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FINALLY, the toughest and perhaps the most costly and divisive presidential campaign in the United States of America in many decades climaxed last evening with all leading major opinion polls forecasting a very tight outcome, varying from a likely dead heat to a slight victory margin for the incumbent Democrat Barack Obama over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. This scenario sharply contrasts with what obtained during the primaries when Romney was struggling to play “catch-up” with the popular Obama, the first African American ever to be elected President in the history of the United States in November, 2008. But some of the crucial factors that contributed to writing such a glorious history in a superpower nation with a proud record in sustaining democratic governance are still very much in the mix, most relevant being the decisive votes of the non-white minorities. In what is often referenced as a “rainbow nation” of peoples of varying hues and ethnicities with whites in the majority, the votes of the minorities were identified as being most beneficial in ensuring Obama’s triumph over his then Republican challenger Senator John McCain in 2008. Reckon those decisive ballots that tipped the scale in Obama’s favour as having been cast by minorities comprising black Americans, Hispanics and Asians, and among them, most decidedly, would have been those of the Caribbean diaspora. They combined to make the significant difference when tallied against the millions of white voters, Democrats and Republicans, who had become more than exhausted with the Republican era of the Bushes (father and son), military wars, spreading unemployment and economic recession. The Republican multimillionaire Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, cleverly sought to turn the table on the charismatic Obama during the hectic campaigning across the nation (at an estimated cost of some US$2.6 billion), by pointing to his failures to provide promised jobs and effectively deal with the economic recession. However, while his campaign strategies, and a first-round win in three live televised debates clearly energized the Republicans, especially the ideological right wing base, analyses and projections offered by recognized experts and established research institutions continued to point to Obama’s advantage in securing both popular support of the ethnic minorities along with an edge in electoral college votes. Assuming all goes well, and no repeats of the shocking electoral malpractices that characterized the 2000 presidential battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore, Barbadians and fellow citizens of the Caribbean Community and the world over, will simply accept the expressed will of the American electorate in their choice between a second-term President Obama and the first-time Republican contender Romney. Above all else, it is today’s poll that counts. Let it be fair; let it be peaceful. Obama, stoic in a gruelling campaign against a feisty, confident Romney, has betrayed no doubts about securing a second four-year term.