Nevada and South Carolina respectively, and for the mega-confrontation on 5th February. With a fresh lease on their campaigns, Clinton and John McCain, who also won as the Republican candidate at the New Hampshire caucus, the US presidential elections have now become unexpected and unpredictable. This was clearly proven with Obama’s defeat at New Hampshire. But then, of course, no one was aware that Clinton would go moist eyed on national television. The game of politics is the personification of the survival of the fittest. And the New Hampshire primary is the perfect example of that. Ironically, the woman who elicited those precious tears from the Clinton eyes has herself voted for Obama. Marianne Pernold Young, a 64 year old freelance photographer, confessed to not having been persuaded by Clinton’s display of emotion, and declared that America ‘need(s) new blood’. Shayoni Sarkar