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2008 Election Strategies

In the 2008 American Presidential Election the conceptualizations of class offered by Barack Obama and John McCain respectively roughly aligns with the liberal and conservative views of social issues. From a distributional approach, conservatives accept the natural inequality that free market capitalism produces which manifests itself in different social classes. From a cultural approach, liberals reject inequality, viewing social classes as arising from systemic bias in social institutions that prevent certain groups having access to opportunities for upward mobility. John McCain's conceptualization of social class during the 2008 Presidential Election is akin to the distributional and conservative framework, while Barack Obama's conceptualization adheres to the liberal and cultural framework. These models of social class adopted by the respective presidential candidates will be the focus of this analysis. The role of class-based interest groups in presidential politics will also be addressed. A conclusion will determine which presidential candidate's model of social class is more valid.

Barack Obama's conceptualization of class stems from his view that aspects of culture like social institutions are flawed in that they advantage some groups and disadvantage others. In this he adopted what Martin (2) calls a "focus on identity politics, based on race, gender and sexual orientation." In this sense, formerly marginalized groups of the lower socioeconomic classes view Obama as someone who will work to narrow the gulf between rich and poor. In labeling the real culprits of the middle class squeeze "a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interest; economic policies that favor the few over the many" (Martin 2). Clearly Obama is adopting a cultural and liberal conceptualization of class, seeing the low...

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2008 Election Strategies. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:00, June 16, 2019, from