Polarization in America (03:39)
President Barrack Obama and Donald Trump had their first meeting two days after the election; the differences between their supporters and ideologies were stark. Obama came to the White House hoping to change the country, but he left the presidency with the nation even more divided and angry.
Obama's Road to Candidacy (04:31)
Obama became an Illinois senator in 2005 and was already a political celebrity in America, considered to be the future of the Democratic Party. Obama's mentor, former Majority Leader Tom Daschle, urged him to run for the presidency. Iowa was the test to see if white American's would respond to an African American presidential candidate; his message to the people of Iowa was that America was not a nation divided by race.
Reshaping the Republican Party (06:39)
Republican Senator John McCain surprised the country by declaring his running mate would be Alaska governor Sarah Palin; this was a turning point for the Republican party because she turned into a right-wing grassroots populist. Some people believed she represented a group of Americans who were often forgotten in Washington, but many others felt she was not intellectually qualified to hold her position.
Conversations About Race (06:27)
Following the sensationalism of a controversial message spread by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's long-term pastor, Obama's message that America could rise above its divisions was threatened. Michael Eric Dyson, author of "The Black Presidency," talks about Obama's well-received speech about race, which many supporters hoped was the opening of a conversation. McCain believed and followed the old rules of politics and was unwilling to disgrace Obama's image.
2008 Recession and Bailout (12:11)
A catastrophic collapse on Wall Street that left the housing market completely devastated lead to another change in the campaign process; Secretary Hank Paulson and the Bush Administration were calling candidate Obama claiming they were in need of his support. The government attempted to authorize a 700 billion dollar bailout of the banks on Wall Street, known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act; the American public was outraged.
Obama Inauguration and Republican Future (07:36)
Obama was elected and inaugurated as the first African American President of the United States before a crowd of over a million people. Following the ceremony, a group of elite GOP leaders met across town to devise a plan to combat the president.
Fighting for Bipartisan Support (06:55)
Obama wanted Congress to pass a massive spending bill in order to stimulate the economy to avoid a depression in America. Having promised bipartisan decision making, Obama tried to sell his economic plan to the Republican leaders. Republicans felt the Obama Administration had ceremoniously decided they would not be involved in drafting the bill; Democrats controlled the Congress and the stimulus bill passed the house without a single Republican vote.
Corporate America (09:51)
The economic crisis and government Wall Street bailout angered the American public; the average American began to believe the entire system is rigged in favor of the wealthy. Public outcry grew as the news broke that Wall Street brokers had paid themselves bonuses with federal funds. Timothy Geithner, Obama's former Secretary of the Treasury, talks about the political decisions made following this crisis.
Healthcare in America (10:00)
Following the controversial government bailout of the banks, media discussion of "the tea party" had already begun with a comment by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli. Obama wanted to deal with the tens of millions of uninsured Americans by coaxing the Republicans into joining him. Vice President Joe Biden was ultimately opposed to moving forward with the health care plan.
Obama's Talks About Race (07:57)
Henry Louis Gates, a prominent Harvard Scholar, was arrested on the doorstep of his own home for disorderly conduct pushing Obama to again address the issues of racism in America. Ta-Nehisi Coates author of "Between the World and Me" explains how Obama was surprised by the intense negative reaction and backlash he received from the media for his criticism of the police. Following the media backlash, Obama gave a speech attempting to do damage control on the situation and refocus on the important political issues.
Response to Healthcare Reform (11:13)
The discontent vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had tapped into led to the "Tea Party Summer." Fringe groups went so far in their anti-Obama campaigns to compare him to Adolf Hitler. Health care reform became the only topic of discussion during the summer town hall meetings nationwide and bipartisanship became impossible.
Passing Healthcare Reform (12:08)
Insurance and pharmaceutical industry leaders partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to create a campaign warning Americans against the potential negative outcomes of passing health care reform. To get the bill passed in Congress, they essentially had to bribe Democratic members into voting yes. The power of the Tea Party got Senator Scott Brown into Congress and ruined the plan for healthcare reform.
Effects of Affordable Care Act (11:11)
Healthcare reform passes in the House and the entire staff from the junior members to the Vice President watches the vote and then celebrates the historical legislation together. Obama was able to get the legislation passed without a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate. The Tea Party movement was fueled by the political divide demonstrated by the passing of the healthcare reform; Palin returned to the political sphere as the voice of the Tea Party movement.
Credits: Divided States of America (01:02)
Credits: Divided States of America
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