The 2012 Presidential Election
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Norm Blackburn
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       Had enough politics yet? Just wait, things are just heating up. Between now and November we will be deluged with the most expensive campaigns in history. Super PACs will spend more than the GNP of most countries and the TV stations will have a banner year.
       So who will win? Before that, who will be the nominees? It is a no brainer that President Obama will be nominated by acclimation. Right now it looks as if Mitt Romney will survive. Maybe not, but he seems to be the only one who can give Obama a serious challenge.
       So who will win in November? It is very difficult to unseat an elected incumbent, almost impossible. It had only been done twice since World War II. Jimmy Carter and H.W. Bush both lost bids to stay in the Oval Office. They were both plagued by an unpopular war or a bad economy and had lost the support of mainstream America.
       A few months ago it looked like the poor state of the economy might undo Obama's chances. Now it seems like some of the economic indicators are showing improvement and the Republicans are looking for another issue. Of course, if the jobless rate goes back up and gas prices don't go down, the president will have to defend his fiscal policies.
       Romney has to run on more traditional platforms. Can he convince voters that the Obama policies of wealth redistribution and national health care are not in our best interests? Will the basic conservative tenants, both social and economic be easy to sell?
       No one knows the answers to these questions yet. But I submit that Obama has the edge. He has a large base of registered Democrats including union members, blacks, Latinos, young people and people looking for relief from government as well as lifelong liberals. Many of these groups are well organized all across the country. He also has huge financial backing with a reported billion dollars waiting to be spent. And, some say, he has a sympathetic press that will present him in a positive way. His task is to get these people out on voting day.
       So what will it take for Romney to win? He also will have a large campaign chest and he has a good reputation for being a business leader who knows how to solve fiscal problems. He is good looking, has a nice wife and apparently no skeletons in his closet. Religion won't be a real issue among voters. Still Romney has a long list challenges. He has to convince the electorate that he can lead the nation to prosperity and show international leadership. He has to demonstrate that he can be tough on terrorism and sympathetic on the plight of the poor. He must overcome the view that Republicans are only interested in helping big business and the rich. Not an easy task.
       However, I submit that the presidential election is not the most important election in November. The party that controls the House and the Senate will make more of a difference to the future of our country. If the Democrats keep the White House and win both houses of Congress we may be in for a many years of social readjustment. If the Republicans win it all we will see a serious change in the way government interacts with the individual. If the elected president does not have the support of either house we may see a stalemate.
       I wonder what we will be talking about in October? Stay tuned and stay aware. We will be deciding the future of our country.