Politics

Of Election Models, Hanson’s, & 1980 vs 2004

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By David Beilstein 

COMBATING media horse apples and Republican uneasiness concerning the upcoming 2012 election, Victor Davis Hanson over at National Review’s The Corner chimed in on election models. Hanson makes several insightful points worth digging into. It’s a rebuke to the conventional thoughts concerning what I call the 49-49% paradigm (America divided) of the Bush election year nail biters. Hanson does not mention my theory of course (all about me), but his point makes my point rather nicely.

Hanson concludes, tersely enough,

The model, then, is Jimmy Carter’s 1980 failed reelection bid that had two themes — as noted by Reagan in the debate — namely, that all sorts of uncontrollable circumstances and other bad actors were responsible for his own dismal economic record, and that Reagan was scary and would be far worse.”

I must concur. Presidential candidate Barack Obama already proved the close election nexus America found itself in throughout the Bush years is an old model. It’s over.  If Bush had lost to either Al Gore or John Kerry, both of those elections still would have been close. But 2008 changed everything. Obama won more electoral college points than either Republican or Democrat candidates in the Bush years. The closeness of those elections having much to do with particular minutia not at work in the upcoming 2012 election.

For my money, I actually think 2012 is going to be a replay of the Presidential Election of 1992. I see Obama going down in defeat by a comfortable margin to Mitt Romney. Comfortable to me doesn’t mean things will not be touch and go election night — they were close for a bit in 1992, remember. In the end, I think Romney totals 300 plus electoral votes.

That, of course, assumes team Romney does not stumble in the sprint to Tuesday, Nov. 6. Overall Hanson does interact well with the way in which the Obama campaign is reacting to the grist of the election. This is Carter like to the extreme. They are stonewalling like Carter did. They are unable to offer a response based on the pertinent issues. I do think George H.W. Bush also suffered this in 1992, though.

In response to Carter’s avoidance, Ronald Reagan stayed on message — that’s discipline and a campaign focused on the big picture. The worry for Republicans is can they depend on Mitt Romney being so disciplined? Normally, yes — given Mitt Romney’s life is a personification of discipline. The march to the presidency does strange things to people, however, and we have seen more than a few inspired campaigns fall into the sea.

I don’t see this happening. But until Tuesday the sixth rolls into Wednesday the seventh, and Republicans wake up to uncover no recounts — or a media jubilant of an Obama reelection — but President-elect Romney comfortably victorious with the belt of the Presidency around his waist — Republicans will be hussy in Church nervous.

This does bug me, I must admit. Democrats were pushing a much larger boulder up a steeper hill in 1992 when they nominated William Jefferson Clinton to duck under the ropes and into the political ring against Republican juggernaut George H.W. Bush. No one remembers that now because Bush Sr., lost. There was a time when that was a future, unknown — just like our upcoming election. Still, Democrats did not worry of loss even though Clinton took his time getting in the lead of then President George Herbert Walker Bush. Democrats felt victory coming, swiftly and richly — they felt it was possible — and acted like it. It was in the ambience of their mood.  In 1992, then Governor Clinton was attempting to dislodge a man who had won 426 electoral votes in 1988 and had brought troops home from the first war in the gulf with minimal causalities and 89% public approval ratings. In his election to the highest office of the land, Bush Sr., was unstoppable and had coasted in the palatial electoral wake of Ronald Reagan.

Barack Obama has never sat on such lofty a perch as George H.W. Bush did going into 1992. Bush Sr., was unpopular for the last eight months of his Presidency, thereabouts. Obama has been unpopular for at least half his presidency. Republicans have this to think about. They do not have a titan of a conservative in Mitt Romney. True. It’s not going to matter, however, because elections aren’t won because of ideology in the aggregate. What Republican leaning voters do have in Mitt Romney is a solid communicator (evidenced during the RNC) and a man severely competent and accomplished where  Obama is incompetent and absent accomplishment. Add to these intangibles Obama’s lousy record, and the math is obvious baring unforeseen events.

Think about it: Romney is the kind of candidate Americans typically elect to the Presidency.

None of this means Romney will be a President of these United States to write home about. It does not mean he will win reelection, either. What it does mean, all things being equal, — baring slips and falls — Romney will beat Obama comfortably.

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