Will The Economy Alone Decide The 2012 Election?

Barack Obama said in a recent interview that he will be judged by the state of the economy and whether things are getting better. Normally that would be expected, but we need voters to look at far more than just the state of the economy. Unfortunately, both for Obama’s reelection prospects and for the country, Republicans made such a mess of things that nobody could have fixed them in just four years. Towards the end of the Bush administration, I was predicting it could take a whole generation to undo all the damage that was done.

In order to win, Obama needs voters to remember who it was that made a mess of the economy, and question whether a return to similar policies is a good idea. Voters need to look at how the Republicans in Congress used their power to increase unemployment (the inevitable result of their spending cuts), prolong the recession, and caused Standard and Poor’s to reduce the credit rating of the United States, triggering a crash in the stock market. Of course to benefit from this Obama must reduce his emphasis on compromise with Republicans and stress their differences (which there are signs he plans to do).

While, baring some other unexpected event, the economy will dominate the election, Obama must also try to expand this playing field. While the economy generally impacts voters more than social issues, it is a different ball game when the Republicans are promoting the extremist views of the religious right, and have become the party of outright opposition to science and reason. In 2008 a handful of candidates outright admitted that they do not believe in evolution. Belief in creationism is increasingly becoming the norm for the GOP. While such scientific ignorance remains far too high in the United States, over the last decade belief in creationism in the overall population has fallen.

Going by past measures of incumbents running for reelection when the economy is doing poorly, we would expect Obama to lose. However, never before has a major political party had so many leading candidates who are outright bat-shit crazy. No matter how bad the economy is, it is hard to conceive of serious people voting for candidates such as Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann.

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  1. 1
    John Sonntag says:

    Will The Economy Alone Decide The 2012 Election, or will voters avoid candidates who are bat-shit crazy? #p2 #topprog http://t.co/vB7Bi0N

  2. 2
    Ryan Nishizaki says:

    Although the economy does play a huge role in determining an elections outcome, a candidate’s political actions and stances ultimately have the most effect on a voter’s decision. Our country’s current economic state does not present a valid enough reason to automatically assume that Barrack Obama would not be able to compete in the elections if he were to run against opponents that were not “bat-shit crazy.” Obama’s generally neutral and moderate decisions throughout his presidency will ultimately benefit him, since most people will see him as moderate, level-headed politician who is willing to reach out and compromise in the midst of bipartisan conflicts. I think that this view would guarantee Obama the votes of most Democrats, as well as some votes from moderate Republicans if he were to run against moderately tempered candidates, while still taking into account the economy’s status. Obama would definitely have a fighting chance at reelection, even without factoring his current opponents into the equation. Therefore, one should judge a politician based solely on his or her political decisions and stances, rather than the state of the economy and the actions of his or her opponents.

  3. 3
    J. H. says:

    Will The Economy Alone Decide The 2012 Election, or will voters avoid candidates who are bat-shit crazy? #p2 #topprog http://t.co/vB7Bi0N

  4. 4
    John Sonntag says:

    RT @ronchusid: Will The Economy Alone Decide The 2012 Election? #p2 #p21 #topprog http://t.co/cjkoe5x Voters need 2 be made of sterner stuff

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