When President Barack Obama announced the death of the country’s foremost enemy, terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden to America and the rest of the world, there were many interesting observations. Young people gathered in front of the White House gates to celebrate the fatal blow dealt to the nation’s nemesis. Political commentators spoke of a “defining moment” in Obama’s presidency. Predictably, the president’s approval ratings rose substantially, especially on the foreign policy front. In fact, political Washington was so much obsessed with talk of Obama having secured a lock on the Electoral College as a result of bin Laden’s death that Jon Stewart deadpanned and announced, “Yes, he sealed it. It’s over”.
But what started in jest seems to develop into the reality of the day. Some of you reading this may be absolutely incredulous and accuse me of being presumptuous, naive or worst of all, a partisan ignoring the realities of the recent credit downgrade, runaway debt, controversial health care debates, high unemployment and partisan gridlock in the District. Like any good attorney with a case theory, I felt I should share mine with you. I believe that whilst election 2012 will be a fairly close affair, President Obama will get reelected on the basis of a number of factors. None of these factors are of the president’s making at all. On the contrary, the president will win due to external factors. The only question, in my eyes, will be the closeness and (thus) strength of the mandate conferred upon him by the American people. So, why do I see 2012 as another Obama year?
1.) Voter Turnout
Democratic voters outstrip Republicans in most states. Most voters frequently identify themselves as independent or Democrat. Additionally, and that’s something that is being forgotten all the time, the mid-term congressional elections had a dramatically lower turnout than the 2008 or 2004 elections. The 2012 election turnout, with the White House and control of both houses of Congress at stake, will be well above 65 percent, thus reducing the influence of the Tea Party movement as a real numerical factor in the presidential election.
2.) Split Republicans
Don’t believe the Republican self-motivation talk. The party is split, veering between compromise and satisfying the demands of a vociferous, radical right wing that makes Pat Buchanan look like a benign centrist in comparison. The recent debate on raising the debt ceiling is a perfect exposition of this: Speaker Boehner showing signs of compromise, Mitch McConnell’s convoluted (and obviously partisan) ploy to confer authority to President Obama, the quirky (but nonetheless unrealistic and economically irresponsible) “Cut, Cap & Balance” plan. The GOP is torn, split and a house divided. Even after Perry entering the race, there are those who are clamoring for a candidacy by Chris Christie or Paul Ryan.