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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Now what?

    A supporter for President-elect Barack Obama holds up a campaign sign Tuesday night at the Democratic Partys rally at the Marriott on North University Boulevard.
    A supporter for President-elect Barack Obama holds up a campaign sign Tuesday night at the Democratic Party’s rally at the Marriott on North University Boulevard.

    As the Young Democrats celebrate Barack Obama’s victory and the College Republicans nurse their presidential election hangovers, the election season that has dominated so many volunteers’ lives over the past several months has finally come to a close.

    Although Obama won in a landslide by more than 200 electoral votes, the UA Young Democrats were not comfortable until the final projection were made, said James Jeffries, president of the Young Democrats.

    “”We had to see it to believe it,”” he said.

    Knots in the stomachs of Democrats loosened a bit, though, when some major states, including Pennsylvania, fell into Obama’s column.

    “”I knew that was the key,”” Jeffries said. “”And then later on when someone told me he had Ohio, I knew it was going to end quickly.””

    While Democrats prepared for victory, Sen. John McCain’s victory party in Phoenix, attended by the UA College Republicans, quickly turned into a somber nightmare, leaving volunteers with the disappointment that their confidence was muffled by a pile of blue states.

    “”When you put so much time and effort into something, it does hurt,”” said Ry Ellison, president of the College Republicans. “”But, you know, Obama will be our president. We accept that.””

    Although the election season may have ended, politics will never take an extended break, Ellison said.

    “”We will still have meetings. We will have different speakers,”” he said. “”We’ll take a little break, but we’ll still be active.””

    It is much of the same story for the Young Democrats, as the organization will hold its officer elections for next year’s e-board next week, Jeffries said.

    With no more ballots left to cast, all eyes-Republican and Democrat-will turn to Obama to see if he can deliver on his promise of change.

    While acknowledging a President Obama may be a bitter pill for Republicans to swallow, Ellison will do so voluntarily, while turning his back on the attitude he said Democrats have had toward President George W. Bush the past eight years.

    “”While I may not support his policies, I will certainly not engage in the kind of disparaging the Democrats have done to President Bush,”” Ellison said.

    While he realizes McCain’s chance at an Oval Office run is now over, Ellison said he will always carry with him memories of all the volunteers’ hard work during the long and trying election season.

    “”John McCain is a hero,”” Ellison said. “”He’s a great American. He was an inspiration.””

    The political divide between left and right is one in need of serious mending, but Jeffries is confident Obama is up to the task.

    “”Even though he won by a pretty solid margin in terms of just the electoral vote, it’s obvious that there’s still a really big divide in America over what to do, where to go from here, how to address this unbelievably long laundry list of problems we have,”” Jeffries said.

    Although Obama has a Democrat-controlled congress and senate, he still must govern in a way that takes into account the feelings and beliefs of conservatives, he added.

    If Obama fails this charge that has been bestowed on him, the same cycle will happen that has always happened in American politics. The party in power will try failed policies that will eventually divide the country, leaving the party lacking in power to rally in opposition, Jeffries said.

    If such a situation were to happen again, Americans would be right back at square one without any progress made, he said.

    The duties Obama must undertake are full of obstacles, but the president-elect has been waiting his whole life for this moment, Jeffries said.

    “”He’s a total natural,”” he said. “”He’s one of the most gifted political figures of my lifetime easily.””

    The time is now for all citizens of the United States to swallow their pride, whether they voted for Obama or not, and continue in an active role and interest in the country’s political system, Ellison said.

    “”We wish (Obama) nothing but obviously good things-for him and for our country,”” he said. “”We’ll have to wait and see.””

    Between the financial crisis and wars abroad-between stock market plunges and health care concerns, such hindrances may be blessings in disguise, placed there to show Americans what they are really made of, Jeffries said.

    “”The challenges we have are really enormous,”” he said. “”This is a big win, but it’s only the chance to do something.””

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