Predicting the Politically Unpredictable in 2012

2012 will see liberal extremism leading the way for wins by Romney and Republicans and  losses for Obama and Democrats, and an  electoral college decision that leaves the left more disgusted than ever.

Bookmark and Share   When it comes to 2012, the only prediction that I am fully confident in is that the unpredictable will continue to dominate and shape politics.  It always has and always will.  Be it unanticipated scandals, of the real or manufactured kind, or be it the unforseen events and circumstances which are thought to be impossible realities on the national and international stage, or random personal events in the lives of  the players on those stages, it is the unexpected which will ultimately create our reality and determine that which in the future, will be history.

However, until those inevitable unknowns reveal themselves, the best each of us can do is project the logical progression of events based upon that which we do already know.  For instance, while I may not know with certainty who will win the Republican presidential nomination, I can confidently predict that if the nominee is Ron Paul, you can rest assured that a Democrat will occupy the White House come 2013.  But one need not be Nostradamus to make that prediction.  So many rational Republicans and conscientious conservatives understand that inevitability, that it makes it impossible for Ron Paul to win the Republican presidential nomination.

A bolder prediction is that come September of 2012, Mitt Romney will be making an acceptance speech at the Republican national convention.  But that too is hardly seer seeing and it should not be hard to understand why he will be the nominee.

Romney is quite a capable conservative and while there are legitimate reasons to question his conservative credentials, the facts are that you can not find anything that is not conservative about his stated vision for America.  The only real reason he has not yet locked up the nomination is not because he is not conservative enough, but because he has not been bold enough.  It it is my hope that this will change once Romney’s lock on the nomination becomes undeniable.  At that point, I believe we might very well see Mitt Romney go from playing it safe with his longstanding Republican frontrunner status and begin taking some risks with semi-bold reform proposals designed towardsd providing  TEA movement types and the significant portion of the electorate that shares anti-establishment sentiments,  a reason to believe that Romney will, at the very least, be better for America than Barack Obama.

That leads me to my second prediction and the one that I most confident of.

Come September of 2012, Republicans and even conservatives will have a hard time remembering exactly why the dislike Romney so much.  Many will still be too stubborn to admit that they like Romney, but by the time the Republican convention is over, they will indeed like him.  People do not realize the magic that is a good, well run campaign, but they soon will.  Therefore I am confident when I state that Romney will be far more liked in the latter part of 2012 than he is in the earlier part.

As the groundwork for such an emergence of a new impression of Romney is laid, speculation about who he will choose as his running mate will take on a life of its own.  The undeniable reality of the value that the obvious choice, freshman Florida Senator Marco Rubio,  will dominate, but the likelihood of his willingness to be a vice presidential candidate will probably deny Romney and the G.O.P. the benefit of his place on the ticket.  This will force Mitt Romney and Republican powerbrokers to look for the next best thing.  That search will force the likes of Virginia’s Bob McDonnell, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, and New Jersey’s Chris Christie to be given serious consideration and lead to a media firestorm around their possible candidacies.

Other names that will receive vast attention will come from those who were or are still competing against Romney for the top spot on the ticket. Most of that speculation will swirl around such names as Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor and rival Tim Pawlenty, and former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Romney rival Mike Huckabee.

That will be followed by the names of individuals who were onceconsidered potential Romney rivals for the presidential nomination.

That list will include Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and South Dakota Senator John Thune.

Then there will come the dark horse contenders.

As the process of picking a runnignmate that can help Romney create the type of balanced ticket which can hammer together a winning electoral coalition entertains such factors as sex, ethnicity, and the need to attract votes in regions that Romney will need to shore up, names like Tennessee’s Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, and the darkest of all horses, Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, will all receive a good degree of attention.

In the end, I believe Rubio and Ryan will not accept the nomination, Gingrich will be passed up because of too much perceived baggage and not enough realized popularity, and the final short list will leave Romney choosing from Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Bobby Jindal, John  Thune, Susana Martinez, Bob McDonnell, and Chris Christie.  Like Rubio, Jindal will probably reject the offer and  it will most likely come down to Daniels, Thune, Martinez, and Christie.  My instincts suggest that it’s an even chance for either Thune or Martinez to win out over both Christie and Daniels.

Amidst all that drama will come the multiple fights for control, of Congress.

In time, many of the  hard fought individual fights will also take on lives of their own that will grab national headlines and influence national opinions which will ultimately keep Republicans in control of the House.

On the Senate side, I see the G.O.P. taking control by picking off three of the Democrats five most vulnerable incumbents in Michigan, Missouri, and Montana.  They could also possibly take down Bill Nelson of Florida.   Additionally, the G.O.P. will pick up 4 or 5 of the open Democrat seats, winning in Nebraska, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  A big surprise gain could also come from Connecticut where Joe Lieberman is retiring.  This means a net gain of anywhere from 7  to 9 senate seats and a solid majority of anywhere from 54 to 56 senate seats.  But before Republicans realize those gains, they will get some much needed help from the Democrats that they will fight to take that control from.

I expect several liberal candidates for the House and Senate to generate the type of attention and controversy that will energize conservatives and turn many independent and moderate candidates off and prevent them from getting caught up in any wave of enthusiasm for Democrats. The three liberal candidates who will go too far in their rhetoric and create the type of controversies that will produce a backlash against Democrats in general, are Florida’s Allan Grayson, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, and Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren.

Grayson,  a Florida liberal, was defeated  in his first attempt at reelection to the House in 2010.  In 2009, his first year in office, Grayson famously took to the floor of the House and claimed that Republicans want senior citizens to to drop dead.  A year later, Floridians told him to drop dead as they gave him the boot and elected conservative Daniel Webster to replace him.

In 2012, Grayson is trying to recapture the seat and while he will fail to do so, he will again go too far and provide fodder for Republicans to use against Democrats.

In Wisconsin openly gay Rep. Tammy Baldwin is running to replace retiring Senator Herb Kohl.  Baldwin’s homosexuality is not necessarily what will make her candidacy so controversial.  However the extremism of the loyal liberal, militant, homosexual lobby that will swoop down upon Wisconsin to influence her election, coupled with Baldwin’s own liberal extremism, will undoubtedly become the epitome of liberal lunacy in the 2012 election cycle.  As such, it will go a long way in providing conservatives with the type of material that can be used nationally as examples of how out of touch President Obama and his Party are with most Americans.

Another campaign that will generate a negative national reaction to the liberalism of today’s mainstream Democrats will be the Senate campaign of Massachusetts liberal Elizabeth Warren.

Warren will be a stereotypical socialist whose extremism will help moderate incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown stay in office for his first full six year tem in the upper federal legislative chamber.

Brown’s 2009 upset victory in the special election to replace the seat long held by Ted Kennedy and his brother before him, was an early indicator of national sentiments that revealed themselves in the 2010 general election.  However, given the ideological bend of the usually deep blue Bay State, in 2012, with an incumbent Democrat president running at the top of the ticket, Scott Brown, even as a moderate Republican, should not have much of a chance for reelection.  But thanks to two factors, he will be reelected.

One of those factors is the lack of popularity for President Obama, even in Massachusetts, and Mitt Romney’s presence on the top ticket for Republicans.  While Romney will still likely lose Massachusetts to Obama, his presence on the ticket will be enough to have a positive effect further down the Republican line.  The other factor will be Warren herself.

Like Baldwin and Grayson, Warren will go too far and become a national example of the dangers of unrestrained liberalism.  In the end, that will be enough for voters of Massachusetts to want to restrain liberal extremism by reelecting Scott Brown.

Another plus will be that Elizabeth Warren will come off as so extreme and arrogant that conservative Republicans will be willing to go out of their way to support Scott Brown over her.  Even those who believe that Brown is little more than a RINO, will find Warren to be so sickeningly left-wing that even a Republican in Name Only will be prefered to the socialism that Warren represents in every way.

On other fronts, the political atmosphere for the White House will continue to sour as circumstances involving Fast & Furious and Solyndra turn in to scandals that help establish strong evidence of the Administration’s incomptenece and lack of ethics.

The economy will also remain a main issue but it is likely to bottom out during 2012 and after four years, a resilient and innovative American population will have begin to move beyond the dismal economy that has become the economic norm under Barack Obama.  With no thanks to liberal economics and governance, the natural ability for Americans to adapt and to overcome hardship will begin to lead the way for a mild, citizen backed recovery of sorts that is based on American’s inherent ability to deal on their own with economic stagnation, high unemployment, and federal obstacles to growth.  This will not be enough to make most people feel secure enough about the economy, but it will provide enough stabilization for Democrats and President Obama to try to exploit by claiming they have guided us through the worst part of our most difficult economic times since the Great Depression.  The case will not be a strong one, but with a campaign war chest of nearly a billion dollars, it will be one that G.O.P. will have to strongly counter or else they will risk the possibility of having too many voters actually believing the claim.

But Republicans will get some help when the Bush tax cuts that Democrats caved in to extending, but for only a year, come back up for debate.  The timing during the course of the election will give Obama and Democrats the opportunity to again overplay their class warfare arguments and overextend themselves in their committment to being the Party of big government and big spending.

Then there are the supreme court cases that will help polarize the electorate and motivate both sides of the spectrum.

How the Supreme Court will rule in both the case of Arizona’s creation and enforcement of tough new state anti-illegal immigrant laws and on the new national healthcare law, will have at least a minimal effect on the election but even just a minimal effect could be enough to swing the electoral votes of critical swing states.  In the case of the Arizona anti-immigration law, a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Arizona could unleash an unprecedented mobilization  against Republicans by Hispanic voters who happen to heavily populate swing states like Colorado, Nevada, and maybe most pivotal of all, New Mexico.   ‘

In consideration of the Obama national healthcare law, a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the law, would go a long way in producing a strongly motivated anti-Obama vote in the general election and help swing critical states like Ohio and Florida to the Republicans.

The way I see it, the Supreme Court due in large part to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s own swing vote,  will rule against  Arizona’s anti-immigration laws based primarily on the argument that  it is preempted by federal law and foreign policy, and violates the Supremacy and Commerce Clauses of the Constitution.   That ruling will subsequently motivate the anti-Obama vote more than the anti-Republican vote.

On Obamacare, I am totally in the dark.  How that will go is in great doubt given Antonin Scalia’s previous interpretations of the federal commerce clause.  President Obama could actually benefit if he were to lose the case on the grounds that the national healthcare law exceeds the constitutional powers of the federal government and that it can not in fact force Americans to purchase something.   Such a ruling would remove some of the motivational momentum behind President Obama’s limited government enemies and his liberal base may become more fired up to turn out and vote for him.  Winning the case would simply be added stimulation for his opposition.  But which way Scalia and Kennedy go on that one is anyone’s guess.

While I am too unsure to go out a limb on those court cases, I am not too unsure of the outcome of the general election.

By the time the new political year begins to close this November, I do predict that the presidential election will be far closer than some may think, at least as far as the popular vote goes, but it will not necessarily be so close in the electoral college vote.

The way I see it, Republicans will have a lock on 258 electoral votes while President Obama will only have a likely 222 electoral votes readily available for him.  In between the two will be 5 undecided states with a combined total of 58 electoral votes.  Those states will be Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  The only way for President Obama to win will be by winning a combination of 4 states that inlcludes Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Those two states will be must wins.  That leaves him with three winning combinations.

For Republicans, they will have any one 4 winning combinations available to them. And two of those winning combinations do not require either Pennsylvania or Ohio.  I am  not quite sure what combination they will end up with but I am confident that they will win with at least 272 electoral votes and possibly as many as 316 electoral votes.  However, I think there is a very good possibility for this to be another rare presidential election that sees the candidate who receives the most popular votes, be on the losing end of the electoral college.

Given the existing imbalance in popularity that President Obama experiences in densely populated states like New Jersey, and urban dominated states such as New York, and California, the chances of him receiving more popular votes than a Republican candidate racking up big majorities in many relatively sparsely populated, rural states like Montana, Utah, and Idaho, but losing the electoral college,  is becoming increasingly likely .

Given that possibility, I can only be certain that if my prognostications which are more suspicion than prediction, happen to come to fruition, the only real certainty we can predict is that after the 2012 elections, the American electorate will be either just  as polarized as it is now,  or even more so than it currently is.

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