Skip to Content

Presidential Election of 2008 Facts and Outcome

The Presidential Election of 2008 was significant for many reasons, but the primary reason was the Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Barack Obama was the first Black Presidential candidate in the history of the United States and had rode a wave of momentum through the primaries that only continued to snowball. 

The 2008 Presidential election came after the disastrous recession in the real estate market which caused many Americans to lose millions of dollars, mortgaged companies and even large corporations received government bail outs which infuriated much of the public, and George W. Bush had declined in popularity since 2004.

The Republicans would have a tall order to succeed in 2008 as there were many things against them, but the election would begin a change in the party when many of its constituents began to pivot and move away from what was known as establishment Republicans. This movement began slowly, but would see a surge in 2010.

After a somewhat difficult primary the Democrats and Republicans decided on their candidates. 

They were as follows:

Republicans: John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin

Democrats: Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden


Republicans: George W. Bush was unpopular due to the housing market collapse so many Republicans tried to distance themselves from him. John McCain won the primaries, and although McCain was a well-respected and high-class individual he lacked charisma and was viewed as a moderate Republican. Many Republicans were reluctant to support him, however his campaign began to surge with the nomination of Sarah Palin to his ticket. Palin became a popular figure and lightning rod in the media. She would begin to take many personal attacks, including her family. However she did breathe life into a dying campaign. Polls showed Obama’s lead tightening, but his charisma and turnout would prove to be difficult to beat. The Republicans would try to run on straight talk and common sense.

Democrats: After defeating Hillary Clinton in the primary, Barack Obama led a campaign of Hope and Change and would catch the eye of many Americans. While his policies would be somewhat controversial i.e. redistribution of wealth and national healthcare, his message of unification as powerful. During the debates Barack Obama came across as intelligent and sensible and his passionate speeches across the country would lead to large crowds a much more positive media coverage. He was a media darling and took many different types of interviews which helped him reach a broader audience. The only significant bump in the road for him was the Jeremiah Wright controversy and a comment he made to Joe the Plumber.


John McCain ran a classy campaign and the 2008 Presidential Election was one of the more civil elections. There were moments that John McCain would not allow those in his audience to personally attack Barack Obama and there were moments that Barack Obama would not allow those in his audience to attack Sarah Palin. 

While many believed that there were many opportunities missed by the McCain campaign to exploit some of Obama’s weaknesses it probably would not have mattered. Barack Obama’s charisma, support from the Black community, and the crisis brought on by the 2008 housing collapse would be too hard to overcome for the strongest Republican candidate let alone a weaker candidate such as John McCain who had a hard time getting supports from his base.

The end result was an electoral landslide in which Barack Obama carried 365 electoral votes to John McCain’s 173 electoral votes. This would include the important state of Florida.

Barack Obama would go on to become the first black President in the history of the United States thus bringing in an new era. His inauguration would set record crowds and he would deliver a strong speech trying to unite the country.

However, there was a grassroots movement that was beginning to change the Republican party which wanted smaller government and not a government takeover of healthcare. Barack Obama would eventually lose both the House and the Senate by the end of his first term.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.