As an economics teacher, my students understand basic relationships between taxing and spending. If you want government services, you have to pay for it through taxes. I would say in class: “this is not rocket surgery.” Unfortunately they are not old enough to vote. Even worse, there are plenty of people who have the franchise who definitely don’t get this: independent voters.
The 2012 Election will be decided by independents. “Issues voters” or people who vote the candidates, not the party line, they have been granted legitimacy by the news media as a force in American politics. The problem: on economic issues, independent voters are illogical idiots. This is not a personal attack, as here at Nomadic Teacher, we eschew such base and lowbrow mudslinging. This conclusion is backed up by polling data on mutually exclusive positions. The fate of our election in 2012 rests in the hand of the independent voter, a voter who, on issues of economics does not understand the connection between taxation and spending.
CNN has come out with its version of the electoral landscape for the 2012 Election. The short version is that CNN has President Obama leading Mitt Romney 247-206. Key battleground states according to CNN are Florida, Ohio and Virginia. With the target at 270 electoral votes, the CNN map gives President Obama an initial advantage over Gov. Romney, but CNN’s John King indicates that the map looks much more similar to the 2000 election of Bush v. Gore. If President Obama wins either Florida or Ohio, he will win the presidency. However, Mr. King indicates that several other scenarios are possible as the Republicans and Democrats attempt to put different states in play, such as Arizona or Wisconsin.
Americans are angry. They are frustrated with the economy, health care (on both sides of the aisle), the decline of what both sides see as American values, and government in general. In 1992, Bill Clinton won with a simple phrase: “It’s the economy stupid.” But he could do it because he was charismatic. Mr. Romney spends too much time personifying himself as a swarthy, angry populist. He’s not. This only makes him appear as a contemptuous firebrand. Does he think the majority of American’s are really going to buy his William Jennings Bryan act? Firebrands don’t win elections. The former Governor is an erudite, urbane, patrician and a member of an American political dynasty. Instead of classically handsome and dignified he comes off as an old, angry (and rich) white man. Only when he plays to his strengths will he succeed as a candidate. The voters who are unhappy with President Obama are waiting for a leader. Mitt Romney does not project that type of image. Mr. Romney will define himself as a leader, and possibly win the election, only if he is able to establish policies that break from the hard-line Republicans.
The short answer is yes. Although the Republican base is less than excited about Mr. Romney as a candidate, the Party’s enthusiasm to see the defeat of President Obama may be enough to carry the GOP to victory. Mr. Romney could very possibly win the Presidency. However, he has several obstacles ahead of him in the coming months, the primary obstacle being the state of the Electoral College.