Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fearlessly Forecasting the 2012 Election

Remember Where You Read This – Unless It Turns Out to be Wrong

This being the beginning of a new year  and a year with a Presidential election it seems only correct to forecast the outcome of that election and the Congressional races that will take place in November. Forecasting politics is a fool’s errand, hence the unique qualifications of The Dismal Political Economist.

In the House of Representatives Republicans will win an additional 15 to 25 seats and increase their majority.  This will be a result of several things, one of which is favorable redistricting.  North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania and other states, where Dems andRepublicans are about even will have heavily Republican delegations for example.  If, as only The Dismal Political Economist so far expects, the Supreme Court ends or cripples the Voting Rights Act and Federal regulation of re-districting in Texas, the size of the Republican victory could be even greater.

Note that the only impact of a larger Republican majority is that it will take that much longer, for Democrats to recapture the House.  A minority party has no power in the House, and so the shrinkage of that minority is of no real consequence for legislation in 2013.

In the Senate the numbers highly favor the Republicans.  They have 47 seats, and are assured of victories in Nebraska and North Dakota.  Their only vulnerability is Massachusetts and Nevada, and they have the potential to gain seats in states like Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Hawaii, Montana and others.  The likely outcome is a Senate with between 52 and 55 Republicans. 

This will make an impact, and although Democrats may comfort themselves with the fact that in the Senate the minority can block things, they are likely to find that Republicans will be much less tolerant of Senatorial privilege than Democrats were.  A big win in 2012 will position the Republicans to get to 60 filibuster proof votes in 2014, when the Senate number are again highly favorable to the GOP.

The big news of course is the Presidential race.  Mitt Romney is almost assured the nomination.  Even if he finishes third in Iowa to Mr. Paul and a rising Mr. Santorum, he will win the nomination because there is simply no plausible alternative.  It takes hard work and luck to win a Presidential nomination, and Mr. Romney has both, particularly the luck in that he is campaigning against the likes of Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Paul, Mr. Perry etc.  As one of his aides said, it is impossible to imagine a scenario in which he loses the nomination.

The Vice Presidential pick of Mr. Romney will be Gov. Robert McDonnell of Virginia.  Freshman Senator Marco Rubio of Florida was the front runner until the revelation that he embellished his family’s history. Lack of truthfulness does not hurt him with the Republican base, but many Independents still have some desire for at least a minimum level of integrity.   Gov. McDonnell is a stealth Conservative, one with radical views that he successfully hides behind a façade of pragmatism.  The GOP base knows this and will rally to Mr. Romney’s side with this selection.

As for Mr. Romney himself, he will be much more comfortable with a person like Gov. McDonnell than with Mr. Rubio for obvious reasons.  And Mr. McDonnell will bring the state of Virginia with him, leaving Mr. Romney with one less swing state to worry about or spend money in.

Mr. Romney will easily defeat Mr. Obama.  (A coming post will provide more details as to the how and why).  The major reasons for this will be money and negative attacks.  For the first time in history there will be an unlimited amount of money directed at defeating an incumbent President.  Estimates that outside groups will spend a few hundred million are woefully incorrect.  The number is going to be closer to $500 million and maybe even be close to $1 billion. 

Mr. Obama’s election team will be unprepared for this onslaught, because they cannot imagine or grasp how big and how vicious it will be.  The campaign against Mr. Obama will have no monetary constraint and no factual constraint, and no lie will be too blatant for the outside groups to promote.  Mr. Romney will likely disband his own super Pac, take the high road with positive ads and let people like Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and others run nearly unlimited negative ads against the Democrats.

While the popular vote may be close, the electoral vote will not be.  Mr. Romney will take all of the John McCain states, plus Virginia, Indiana and Florida.  He will also take some of the Midwestern states from the great lakes group.  In what might be the ultimate political irony, if the electoral college vote is close Michigan, whose auto industry was saved by Mr. Obama could be the deciding electoral votes against him.

So in January of 2013 the nation will have complete Republican rule.  And the country will once again have to learn the painful lesson of why it rejected the party and policies of George W. Bush, only this time the pain will be much greater and last much longer.

Happy New Year everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Did you factor in the fact that Hillary Clinton may very well be President Obama's running mate while Joe Biden becomes the Secretary of State?