One Year Out

The presidential election is one year away.  What are we talking about?  Is Herman Cain a heinie-pincher?  Was Rick Perry drunk at the podium in New Hampshire?  Can Barack Obama win re-election?  For the answer to number three, see questions one and two.

Just like global warming, we’re getting used to this crap and we don’t even notice it.  It’s the effect of the 24 hour news networks, blogs (yeah, this one too) and twitter.  The entertainment business has taken over America, including our body politic.

The platforms of Republicans, either in office or just wanting, are so detached from reality that we may as well spend our time wondering whether and who Mr. Cain hit on 15 years ago as pay attention to his 9-9-9 tax plan or hear him mocking the names of Central Asian nations.

So here’s my prediction: Obama wins re-election by less than ten points, probably less than five.  Hold me to this.

Here’s why:

1 – The Republican field is now closed.  The early primaries (10 January in New Hampshire) are now too close for a new candidate to enter the race, both in terms of filing deadlines and fundraising, assembling a staff, introducing one’s self to the public, etc. etc.  One of the nine candidates now in the race (can you name them all?*) will be the nominee.

2 – The nominee will be Mitt Romney.  Strange, but true.  The only other candidate who might have had a chance was Rick Perry, but he’s made every mistake in the book and added a chapter of his own.  This man never lost an election until now.  Sad comment on the state of Texas citizenry.

(The Iowa Electronic Markets, which allow people to mix politics and gambling, have Mr. Romney running away from the pack in both Iowa and the national GOP vote.  These markets have been fairly accurate in past elections.)

3 – The stay-at-home voter.  Second prediction: low-turnout in 2012.  Mr. Obama has disappointed many sections of his base.  They’ll stay home.  Many Republicans have had a three-year itch to vote against Mr. Obama, but come 6 November, they’ll have to put up storm windows or take a nap or just somehow never get around to going to the polls because Mr. Romney would not be the candidate if “none of the above” was a viable selection.

(The folks in Iowa have also established two markets for the general election: vote share and winner-take-all.  The Republicans are slightly ahead in the first, Democrats slightly ahead in the second.  A combination of the two jives with my Obama-by-a-nose prediction, but I’m not going by the markets, I’m going by the seat of my pants, as ever.)

I’m one of those people unhappy with Mr. Obama, the only successful presidential candidate I ever voted for.  I will not stay home next year, but I may cast my vote for an obscure third-partier, as I did in ’92 and ’96.  (I did not want Bill Clinton on my conscience.)

I have that luxury.  Mr. Obama will win Vermont’s three electoral votes and the networks will call that result by 7 p.m. Election Night.  No Republican will come here to campaign in the primary or general.  Mr. Obama will not campaign here.  No presidential candidate has visited Vermont since John McCain showed up in early 2000. (Another reason to live in Vermont!)

I went to see Mr. McCain.  He put on a good show, but in retrospect, what was then vaudeville is now Vegas.

© Mark Floegel, 2011

* Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson (yes, he’s the one you missed), Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum

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