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2008 Presidential Debates

The 2008 Presidential elections in USA, slated to be held on 4th November, has brought several critical issues into focus. The major 2008 presidential debates range from National security and foreign policy to social issues and trade policies. Some of the most highly debated issues in connection to the US Presidential elections of 2008 is enlisted below, along with the prominent positions held in respect to them.

National Security and Foreign Policy Issues in US Election 2008
After the heinous attack of the 9/11, national security has emerged as the major concern in the American system of national governance. True to its significance, it has dominated over other issues in all subsequent elections. After the Afghan wars and the recent developments in Iraq, following the execution of Saddam Hussain, the issue of national security will predictably play a major role in determining the President for the US in the 2008 General elections.

The Democrats have generally put forward a strategy of a development of international diplomacy, with even so called enemy states. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich have all proposed a policy of major diplomatic policies to deal with the issue of national security. They have all come up with their own formulations, but the general tenor has been the implementation of a cut on the military costs, and heightening of pro-active diplomatic strategies, particularly involving nations around the problem areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. John Edwards has proposed a possible development of a modern day correlative of a NATO to promote international peace and national security. Bill Richardson has not called off the possibility of American military presence in the East, but has hinted the shift of focus from Iraq to the bordering areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he believes the Al-Qaida is still functional.

The Republicans have come up with a more aggressive foreign policy as the most effective way of guaranteeing national security. Rudy Guiliani and John McCain have both proposed for a more offensive and aggressive foreign policy to engage the troops that could be potentially harmful for the national security of the US. Mike Huckabee has proposed a diplomatic bid to engage the nations that border the problem areas, to support the American intention of carrying out the war against divisive and terrorist forces. The building of the American-Mexican border wall is also considered by many Republicans like Duncan Hunter as one of the most effective ways to ensure heightened national security.

Iraq Issue in US Election 2008
The issue of Iraq is integrally linked to the question of national security and foreign policies in the present US elections. It will not be surprising if it is a candidate's stance on the Iraq question, that more than anything else, that determines his fate in the US elections 2008. Whereas the Democrats are on the side of a systematic withdrawal of the American troops from the Iraqi soil, with the exception of Chris Dodd who supports a redeployment of troops to help in Iraq's redevelopment process, the method and the time-line for withdrawal have varied from candidate to candidate. Bill Richardson, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich are in support of immediate withdrawal, whereas Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama supports a more systematic and gradual withdrawal of forces.

The Republicans, with the exception of Ron Paul, are largely against setting any particular deadline about the withdrawal of forces. Most Republicans believe that any sudden withdrawal of American forces will only add to the anarchy of Iraq, and increase Americas vulnerability. John McCain and Duncan Hunter are strong supporters of a continuing American presence in Iraq, wheres Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo and Fred Thompson, believe in withdrawal only after the Iraqi situation is stabilized enough to allow a safe withdrawal. Ron Paul have been the only exception within the Republican Party.

Immigration Issue in US Election 2008
the immigration debate in the US is centered around two forms of diaspora. First, there are the illegal immigrants who migrate in large numbers from the neighboring countries of Mexico, Cuba and other Latin American countries. Secondly, there are the immigrants who enter as legal immigrants but overstay their visa. the total population is considered to be large enough to cause substantial pressure on the US economy and population. As migration problems usually involve complicated diplomatic issues, how to deal with these major immigration problem has quite naturally emerged as a major issue in the US Presidential elections of 2008.

Democrats have largely pushed forward a process of naturalization in dealing with the issue of migration. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, among others have presented their formulas for assimilating the immigrants. With a few exceptions like Dennis Kucinich, they have also largely supported the building of a wall across the American-Mexican border. The Republicans have taken a more strong and pro-active stance in dealing with the immigration problem. Whereas nominees like Mike Huckabee and Fred Thomson have prescribed strong steps of deportation and prosecution meted out to illegal immigrants in general, nominees like Rudi Guiliani and John McCain have laid down clear terms for social and cultural assimilation.

Trade and National Economy Issue in US Election 2008
The question of trade and national economy are believed by many to be one of the major deciding factors in the US Presidential elections of 2008. The nominees are largely disunited about the issue of international trade issues. Most Democrats, with the exception of Chris Dodd, have opposed the CAFTA-DR. The most important concern for the Democrats have been the violation of labor laws and workers rights. The Republicans have however, stressed on Free Trade, with nominees like Fred Thomson condemning any move towards a protectionist market as a defensive trade strategy. Trade with the Third World and Asian countries are also a major economic issue of the US Elections 2008.

On the tax issue, the main issue of debate is the question of taxation. While Republican nominees have vouched for more Federal control over the national economy, and also a cut on the Federal expenses, the Democrats have proposed to free the middle class of their tax burdens, by withdrawing benefits from big business houses and creation of more job opportunities. The Republicans, however, are keen to push the tax cuts put in place by President Bush.

Social and Health Issues in US Elections 2008
The democrats, particularly Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, have proposed an extensive health insurance plan to cover the health benefits for all American citizens. The Republicans, on the other hand, have proposed an increase in the private market presence, and increase the choice of the citizens and thus improve on the health conditions, and its related economy. Social Issues like abortion, Gun Laws and gay and same-sex marriages are also slated to be important social issues during the US Elections of 2008.

Third Party
Any political party in the United States other than Republican or Democratic is considered a third party or independent party. Because of the U.S. electoral system, in which most states follow a winner-take-all model, third parties do not often receive a substantial number of electoral votes. However, third party candidates are effective in another way. They often bring attention to important issues, including problems with the two main political parties, when they receive protest votes. The winning politician can then see that a significant number of constituents care about the particular issue, and can address it. Third parties can also affect election results by taking away votes from the Republican or Democratic candidate.

The main third parties in the United States are the Green Party, Libertarian Party, and Constitution Party. Other third parties include a U.S. Socialist Party, Communist Party, and Reform Party. The many third parties fall all along the political scale, from conservative to progressive, along with single-issue groups, which focus on a specific issue.

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