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2012 is not decided yet.

lizpolaris's picture

President Clinton relied on an analysis of "The Keys to the White House" by Prof. Lichtman in deciding whether or not to run in 1992. The analysis showed that a charismatic newcomer could defeat the incumbent. I believe we are in the exact same situation now.

Prof. Lichtman's theory involves evaluating 13 key factors - if an incumbent has 7 or more of them in his favor, he will be reelected. Lichtman's ideas are relevant because he's correctly predicted the outcomes of presidential elections since 1984. According to the professor, Obama is a shoo-in for 2012 because he would be awarded 9 of 13 'keys' needed to be elected.

However, I beg to differ.

When I asked my Obama-phile husband whether he would award each key for or against Obama, the total came to only 7 of 13. The two which differed from the professor were #5 - Short term economy. My husband expects that the economy will not improve during the election. And #7 Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. While my husband agrees that some policies have changed, major change has not and probably will not occur.

If the survey of an avowed Obama fan shows a tally so evenly divided, that means that key #13 is again the one in play for this election:

Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.

Which in my book says this is the Republicans' election to win or lose. If they manage to find a candidate...

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

there will be no significant emergent party candidates, and that might be correct. But there is a distinct chance that Bloomberg will enter as an Independent, Ron Paul as a libertarian, in which case if the Greens recruit a name candidate the entire race could be thrown open. In a five way race the number of votes you would need to win would be drastically reduced.

Submitted by lambert on

He's boxed in as a D, though, right? I suppose he could challenge Bloomberg...

nasrudin's picture
Submitted by nasrudin on

Cobb's "safe states" (read: pro-DLC) strategy finally turned them into a DP auxiliary, which means they lost (as intended) a lot of ballot access, and much of their most active membership. The Medea Benjamin et al-led, Dem-funded blitz in '04 put the finishing touches on wrecking that party, and there are no stirrings of recovery yet. Even those few who remain committed to their platform, seem to be completely cowed by their experience of Dem/"liberal"/"progressive" attack from 2000-2004.

Submitted by lambert on

And it sure is funny how ruthless and effective the Ds could be in dealing with Greens, and yet "weak" when dealing with Rs. Why would that be?

I kinda had Medea Benjamin classified in the "OK" category because of Code Pink, but did I miss some history there?

I would really like to hear more about this history. Anybody?

nasrudin's picture
Submitted by nasrudin on

for starters:

David Cobb and Medea Benjamin: Losers of the Left
http://www.pressaction.com/news/weblog/f...

Green House Party Gasses
Medea Comes Clean; Cobb Stays Dirty
http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/09/09/m...

Green Party Shifts Into Reverse:
A Report from Milwaukee
http://www.greens.org/s-r/35/35-14.html

The Demise of the Green Party
http://www.greens.org/s-r/35/35-14.html

Rigged Convention, Divided Party: How David Cobb Became the Green Nominee Even Though He Only Got 12 Percent of the Votes
http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/08/07/h...

Submitted by lambert on

Reading that last link, it looks like Cobb used the Green equivalent of caucuses followed by insider rulings that gave him delegates where he didn't have votes.

I don't know if Obama's team followed that playbook, or whether they had their own, but it looks like the same play. And now I can understand a lot better why the national Greens have problems. Was this ever confronted and talked out?

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

mired in the lose/lose political football antics we have in this country now.. i admit to wondering about the Coakley effect (no shows) and specifically about the youth who were so enthusiastic last time around... whether they will show up, much less raise spirits during the campaign. I would expect the campaign to do it's best to make things look that way. It's a matter of whether the youth feel betrayed by O.... if so, he and D's at large may have lost many of them for a generation. (which, imo, would be a good thing).

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

My husband expects that the economy will not improve during the election.

I'm a bit surprised the professor didn't pick up on that one. What in the world makes him think things will improve at all markedly in the next year or so? Europe's a mess, China's been intransigent about devaluing their currency, or just about anything else regarding economics, and much of the rest of the world seems to be in the doldrums. Back here in the U.S. of A., we're about to see how things would be without the stimulus bill.

It's also interesting that your husband doesn't think Obama has made any significant change to policy. I agree with him, but so many Obama supporters still seem to think that everything he's done has been historic (OK, I exaggerate a little, but only a little). My own opinion is that he made history when he walked through the door of the White House for the first time, and that any history he's made since has been for the worse.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on


One of the wisest people I know told me the other day he believes a Donald Trump presidential run with Ron Paul as VP (or vice versa) would be "viable" at this point, given President Obama's cataclysmically low approval rating, ongoing economic unease, and a public that knows very little about the Fed, monetary policy, etc -- all they know is they are angry and want something changed.
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-a-ron...

Jessica Yogini's picture
Submitted by Jessica Yogini on

I could imagine a third-party candidate sweeping to popularity for a while, but the cycle seems to be for the bloom to come off the rose very fast.
People would support Trump-Paul, for example, as long as it meant &*^% You Obama and Perry/Romney. But when the time came for it to mean four years of President Trump, I think that would be very different.
However, a third-party candidate actually ready to fight for us would have the reverse trajectory. Harder to get off the ground and would be subject to all sorts of attacks and delegitimation from the mainstream media from the start, but wouldn't wear on people as badly.
People are angry and know that something is wrong, but how many are really willing to see how deep the rot goes and are willing to see how deep the change must go? I really don't know about that. And I don't think the biases of the MSM explain this. When people are ready to see they will, MSM or no MSM.

Submitted by Hugh on

The Obama strategy for the White House remains to get tons of money from Wall Street and bank on the public being more scared of whatever crazy Republican gets nominated than they are disgusted by Obama and his betrayals.

The sleeper event in this election is not a viable third party candidate but rather what ES says that large chunks of the electorate will stay home.

I told my brother-in-law a few weeks ago that if I won the lottery I wcould run for President and might even win. The idea wasn't about me per se. I am sure someone like me would be cut to pieces by the media. It's rather that

1) there is popular populist discontent with the two parties and the PTB (approval for where the country is is hovering near single digits)

2) the two parties are guaranteed to give us crap candidates, crap policies, and lies no matter what

3) We progressives have solutions that will work. There is the 12 word platform that lambert has conveniently placed just under the pay buttons. To these I would add, investigate Wall Street, rule of law, and fair trade now. I think too that it is a powerful message that everyone can understand and agree with that we as a nation and a people have the resources for good jobs, good education, good healthcare, good housing, and good retirements for all our citizens. People want to feel good about themselves again. They want to feel they and our country have a future. The great tragedy of our times is that we know what to do but no one will step up and do it.

nycweboy's picture
Submitted by nycweboy on

I'm skeptical of the overall "key theory" - I don't think our process can be boiled down to anything this simplistic, and I think what commenters are noting, on a meta-level, is that there are plenty of variables not dreamed of in the Professor's somewhat narrow theorizing.

All of that said, I think the idea of Republicans nominating someone "charismatic or a national hero" is pretty much out of the question, so there we are; there are plenty of scenarios in which Obama can more or less steamroll his way (again) to this election, while not necessarily being well liked, popular even with members of his own party, or leading a successful economy. As long as Republicans offer no real alternative, and the best others can do is dream of third party pipe dreams (the two most successful third party runs remain John Anderson and Ross Perot. First, tell me of any third partier who comes close to their stature. Then, tell me how they can possibly do better), then this remains Obama's election to lose... and so far, I don't see a lot of scenarios in which he's doomed.

(PS, anyone who seriously throws around Donald Trump's name ought to be dismissed out of hand; second, it's not even clear New York City, never mind New York State, would want a Michael Bloomberg presidency, and I'm pretty sure a lot of others wouldn't either. I like Bloomy well enough, but I'm hard pressed to see how the kind of angry lefty economic types around here would find an oligarchic plutocratic CEO with a messiah complex to be an improvement.)