I wrote this blog posting one year ago. I have decided to repost it with minimum change because I think it is still valid.
I am a committed Obama supporter. If I were a US citizen, helping to re-elect the president would be a project I would be devoting huge chunks of my free time to, because I have finally come across a candidate whose values I broadly agree with. Yet at this moment in time, I believe that President Obama is the underdog who will probably lose, and here’s why:
1. His victory in 2008 was a much greater freak result than people realise, as he was given an artificial bounce by the meltdown of the banking sector and the fact that John McCain struggled to separate himself from a deeply unpopular president. Also, McCain’s nomination of Sarah Palin was a one month wonder which turned into a drag on the ticket. Finally, John McCain’s journey from Arnie Vinick rebel loved by independent voters to Nasty John was only reversed in his election night speech. If that John McCain had turned up for the election (with Joe Lieberman as his Florida based for the duration running mate), it would have been much closer.
2. The African-American vote, which voted 95% for the president, will not be as high next year. You can’t make history doing the same thing twice. Polls currently put it at 77%.
3. Florida, Ohio, Virgina and North Carolina are where it’s all at, and with the exception of Virginia and Ohio, are within the margin of error and can be taken with a reasonable swing to the GOP. Florida will most likely go GOP because of the president’s tough-ish line with Israel. In short, if Ohio and Florida end up in the red column, in the normal scheme of things it’s game over.
4. The Bin Laden thing is well-eaten bread.
5. The economy. The American people do not re-elect a president who does not get unemployment down.
Having said all that, it’s not impossible. If the economy recovers, if he gets US troops out of Afghanistan, and if ObamaCare gets a chance to start functioning then he’s got a chance. Bear in mind that the GOP claimed in 2008 that he wasn’t experienced enough to be president. They can’t play that card now. The GOP in the house will do their utmost to stop it there, and there’s a good chance that SCOTUS will overturn it, but is that a good or bad thing for the president? Is the Supreme Court beginning to look like the judicial wing of the Republican Party?
Don’t forget that Mitt Romney has recovered a lot of the middle ground from the primaries, and if he can get the Anyone But Obama thing going, it’s game over.
Our boy is behind, but he’s a fighter.