What Factors Determine the Vote

Published 28 Mar 2017

The recent victory of Barack Obama in the United States Presidential Election of 2008 is one of the biggest issues among many other big events that have occurred in America this year. This year’s election was even more controversial because of the racial issue, which they barely, if at all, had in previous elections. During the course of the campaigns, other candidates may have mentioned the racial difficulties in their speech or public pledge, but no candidate ever represented him-self as a minority.

The idea of having a Black President was unthinkable and unimaginable ten years ago. Yet, it must be pointed out that it was only achievable because America is blended by multi-ethnicity, which means America is like a melting pot, where all different races and cultures are mixed in one particular land, often called “a country of immigrants”. Many other countries aside from than the United States were and still likely to deny minorities as their presidents. This recent success, however, brings into mind the factors that are important for the voters and the issues that are important to them.

Given the economic crisis that the United States is experiencing right now, it is clear that one of the most important issues concerns the economy. Many voters are carefully scrutinizing the platforms of these candidates and finding out whether or not they have the interests of the voters at heart. It is oftentimes not enough that these candidates support the voters on the issues but that their plans will be effective because as research has shown all the candidates try to cater to the interests of the majority. The key therefore lies in the policy implementation measures and the manner by which they can achieve these promises.

As such, the economic crisis has brought about several challenges for the candidates as they propose their own economic agendas and try to deal with the scenario. It is here that the voters need to choose wisely. The psyche of the voter now no longer concerns itself with the effect of the plan in so much as the political will of the candidate and if such is able to make true on the campaign promises. Though the electorate is much wiser these days, there are still a few issues and factors that cannot be discounted.

Another important aspect in any election is the race issue, especially in the United States of America which has several minorities who, put together, are arguably a majority. There is a five percent Asian American population in the United States. However, only two to three percent of those Asian Americans voted during the 2004 election, when George W. Bush was elected again for the president. In the 2004 presidential election, 44% voted George Bush and the rest voted for John Kerry. Since 1996, many Asian Americans are slightly inclined to the Democrats, instead of the Republicans. During George Bush’s term, the federal court system appointed an Asian American judge, Kiyo Matsumoto, as a federal judge and this was the second time that Asian American became a federal judge. Sen. Charles Schumer says “her appointment to the bench will help close a gender gap in the federal judiciary.”

Janelle Staci Wong, an expert on ethnicity and politics, political participation and public opinion research, said “Further depressing Asian American participation is the fact that only 20 percent of all Asian Americans (compared with 40 percent of non-Latino whites) lived in states considered battlegrounds in 2000 and 2004,”, which means that the population of Asian Americans is important but not crucial as the places where all those Asian Americans live. Asian Americans, however, are well known for their unity and their block voting mentality. “This resulted from the 1965 immigration reform as well as changes in the nation’s sociopolitical structure due primarily to global and domestic economic restructuring and neoconservative policy orientation that emerged in the 1970s and became entrenched in the following decade.” (Pg.171, What Ties That Bind?), which means Asian American immigrants are not gathered because they share similar cultures or backgrounds, it’s because of their hatred of racial discrimination among Asian Americans.

As such, while platform and political agenda may play an important role in determining the vote of America being able to cater to the races and the minority issues remains to be the most important factor in determining the vote of America. It is not argued that there are other important considerations but it seems that it is still race and the protection of the interests of these minorities that matters. The victory of Barack Obama proves, if anything, that America is a more mature voter these days but it cannot deny the fact that sometimes the minority has a louder voice that the majority listens to.


  • Davenport, Christian. State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace Cambridge University Press (2007)
  • Leonard Leo, James Taranto, and William J. Bennett. Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House. Simon and Schuster, June, 2004, hardcover, 304 pages, ISBN 0-7432-5433-3
  • Lijphart, Arend. Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries Yale University Press (1999)
  • Peabody, Bruce G.; Gant, Scott E. (1999). “The Twice and Future President: Constitutional Interstices and the Twenty-Second Amendment”. Minnesota Law Review (Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Law Review) 83 (565).
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