With the race between Barack Obama
and Mitt Romney proving to be a tight race, the conventional wisdom is that Obama has the advantage in the electoral college map and will win in a close one. Or, that blue state firewall will start to crack and Romney could squeak by. Either way, the race will be close one, right?
I used to think that only a month ago, but now I am convinced Romney will win by eight to 10 percentage points. It is looking like 1980 all over again.
During the 1980 election a well-meaning but unpopular incumbent was fighting for his political life against a man that many were scared of electing into office. But poor Jimmy Carter could not catch a break and Ronald Reagan expressed a sunny, aw-shucks optimism that millions reviled, but far more saw as reassuring, comforting and endearing. Inflation and Iran eventually did Carter in, as did a pair of debates where Reagan showed he could be in charge, poised and in control. And Carter suffered an incumbent president’s worst defeat since Herbert Hoover was obliterated by FDR in 1932.
The same will happen this fall. Democrats are crying foul for a number of reasons: the Koch Brothers
, Citizens United
and recalcitrant Republicans in Congress who oppose everything Obama puts forward. They are all valid points; Democrats have a history of caving just enough to help Republican presidents pass their agendas while Republicans have united against anything Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama, stand for. But while Republicans are skilled at uniting behind their man or woman, Democrats do a marvelous job at eating their young.
But the stubborn facts remain that too many people are still out of work, under employed or over worked from trying to scrape by month after month. The country has rung up massive deficits since 2001 and the long term prognosis of this nation’s economic fundamentals are grim. The Euro crisis
could come close to a meltdown, which could, or could not, affect our economy adversely. And the Middle East may become a geopolitical tinderbox once again.
The options are limited. Austerity is the current economic medicine touted as the solution, but the fact is that government spending, whether in military outlays, much needed infrastructure projects or investment in science and technology, spurs growth. That sure is not happening. And voters are frustrated.
Mitt Romney is probably one of the most unpalatable candidates ever nominated by either party, but then again, the same was said about Reagan and Clinton, and both won handily. The fact that he seems to run more to please his father than actually offer real solutions, however, does not really matter. And whatever you think about his personality, and penchant for flip-flopping at a pace that would make John Kerry blush, those complaints are besides the point. The fractious Republican primary is long over and the GOP has rallied around its choice.
Meanwhile the Democrats are in disarray, and they can point fingers all they want, but as the old saying goes, a fish rots from the head first. Instead of focusing on jobs, Obama and his team passed a Republican-derived health care plan that was a copy of Romney’s--only for some unexplained reason it was never pitched to the public as such. A man leading two wars, even if they were not started by him, should have surprised the troops on holidays (as Bush II had) instead of flying to Hawaii for Christmas. And while the Republicans have been obstructionist, the president could have better communicated how he was co-opting Republican policies, not running away from them. Recent moves on gay marriage and immigration may energize some of the base, but they are too little, too late.
When Americans are unhappy, they will vote with their pocketbooks and go with someone who is untested and even mistrusted. It happened in 1980, 1992 and with a freshman Illinois senator in 2008. Watch for the Democrats’ firewall on the Pacific coast, upper Midwest and Northeast to crumble. The South will go solidly Republican once again. Oregon will go to Romney in a squeaker; Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Iowa will go red; and Obama can say goodbye to Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Maine. The electoral map will look a lot more like 1988 than 2000 or 2004. And as goes the Romney landslide, so will the Senate, with pickups in Hawaii, Virginia, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Connecticut, Nebraska and Florida. I predict Romney will win with 370 votes in the Electoral College and Obama winning 168, with some states including Minnesota and Washington only going for Obama in a squeaker.
But in the long run, all is not lost. The Tea Party
will be emboldened and demand that their agenda ramps up into hyperdrive, and Romney will have to cater to its every whim as the Republicans shift even further to the right
. The hard choices over entitlements will only become more difficult, and a baby boomer generation deeper into retirement will become furious at the mere notion of a cut to their benefits. Most likely we will see the rare phenomenon of two consecutive one term presidents as Hillary Clinton, or Andrew Cuomo
, wins the 2016 election that will look like 1992 or 2008. Memories in politics are often short. But the long term effects, as in changes to the Supreme Court despite the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Obamacare, will last generations, and that is what should scare Democrats and their minions this election cycle.
What do you think? Create you own Electoral College scenario here and let me know on Twitter.
Image courtesy ABC News.
This is how Mitt Romney will win the 2012 Presidential election in a landslide