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Election 2008 Results: Emotions Run High At U. South Dakota

This story was written by Joe Sneve, Volante

Less than a century and a half after the abolition of slavery, the people of the United States of America have elected Barack Hussein Obama, 47, of Illinois, as their first black president.

University ofSouth Dakota students like freshman Jonathan Kaeppeler are excited to be a part of such an unprecedented election.

I didnt think this country would honestly elect a black man. Its showing the world that the true America is back, Kaeppeler said.

Senior Byron Thomas, Black Student Union member, said Obamas victory is an inspiration to the black community.

Its truly a blessing to see something like this happen. It lets everybody know that there is hope, Thomas said.

Junior Kelsey Webb agreed the historic precedent set by this election is encouraging to others.

I know seeing something like this accomplished will set the way for others to dream like that, Webb said.

Although the Obama presidency will be a sign of America bridging its racial divide, Bill Anderson, assistant political science professor, said the new situation is not going to fundamentally alter race relations in the United States.

This is certainly seen as a quantum leap forward for the United States, but Im not convinced its going to do much to change long-held racial views, Anderson said.

Many people agree Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden have an uphill battle ahead of them. The Obama-Biden administration will inherit a record national deficit, two controversial wars and many domestic problems.

Anderson said many things have to go Obamas way if his administration is going to be seen as successful.

First, the economy has to find a way to get back on track by making a resurgence in a particular sector, he said.

He also said Obamas success depends on his ability to reach across the aisle.

The current state of the economy and the problems facing Washington have some voters feeling the tasks at hand may be too steep for Obama to come through on all the promises he made during the course of his campaign.

Obama has his work cut out for him. Hes got a lot of challenges and good ideas but hes got limited dollars to work with, Anderson said.

Webb said results in Washington will come slowly, but she doesnt expect much from the Obama administration.

I think its definitely going to take a lot time. There will be minor changes in Washington but I dont think were going to see the promises that were made, Webb said.

Senior Jane Gullickson said people should keep an open mind about what can be done by the new president.

There are a lot of difficult tasks in front of Congress and in front of the president so I hope people are realistic about what can happen and when. Gullickson said.

Tuesday night, Democrats gained control of both the Legislative branch securing 56 seats in the Senate and 246 seats in the House as of press time and the Executive branch for the first time in 14 years.

Webb and Gullickson are concerned the Democrats may abuse their newly acquired majority power, much like the Republicans and George W. Bush did prior to 2006.

Gullickson said shes worried Democrats may forget that they represent not only those who voted for them but also those who didnt.

They were elected, but not by such a margin that they should make a bunch of decisions simply because you have a majority, Gullickson said.

Anderson said a unified government for the Democrats can help them push their agenda, but there are also drawbacks.

We had a unified government in 199 and Bill Clinton had a heck of time getting through some of his major policy initiatives because Democrats couldnt come to a consensus about how to attack the problems Clinton wanted to attack, Anderson said.

Gullickson said it is important for Americans to stand behind their new president in a time of when America needs solutions more than ever.

We have no choice but to do that, Gullickson said.

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