The IUSA marked the 2012 US Elections with a number of exciting and robust discussions ahead of the main event on November 6th. In October’s run up, the political committee invited all IUSA members for an evening of ‘pizza and politics’ as we discussed the election at that stage. Jack Thompson from the UCD, Clinton Institute moderated the evening where the political enthusiasts amongst us debated the merits and downfall’s of each presidential candidate, their campaigns and the domestic and foreign policies that lay before the American people should one or the other assume control at the White House. On the eve of the election, as the polls showed a much tighter and increasingly contracting lead for President Obama, the IUSA hosted, with support from Boston College Ireland, an in-depth and lively debate about the election, the mathematics behind the polls and which candidate was best for America and why. Newstalk Journalist and presenter of Newstalk’s Breakfast Show, Chris Donoghue, took the lead in moderating the debate throughout the evening following an informative and welcoming speech by IUSA President Paul O’Connor.

Member of Democrats Abroad and former Wall Street journalist, Margaret Ward gave us ten uninterrupted minutes of why she was voting for President Obama and how his policies would protect women, continue to revive the US economy and retain America’s position as a respected world power by pursuing his ‘sound’ foreign policy strategy. In the end, Jack Thompson predicted Obama would win the election, and that he would win between 290 and 305 electoral votes – not far off the initial tally of 303, which was enough to declare Mr. Obama president in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Paul Gillespie, veteran political commentator, academic and former foreign editor with the Irish Times explained how foreign policy in the US between both parties has in many ways converged over the last number of decades. He honoured us with thoughtful insight into this change and left the audience with much to think about regarding the future of US policy on a number of key areas such as climate change and the future of America’s influence in the Middle East.

Each participant was asked to declare their predictions with all panellists bar one, predicting a narrow victory for President Obama; unsurprisingly, Mr. McGuirk, declared a win for Mr. Romney. All were agreed that whatever the outcome, it had been a truly spasmodic and tightly fought campaign, and whoever won would do so with a very slight margin over the other. In the end, Barack Obama secured 332 Electoral College votes, confirmed after four days of official calculation declaring him the winner of the Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

By Shona Murray,
IUSA Communications Secretary

Photo taken by Paul Donnelly

Newstalk’s Chris Donoghue
Head of School of Law, DCU and member of State Alumni Gary Murphy
Member of Democrats Abroad and Economics Journalist, Margaret Ward
IUSA President, Paul O’Connor
Former Foreign Editor of the Irish Times, Paul Gillespie
Republican Party advocate and PR consultant, John McGuirk
Lecturer, UCD’s Clinton Institute, Jack Thompson