The working assumption, in the modern media, is that Obama simply cannot lose his reelection bid. Obviously, they want “The One” to be around for two. While their ever-present and sometimes intense rooting for him will certainly help Obama, there are a host of reasons why Obama will lose. Here’s a list:
1. Obama’s Shrinking Coalition. Obama was only elected with 52.9% of the vote. That is a slim majority. Since taking office, he has shrunk that coalition by fighting with Americans. Here are some of the ways he did that:
a. He alienated most of what little Republican support he had with the Stimulus Bill;
b. He alienated support in energy related states by shutting down the Gulf after the BP spill, rejecting the Keystone pipeline, and imposing part of Cap & Trade through the EPA after it failed in Congress, including his draconian new rules for the coal industry;
c. He alienated law and order folks by wanting to try foreign combatants in American Courts;
d. He alienated many religious minded voters, including Catholic Bishops (no easy task) with his mandated contraception insurance coverage rules; and
e. He alienated voters who care about the Constitution, or at least our governmental balance, with ObamaCare, his imposition of Czars and other rather undemocratic ways of pushing his policies on the American voter.
Also, Obama’s current strategy of pitting Americans against one another is a complete reversal of his 2008 strategy of wanting to unite people and is an admission that his prior coalitions have fallen apart.
2. The Enthusiasm Gap. Rabid support on the Left has dropped for Obama. To them, Obama is not as “pure” as they would like. That drop off is not an unusual effect for a sitting President. Beyond that, in 2008, enthusiasm was greatly in favor of the Democrats, yet Obama only got to 52.9% of the vote. In the 2010 midterm elections, the enthusiasm advantage was held by Republicans to great effect. The same dynamic will hold true this year even if not to the same degree.
3. ObamaCare’s Impending Supreme Defeat. ObamaCare has never been popular with voters. Since it was imposed on voters, a majority of Americans have been against it, and by a 3 to 1 margin they have been against the individual mandate. If and when the Supreme Court overturns it, voters will be happy it is gone, and Obama will be tagged with a major and embarrassing election year defeat.
4. Obama has raised Taxes and is Campaigning to Do it Again. In over 20 ways, including Obamacare, Obama has raised taxes against far more than those making over $250,000. He will let the Bush tax cuts expire and he is actively campaigning for tax increases. The last 8 Presidential winners have campaigned for tax cuts – as Obama did four years ago. No winners in the last 8 have campaigned for tax increases.
5. The Deficit is Too High for Reelection. The deficit is over a trillion dollars per year and is expected to be so for some time. National debt has risen to the top of polling concerns of Americans. Bush 41, despite an improving economy that was growing over 4% per year on Election Day, lost his reelection because Ross Perot made the deficit such a huge issue. Although the deficit alone does not hold center stage in this election, it certainly is dragging down Obama’s approval numbers.
6. Unemployment too High for a Reelection. We haven’t reelected a President, since the Great Depression, with unemployment above 7.2%. It is above 8% now, and recent figures give every indication it may go higher. Further, the number of Americans that have dropped out of the workforce/looking for a job is at an all-time high. Reagan was reelected despite what was then a high rate because unemployment had dropped from 10.8% 23 months earlier to 7.2% by Election Day. Obama can show no such progression. Indeed, some economists expect it to rise in the short run.
7. Obama’s Leadership Deficit: He Has No Plans for our Major Problems & Blames Others. Devoid of a good economic record and despite enacting or imposing all of his policies, Obama continues to blame others for America’s problems. That is decidedly un-presidential after four years. Worse, he has no clear plans to deal with the future--no plan to deal with unemployment, no clear plans to deal with the deficit (other than raising tax rates – bad idea), no clear plans to deal with high gas prices, no clear plans to deal with rising health care premiums, etc. Leadership is about vision, plans, the ability to execute on those two and thefour years of economic trouble. Fool me once . . .
8. Consumer Confidence is too low for a Reelection. We haven’t reelected a president or his party in the television age with the Consumer Confidence Index, as measured by The Conference Board, below 100. Right now it is at 70. Although it was improving earlier this year from around 60 a year ago, higher gas prices have begun to choke off the economy, and the unemployment picture is and will be impacted by our slowing economy. Gas prices will rise again this summe, further impacting Consumer Confidence. As a result, it will be nearly impossible for Consumer Confidence to get anywhere near 100. It may not get to 80. So, for Obama to win, the last two indicators (unemployment and consumer confidence) would have to be ignored in historic fashion.
9. Republicans will Rise from Here. The end of a tough primary fight is usually the low point for the out party. Republican on Republican or Democrat on Democrat can be quite negative, because the policy differences between the two are usually small; therefore, to make a difference, candidates get personal. Once it becomes Republican on Democrat, policy differences can take center stage. In this case, it will move from Republican infighting to Obama’s record. That’s a stage on which Republicans can win.
10. A Simple, Practical Presidential Election. It is true; this is the most important election in a generation. From ObamaCare to the economy, the next Supreme Court appointment to Iran, there is a lot on the line. Even so, it will not be a complicated election. Romney can campaign rather easily with practical solutions:
a. Obama won’t let Keystone be built, I will;
b. Obama won’t repeal ObamaCare, I will;
c. Obama’s budget leads to more deficits; I will cut the deficit;
d. Obama will continue to raise your taxes; I will clean up the tax code.
In the final analysis, people will do two things this fall: (1) ask if they are better off than four years ago and (2) cast a vote for their future. Statistically, voters are not better off – whether that is based on employment figures or loss in wealth, including dramatic drops in home owner equity. Psychologically, they are not better off either. Over 2/3rds say we are headed in the wrong direction (reason #11).
After four years of that, voters want direction not excuses - a plan not vague promises. Obama has never given an agenda to the American people – he just enforces his agenda many times over their objections. Romney, by contrast, will provide a clear and practical path forward. In times of trouble, people want someone with a plan – all of which means that Romney can win this election – even decisively.