By 10 am Eastern Time on Thursday, it was clear that President Barack Obama’s flagship project was going to stand.
Five judges on the Supreme Court, led by a Republican nonetheless, had decided Obamacare, or at least its cornerstone, is constitutional.
“Democrats breathe a sigh of relief; GOP breathes fire” the headline in The Kansas City Star declared Friday.
Political watchers are still analysing the decision- and there is a lot to analyse- as the Republicans wonder how and why Chief Justice John Roberts Jr sided with the liberal wing of the highest court of the land they call free.
Some political pundits say that had it overturned Obamacare- whose foundation stone is a requirement for every person to have health insurance or pay a tax- it would have been a crushing blow for Obama’s bid for re-election.
The extent to which it affects the November election is a matter of debate. Like its Kenyan counterpart, the Supreme Court is the court of last recourse.
Its decision is final and binding to all 300 million Americans. It is also mostly controversial, and the Obama campaign is smarting from one made by the same court in 2010.
It is simply known as the Citizens United case and is a study on the extent of the freedom of speech.
Citizens United is a conservative non-governmental organisation that wanted to show an unflattering film on Hillary Clinton as she sought the Democratic ticket for the 2008 elections.
The Federal Elections Commission was opposed to the idea, there were laws against that kind of thing and the matter ended up in court, where the regulatory body won, and the NGO appealed.
The film was not shown on TV, as the NGO wanted, but the case ended up in the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in elections.
Doing so would infringe on freedom of speech- and human rights are highly valued in America. By categorizing a corporation as a group of individuals and making it possible for them to spend their money on campaigns without a limit, the Citizens United case is said to have revolutionised political spending.
Today, they pour their money into Political Action Committees (PACS), which are independent of the candidate’s team.
The big ones are known as Super PACS and according to Dave Johnson of Slate, a magazine, 54 per cent of their money is spent on the opposition-mostly negative advertising.
The New York Times reports that since the presidential campaigns began Super PACS have spent $117 million. Restore Our Future, which supports Romney, has used $57.9 million, while the Obama-supporting Priorities Action has expended $17.4 million.
If the Obama campaign’s emails to his supporters are to be believed, the President is trembling.
“I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.
“I'm not just talking about the super PACs and anonymous outside groups -- I'm talking about the Romney campaign itself,” Obama said in an email last Tuesday.
Juliana Smoot, his deputy campaign manager, was more direct. “If we're drastically outspent in this election, there's a very good chance we will lose to Mitt Romney. This is a distinct possibility.”
The common line at the bottom of the emails from which these are taken is a request to send a donation to the Obama for America campaign.
It makes it easy to dismiss it as a ploy to get into the supporters’ wallet, but recent events suggest he has reason to sound desperate.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Romney and the Republican National Committee raised $77 million to the $61 million by Obama and the Democratic National Committee in May.
In 2008, Obama became the first candidate from a major party to opt out of the public funding system, where the government gives the campaign money but then imposes limits to how it can be spent.
It allowed him to raise and spend an estimated $750 million on his way to the White House. With the troubles that have beset his presidency, some major Democratic donors are said to be less enthusiastic about him.
A falling out with the businessmen on Wall Street hasn’t helped. The LA Times suggested there are also more wealthy people willing to fight Obama on Romney’s behalf.
“The former Massachusetts governor does have one significant advantage, however: an array of outside groups that are poised to spend hundreds of millions on their own to defeat Obama, vastly outpacing their liberal counterparts,” the paper said.
Mr Ngirachu is on a training programme in the United States under the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships.