Will one candidate win by millions, or lose by thousands? If there is a clear victor, will he be the first black American ever elected to the presidency, or the oldest American ever to win a first term?
We don’t need to know the answers to be certain of this much: no matter the outcome, it will be the climax of one of the most extraordinary presidential elections in this nation’s 232-year history, and “the first” and “the oldest” capture only some of what has made it so remarkable.
Whether judged by the milestones reached, the paradigms challenged, the passions stirred or simply the numbers — the 85 percent of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track, or the record-demolishing $640 million fund-raising mark that Barack Obama passed by mid-October — the election of 2008 actually warrants the sorts of adjectives and phrases that are often just journalistic tics: epochal, pivotal, historic, once-in-a-lifetime.
It’s been so rich with precedent and incident — and so very, very long — that we have, if anything, undervalued and even lost sight of its significance at times. In these final hours there’s some sense in pausing, pulling back and taking the broad measure of a contest that’s sure to affect not only this country’s civic life but also its emotional and psychological landscape for some time to come.
Much of its impact boils down, yes, to race and gender, Mr. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin, who could become the nation’s first female vice president.
In this fiercely waged election, longstanding barriers were challenged and toppled, at times to the seeming surprise of the person doing the toppling.
Think back. When Mr. Obama took the stage in Iowa after his victory in the state’s caucuses last January,... [continues]
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(2008, 11). Extraordinary Election Season Nears Its Conclusion. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Extraordinary-Election-Season-Nears-Its-Conclusion-176204.html
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