Editorial: Sandy could tip the balance

 

Share
Related Topics

Given the widespread devastation, it is no surprise that the Obama administration has designated Hurricane Sandy a "major disaster". The "superstorm" – the largest in the Atlantic since records began in 1851 – beat a path nearly 1,000 miles wide across one of the most populous parts of North America, winds of more than 80 miles-per-hour spreading destruction from Massachusetts to the Carolinas.

In the aftermath, swathes of major urban areas, including Manhattan and Atlantic City, were under water. A record 4m storm surge in New York left a vast tanker beached on a Staten Island street. As many as 50 million people are estimated to have been affected, and millions of homes are without power, and are likely to remain so for many days yet.

Mercifully, the death toll is, thus far at least, relatively low, given the severity of the storm. The efforts of the US authorities at all levels – in evacuating more than a million people, in closing down public transport networks, and in counselling extreme caution without stoking public panic – must take some of the credit, as must the good sense of the citizenry in following such advice.

So far, politicians have resisted the temptation to try to capitalise on the situation. Quite right. That Sandy has put a stop to election campaigning, and all but knocked next week's presidential vote out of the news, is testament to the havoc wrought. But its arrival in the final week of a neck-and-neck race cannot fail to have an impact. The question, of course, is which way the balance will be tilted?

It is Barack Obama who is in the spotlight. The opportunity to appear presidential, in a situation that may remind some sceptics of the value of government (federal and otherwise), could give the President a much-needed fillip. But there is plenty that could go wrong. And with the Democrats needing a higher turnout, the disruption alone might give Mitt Romney the boost he needs.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Ed Miliband is so scared of becoming Tony Blair he has forgotten how to communicate

Lance Price
Young Syrian refugees gather around a small fire at the Minieh camp in Lebanon  

Cameron and Obama may want to ‘destroy’ Isis, but what will they do about the growing number of refugees fleeing Iraq and Syria?

Kate Allen
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments