• Barack Obama’s 10 biggest challenges in 2012

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    THE ELECTION:

    Redistricting, Gerrymandering and Voter ID Laws

    The GOP knows that despite the economic lag and slow recovery, Obama remains extremely popular with the American public. As such, they have waged a strategic war that uses legal, though immoral, tools to suppress the Democratic vote. Namely, redistricting, which has handed over previously Democratic voting districts, to Republicans; and restrictive voter identification laws that disproportionately affect African-Americans, Hispanics, young college age voters, the elderly and the poor: all of whom are demographics most likely to vote for the president in 2012.

    UNEMPLOYMENT:

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

    Reports last month showing the unemployment rate decreased to 8.6 percent was good political news for the president. But the underlying Labor Statistics reveal many of the long-term unemployed have simply stopped looking for work. This isn’t good news for the nation, the economy or candidate Obama, as it shows the effects of the Great Recession are having a sustained, systemic impact on the American jobs market.

    THE SUPREME COURT:

    Health care Reform

    The Affordable Care Act, President Obama‘s chief legislative victory, has also become his greatest political liability. Demonized by Republicans so effectively it helped fuel the Tea Party rise and success in the 2010 mid-term elections, health care reform (more widely known by its moniker ‘Obamacare’) will face its greatest challenge when the U.S. Supreme Court decides on its constitutionality.

    IMMIGRATION AND THE HISPANIC VOTE:

    “Si, se puede? O no?”

    Obama must now concentrate on spreading his message more effectively. He needs to talk locally about what he’s done for the Latino community on Education and Healthcare, and show how ‘Obamacare’ is saving lives and increasing coverage for families, at affordable rates.

    THE POOR WHITE VOTE:

    Content and Character at the Ballot Box

    It’s a challenge, since race-baiting has been the GOP’s favorite tool for maintaining the working-class white vote, and the rise of the Tea Party has only served to widen the gap. But Obama’s approval ratings are on the rise, even in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. His decision to rescue the auto industry in 2009 and the recent insistence on a payroll tax extension and unemployment benefits, has surely aided his cause by showing the poor and those struggling to find work, that he’s the one fighting for them.

    More from Wycoff: White conservative says blackness defined by ‘darker complexion’

    WALL STREET AND THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT:

    99 problems and a Job is 1.

    Obama’s challenge will be to harness that energy and motivate those young people and union workers to get out the vote on his behalf. The mortgage crisis and global recession has taken its toll, and many progressives are not as enthusiastic about the president’s campaign in ways we saw in 2008. Rallying the base, and securing independents may be difficult, but given the Republican alternatives, will prove possible.

    INDEPENDENT VOTERS:

    Blue States, Red States and Purple America

    The truth of the matter is that modern American elections tend to be decided by independent voters, who aren’t loyal to either party. As a result, Obama will first ensure his progressive base is with him. There appear no signs of worry, with Latinos, liberals, environmentalists, gay and lesbian voters and his most loyal supporters of all, African-Americans, firmly in the president’s camp.

    IRAN:

    Iraq, Afghanistan and Now What?

    Given his successes so far, from bin Laden, to Libya’s Gaddafi and Egypt’s Mubarak, and the timely withdrawal from Iraq, it seems this President is adept at maneuvering foreign diplomacy. Iran will prove a challenge, but I’m certain the GOP won’t let Obama take any credit for success in using a non-military approach, and will attack him regardless of how he proceeds. Caution is the word. Hopefully Obama won’t be swayed and manipulated the way George W. Bush unwisely was in the post 9/11 fear and fervor which led America into a decade of war, unprecedented costs and lives lost.

    CHINA

    Economic Partner or America’s Bill Collector?

    According to the U.S. Treasury Department, China held a total of $1.13 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt as of October 2011, accounting for 24 percent of total foreign holdings of U.S. debt, and making China the largest foreign holder of U.S. bonds.

    Edward Wyckoff Williams is an author, columnist, political and economic analyst, and a former investment banker. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

    Read his article in full detail on The Grio

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