Why Obama Will Win The Election
For instance, in the wake of the 2008 economic crash, Senator John McCain appeared erratic and unprepared for the job of president when he suddenly suspended his campaign, canceled a debate appearanceand inexplicably claimed that “the fundamentals of the economy [were] strong” as the banking system collapsed around him. This unusual behavior contrasted clearly with President Obama’s cool and collected response to the crisis. Thus, according to conventional wisdom, the voters of America saw, in this snapshot of the race, one candidate clearly better qualified than the other for the job of President of the United States.
Four years later, political pundits, both liberal and conservative, have identified the “defining moment” of the 2012 Presidential election as Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s hasty decision to criticize President Obama and his Administration’s reaction to recent protests in the Middle East. The protests, which resulted in the deaths of several Americans, erupted in a variety of countries in response to an amateur video portraying the Islamic prophet Muhammad in an unfavorable light. Before gathering even a basic grasp of the facts of the situation, Mitt Romney released a statement accusing President Obama of sympathizing with the terrorist perpetrators more than the actual victims of the attack. Both Republicans and Democrats quickly and appropriately condemned Romney for attempting to score political points from a tragedy completely unrelated to politics.
If President Obama is successful in November and ultimately secures a second term, the media will no doubt point back to Romney’s Middle East gaffe and call it the moment that voters decided he was not fit to serve as President. In this moment of foreign policy crisis, Mitt Romney displayed a critical lack of leadership and ability to command the nation. But specific moments in a campaign rarely directly determine the outcome. While Romney’s recent slip-up will no doubt harm his campaign, it is not likely that this single event will determine the votes of a great deal of people.
Although it makes a compelling media story to claim that Mitt Romney’s reaction to the Middle East protests represents some sort of critical turning point in the election, the simpler, less interesting truth is that President Obama has enjoyed a relatively small but consistent lead over Mitt Romney throughout the entire campaign. The amazing thing is how little the polling numbers have fluctuated, even after each party’s convention, when each candidate typically receives a small polling bounce.
The Romney campaign undoubtedly realized the static nature of the campaign. The selection of Paul Ryan represented a high-risk, high-reward pick for Mitt Romney. Ryan, largely viewed as a big-idea man in the Republican Party, brought forth a controversial budget that figured to reframe the election as a fight over the future of entitlement programs and the budget. Yet, oddly enough, the Ryan pick has still yet to move the polls much in either direction. Although Ryan is an extremely polarizing figure, vice-presidential nominees rarely convince people to cast a vote in one direction or another.
President Obama’s numbers have been stable for the greater part of the last year, even though Americans are still impatient with the economy and are not happy with the way President Obama has dealt with it. On the other hand, the President is immensely popular on a personal basis - voters trust him and believe in his intent to make things better. Although, logically, President Obama should be beatable based on the poor state of the economy alone, Mitt Romney has yet to enjoy a lead in the polls.
The result of this scenario is that what once looked like a golden opportunity for the Republican Party to unseat President Obama now greatly resembles an Obama re-election. Part of the blame must, of course, be assigned to Mitt Romney himself, who has failed to run an inspiring campaign. Romney is not a naturally gifted politician, and he has a tendency to look awkward when dealing with voters. He simply cannot connect with people on a basic level like President Obama has the ability to do.
Yet, it is more clearly the fault of the Republican Party for failing to produce more competent candidates worthy of challenging President Obama. Mitt Romney secured the nomination not through any great love the voters had for him, but rather because his competition resembled such circus clowns as Michele Bachmann, Hermain Cain and Donald Trump. The serious candidates in the Republican Party chose to sit out this round and save their bullets for a more winnable contest in 2016. For proof of this, look no further than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s speech at the Republican National Convention. The speech did far more to elevate Chrsitie’s own 2016 profile than it did to rally the Republican base in support of Mitt Romney.
While President Obama is certainly the acknowledged favorite at this point, the Romney campaign no doubt believes that it still has a chance, as it should. Romney is only a couple points behind the President in the polls, and crazy things have happened in American politics. But as things stand, the electoral map is not Romney’s friend. Romney is running behind the President in virtually every swing state he needs to win in order to secure the necessary number of electoral votes to unseat the President.
Barring a real game-changer, like an economic crash in Europe or an unexpected foreign policy crisis, President Obama looks increasingly likely to win his second term.
Editor's Note: Read an opposing article explaining why presidential candidate Mitt Romney will win the election here.