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Hurricane Sandy

Boiling out of the Caribbean and devastating the Eastern Seaboard, Hurricane Sandy has been one of the most powerful storms ever to hit New England. New York City has been one of the hardest-hit areas. The subway system was flooded, a large portion of Lower Manhattan was underwater, and trading on Wall Street was closed for two days. What many people might not realize is that Hurricane Sandy has greatly affected the presidential election as well, mostly to the benefit of President Obama.

The “Franken-storm” and its aftermath have thrown the two candidates’ positions into sharp relief. The future of FEMA, which has taken the lead in providing relief and support to hurricane-affected areas, has been brought into debate. Mitt Romney has said that he wants to privatize it, while President Obama wants to strengthen it.

For several days there was a virtual blackout on any news not directly related to the hurricane, which meant that politically oriented segments were only shown rarely, if at all. This particularly hurt Mitt Romney, who has made attacking Obama’s economic record a large part of his campaign.

In areas hit by the hurricane, there has been bipartisan support for President Obama’s relief plan. New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, recently pledged his support to President Obama due to the President’s response to Hurricane Sandy. As New Jersey governor Chris Christie, one of Mitt Romney’s most outspoken supporters, said, “I want to thank the President personally for his personal attention to this . . . He accelerated the major disaster declaration for New Jersey without the usual red tape . . . The cooperation from the President of the United States has been outstanding . . . The President has been all over this, and he deserves great credit.”

It appears many Americans agree with Gov. Christie because according to a poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post, 78% of Americans rated the President’s performance either “excellent” or “good” in the weeks following the disaster.

This bipartisan support definitely helped the relief effort, because as The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart put it, “It’s amazing how once you remove political and partisan gamesmanship from a situation, performance improves dramatically!”

While Hurricane Sandy might not have a major numerical impact, even a small swing one way or the other could have a decisive effect on this deadlocked race.

Written by¬†Will Morris’16

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