While it has only been a bit less than two weeks since the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States, it seems that months have passed. Controversies with the Bush Administration have emerged and subsided. Potential appointees' names have been floated, debated, rejected, and confirmed. The President Elect's advisers have suggested a wave of executive orders immediately after the inauguration, and they have then denied that they made any decisions regarding executive orders. The joy and exuberance unleashed by the election results have not subsided, and there will be time after the inauguration to look back at the transition for symbolism, for how it set the right the tone for the nation, for how quickly it kicked into full gear, and for how (of course) mistakes were made. But, it already feels like months have passed.
With two weeks of perspective, we Manhattanites can take renewed pride in our role in the election of the 44th President of the United States. We were amongst the largest sources of financial fire power for the Democratic Nominee for the Presidency in 2008, and that fire power made a huge difference in the outcome of the election.
Manhattan Led the Way to the Obama Victory
The New York City metro area was the top geographic contributor to Barack Obama's Presidential campaign, and New York State was the second largest state in terms of financial support for the next President as he funded his historic journey to the White House. Only California, with its far larger population, was a larger portion of Obama's campaign cash.
Six of the top 10 largest zip codes in the United States in terms of contributions to the Obama campaign were Manhattan zip codes. We led the way for the entire nation, and while each of the other boroughs had several zip codes that gave more money to McCain than to Obama, Manhattan was pure, with every zip code overwhelmingly favoring Obama in terms of dollars contributed (the one exception is zip code 10020, which has almost no population but did indeed support McCain more than Obama in dollars during the last election cycle). http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/election2008/campaigncontributions/index.html
Manhattan was powerful and unified in its support for the Obama campaign. We need to remain aggressively supportive in the governing phase, and we need to remain united behind the belief that progressive leadership in Washington, DC will improve our lives here in Manhattan.
Biggest Share of the Biggest Donors
Of the top 20 largest institutions represented by contributors to the Obama campaign, 7 were Manhattan institutions. In nearly all cases, the donors were employees of these Manhattan institutions. On that list were Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Columbia, Skadden Arps, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Time Warner. http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638
There is good reason to be proud of our borough and how it helped give the President Elect the wings he needed to soar above his opponent and reshuffle the electoral map. If there were a prize for most valuable county in this presidential race, the winner would be Manhattan, and we are not arrogant to expect (perhaps, even to demand) that our county will be treated with the respect it deserves by the new administration. We are the world's political capital and the world's financial capital, and, for Barack Obama, we provided the financial capital to make history.
Photos of Victory
I found the election night photos of President Elect Obama, Vice President Elect Biden and their families arresting and poignant. It is easy to be cynical and skeptical in the 21st Century, and the 44th President is a flawed human being like all of us, but the controlled joy and earnest sense of determination that one sees in the election night behind-the-scenes photos of the November 4, 2008 victory tell me that a special and elevated level of inspired (and inspiring) leadership is at hand for our nation. Manhattan Viewpoint recommends these photos to all who love our great country and wish the best for our new leader. http://www.flickr.com/photos/barackobamadotcom/sets/72157608716313371/show/
The pictures will encourage your spirit and make you more hopeful and more committed to help our new leaders in the difficult tasks that now lay before him - no longer as a candidate, but rather as the leader of the free world.