2012 Presidential Elections – Who Wins the White House?

By YeOldeScribe ~ April 22nd, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

We at Political Progressives are proud to present the 50th post in our history! Thanks to you, our wonderful readers, we’ve been providing the world with a progressive’s viewpoint on the day’s political issues for almost two months now. We’re looking forward to the next 50 posts and beyond. In fact, we promise to keep writing every weekday until people stop showing up to read our posts or our writer is incapable of writing anymore. We don’t anticipate either of those things happening anytime soon though, so here’s to you and us – the Political Progressives Family!

If you need a moment before we jump into the serious stuff here, we understand.

Today at Political Progressives, we’re deciding who will inherit the Presidency after the 2012 elections. Well, kind of. We don’t actually just submit our winner and it magically happens (we wish). But we’ve already theoretically picked a winner for the Republican Nominee in Mitt Romney, and we firmly believe that Obama will get his party’s nomination. (There’s some crackpot theories out there that say Obama could be denied the nomination for his party. Not gonna happen, folks.) So since we’ve got the theoretical battlefield set, let’s start this theoretical fight and see who comes out on top? (Theoretically, of course.)

First, we want you to take a look at a chart we previewed to you yesterday. In case you need the link again, here it is. Yesterday, we had you focus on the Republican Nominees section of the chart. Today, we’re going to take a look a bit further down on the chart at the General Election section. Some interesting stats there. First, just looking at the colors, it’s dominated by Obama. But if you take a closer look at the actual poll numbers, the results are even more staggering. Since the Mid-Term Elections, Obama has only “lost” in two theoretical matchups, both to Romney (and both well within common error margins). Huckabee ties Obama twice, but never usurps him. That puts him at 50-2-2. I don’t care what sport you play, but if your team would win 50 games while losing two close ones and tying twice, you’d die from euphoria. Counting the ties as losses, that’s a 93% win ratio. Discount the ties and his win percentage skyrockets to an absurd 96. In other words, Obama would win a little more than 19 out of 20 times. In case you haven’t been to Vegas lately, those are good bettin’ odds, folks.

Second, while we stand by our assessment that the moderate vote will be crucial to this election, it’s equally important to garner support from your own party. Doing so was critical to Dubyah’s success in 2000 but most notably in 2004 when a huge number of people voted on “moral issues” which meant millions of Bush votes. To be fair here, both sides have pissed off their base. Obama essentially told Democrats they weren’t going to get everything they (and he) wanted in the budget and that they would have to compromise on it. In the lame duck session, he negotiated a couple of key concessions from his own party to get important legislation taken care of. And Obama has also said that he’d be willing to look at things like Health Care Reform, Social Security, and other entitlement programs. Yet at the same time, for every time Obama upset Democrats, he appeased them almost immediately, if not sooner. For every concession he made in the waning days of 2010, he also got back a lot too. And while he’s put a lot on the table in terms of balancing a budget, he’s also taken a lot off – like most of the stuff Republicans are pushing for. In short, Obama may not be the most popular man in the Democratic party, but he’s close. You can’t deliver as many successes as Obama has and be mad at him if he’s in your party. Romney, on the other hand, is currently an embarrassment to the Republican base for his health care reform law in Massachusetts. In terms of those who bleed Republican (because “bleed red” didn’t seem like a good metaphor), Huckabee should be the candidate because he’s 150% Republican where as Romney is only maybe 75%.

Even with the independents, Obama scores big. For his first two years in office, it was his way or the highway, and he and his Democrats passed many pieces of legislation that way. But voters sent Obama a message loud and clear last November: Shape up or we’re shipping you out. The turnaround in Obama’s attitude was immediate. He didn’t even wait for the new Republicans to take office before re-discovering some of his campaign magic when he had what could be one of the most productive lame duck sessions of Congress ever. And his negotiating on the FY 2010 budget was nothing short of a miracle. Both sides were doing nothing but telling the media how far apart they were. Then they’d go and visit with Obama and the gap wouldn’t be so wide anymore. Eventually, the gap went away, and Obama negotiated a truce that puts the Versailles Treaty to shame. His addressing the future of the Federal Deficit couldn’t have come at a better time, either, and certinaly impressed independents and centrists. In the mean time, Romney has done little in politics. While he’s written a book, he hasn’t done much else besides make speeches and such. Of course it might be better to say little than to say anything on a Fox News Channel show like Huckabee is on, but our point is if politics is really all about “what have you done for me lately”, then it’s advantage Obama.

But let’s take a look at the biggest thing in Obama’s favor: The campaign. The fact that Obama is so far ahead right now should strike fear into anyone who is poised to run against him. Remember how almost-magical his 2008 campaign was? Remember how some people seemed to contract Obama Fever for no apparent reason? The groundswell behind Obama was infectious. And wouldn’t you know it, Obama’s returning the vast majority of that team to work on his 2012 campaign? So you’ve got the team that got him into the White House back to try to keep him in it, except this time they have two years’ experience for this kind of election? That’s good news for Obama, bad news for Romney. The other bad news is that this is widely expected to be the election where one candidate spends more than $1 billion on a campaign. That number has never been told before, and there’s a chance that both sides hit it. But there’s an even better chance that just Obama does. His campaign is famous for getting support from both the common people (financially irrelevant but politically important) and affluent members of his party (which are much more financially relevant). While we’d like to think that money can’t buy elections, pretty much every study done on the issue shows it can. Did someone say Sift Boats?

Finally, even the X-factor works against Romney. Huckabee’s faith would be seen as a strength, something that he could draw power and experience from. Romney faces a different issue with his faith – a social stigma against Mormons. Whether it’s warranted or not, in 2008 when Romney would have ran against Hillary or Barack, one study (pdf) pointed out that there was “strong evidence of an internalized norm of equality for a black presidential candidate. For a woman presidential candidate the evidence suggests an established, though not internalized, social norm of gender equality. The norm of equality for religion appears to be selective. Clearly it is not currently extended to a Mormon presidential candidate.” While Romney’s done a good job of answering (and not answering) questions about being a Mormon, some people aren’t going to like him for it. He will lose votes because of his faith, no doubt about it. The bigger question is can he afford to?

The answer there is clearly no. If you’re keeping track at home, we have Obama essentially winning all five categories (polls, base, independents, money/campaign, x-factor). We actually don’t think that Obama would win in a landslide against either candidate. But we are of the opinion that no matter who the Republicans put up against Obama, they will lose. The current Commander-In-Chief just has way too much going for him right now, and he has way too powerful of a campaign machine (one that took down the Clintons, something that most thought to be impossible) to lose. We still firmly believe that Romney is the best shot the Repubs have of taking over 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But even their best shot isn’t good enough, plain and simple.

As we said earlier, we think this will be close, and a lot can happen in the next year and a half to change people’s minds. But unless something big happens, we feel that President Obama will keep his job and become the first two-term African-American president.

On Monday, we’ll take a look at other Republicans besides Huckabee, Romney, Trump and Palin, and we’ll tell you why they too will fail. Then on Tuesday we’ll cover what we think Congress might look like after 2012. Elections are fascinating, aren’t they?!

Anyhoo, a Blessed Easter to all over the weekend, and we’ll catch you on Monday!

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