Predictions For 2012 Presidential Election, United States Senate, And Other Races
Every presidential election since 1980 I have written down my predictions for what I thought the final outcome would be when the balloting was completed. I know there are fancier ways using graphics to make my predictions more ‘presentable’, but find myself using the same basic outline as I did when Ronald Reagan first won the White House.
In 1980 I used typing paper, and made my predictions at the family kitchen table in Hancock. Now I live in Madison, work off a computer, and people smile when I even say ‘typing paper’. For better or worse, every four years I just have fun doing this. And after this election cycle filled with so much meanness, money, and rhetoric I grab all the fun that can be held.
What has not changed, however, are some truths about politics, and the way campaigns are run. Two of the things to watch every four years remain who has the momentum going into the final weekend, and how effective the get-out-the-vote effort by a candidate happens to be.
There is no doubt that Mitt Romney has made great strides over the past month in the polls, and closed within striking distance of winning. Swing states have tightened, and the all important women vote has narrowed between the two candidates. But Hurricane Sandy has played a role in the election, and forced the Romney campaign to slow down and lose momentum in the all-important final week.
Some thought the first debate where Romney came on stage as a completely new candidate, and Obama seemed not interested in being near the former governor was the ‘October surprise’. But now we know Hurricane Sandy was the unscripted moment of the fall race, and I think it showcased Obama perfectly in the final days.
I must say one thing about the process of running for president. Never have I witnessed such a ‘say or do anything’ type of strategy as that which was employed by the Romney campaign. One can have a point of view that differs from mine about this or that policy but there is no defending the blatant lies and continual morphing of the Republican candidate to appease various groups of voters. It is one thing to have a Republican speak honestly to the nation and win, and then follow through on the policies outlined in the campaign. But it would be most unfortunate to the process to have a candidate who barely had a causal relationship to the truth be allowed to win in the fashion that Romney has campaigned. I would hope that my partisan friends on the other side of the aisle can at least agree with me on this point.
Meanwhile the much discussed get-out-the-vote machine from the Democrats has run on high, which has allowed for early voting to be used for precise targeting of voters that are needed at the polls. This targeting of voters will be talked about as a major reason for the results on Election Night. In addition, presidential leadership is a most powerful and potent political tool, and it has been used most adroitly during the past week with the storm. The imagery of President Obama working with a high-profile Republican governor has created additional momentum, and was far more effective than countless television ads aired in swing states.
It is far easier for President Obama to achieve 270 Electoral College votes, and as a result will win a second term in the White House. But it will not be as easy as it was in 2008. In fact I might describe what will happen as ‘eeking out a victory’.
This is how I think President Obama wins on Election Night. (If my math works out these numbers will be the final result.)
President Obama with 281 Electoral College votes by winning the following states. California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin,
Mitt Romney with 257 Electoral College votes by wining the following states. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
UNITED STATES SENATE
The United States Senate was once the legislative body Republicans were going to control based on the seats that were up for election this cycle, the open senate seats, and the fact this was not ever going to be a wave election for the Democrats. But the Republican Party once again allowed the Tea Party to control the agenda, and dictate the primary agenda in enough states to allow Democrats to have a very good shot at retaining the majority, slim though it may be.
Readers might note in 2010 Tea Party types undermined GOP outcomes in places such as Nevada and Delaware. Who will ever forget Christine O’Donnell? There is no doubt an internal civil war is coming to the Republican Party after the losses this election cycle. The mature ones in the GOP need to again take control.
Republicans need a net gain of four seats to win control of the Senate if Obama is elected, and three if Romney is elected. Democrats control the body 53-47 with two independents who caucus with them.
Regardless of how the races lean here are the ones I have been following, with a few general comments. Like everyone else I will be watching all the races as they unfold come Election Night to see how the majority shakes out.
Arizona—Democratic candidate Richard Carmona has made this a real race in a red state. This might be the biggest upset of the night for the senate since Romney will win this state. But then I predict crossovers will carry Carmona to victory for the senate. The Latino vote will be crucial, and will be another example of where my criticism of the conservative mindset regarding immigrants proves my point, again. A third-party interloper on the ballot will also likely help Carmona win this race.
Connecticut—Republican Linda McMahon has strived to show she is more a grandmother than a bitch, but that is hard to do with her record from her days in heavyweight wrestling. She was known for bringing violence, sexual themes, and controversy into the wrestling world, and seems the very last thing Connecticut needs representing them in Washington. Democratic candidate Chris Murphy was not the best candidate ever fielded, with his late house and car payments to prove the case. But there is far more to dislike with McMahon, and with a strong Obama win it helps lift the Democratic candidate. If McMahon could not win in a wave year (2010) she is not going to gain more traction this time.
Florida…Yawn…Bill Nelson could have taken a vacation this cycle. There was no way Connie Mack was going to knock off a seasoned politician, Mack has been described as the “Charlie Sheen of Florida politics”. Now that is a bumper sticker! From bar fights to a most messy divorce one has to wonder how did Mack ever think he should be the nominee other than he came from a political family? Top all of that off with right-wing points of view and the GOP has a loser.
Indiana–Republican Richard Mourdock defeated Senator Lugar in a primary. That was perhaps the saddest moment for the nation this year during the primaries. Lugar was one of those rare sensible moderate members of the GOP. Meanwhile Moudock is a very anti-compromising politician who is all Tea Party. His vile comments about rape make him unacceptable for any political office, and women are about to remind him of that fact on Election Day. That allows for a most remarkable political event to take place as Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly is getting assistance from Lugar supporters, and will pull an upset by winning a race no one would have ever predicted just a few months ago.
Maine—Republicans will never forgive Senator Snowe for the way she handled her exit from the Senate, and Democrats will always have at least one nice thing to say about her. She was in many ways a centrist who allowed for more harmony in the Senate, but for this election will be credited in many ways for a Democratic pick-up as Independent Angus King will win—and will then caucus with the good guys in Washington.
Massachusetts—When Republican Scott Brown first won it was in a special election to replace the seat of Senator Teddy Kennedy. Tonight with a burst of female support in a deeply blue Obama state, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren will fill the seat of the former ‘Lion of the Senate’. As it should be—this is our seat!
Missouri—What can one say? A swift kick in the pants from an outraged nation for conservative Republican Todd Akin! Had there been anyone with a full brain stem running as the GOP opponent there would be every reason to think Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill would be defeated. While I think she is a solid voice for the people of Missouri, the fact is this is a very shaky election cycle for her. But there is no way, given the antics of Akin, that McCaskill can loose.
Montana—Here is where things go wrong for the Democrats. If there is one senate race where the winner is elected with the slimmest actual votes it will be when Republican Denny Rehberg tops Democratic Senator Jon Tester. Lots of money, and lots of Republican anger tilts this seat red.
Nebraska—Democratic candidate Bob Kerry is going nowhere fast. I was hoping for the cerebral qualities of Kerry back in the senate, bur this race never took off. Republican Deb Fischer is going to Washington with a very solid win.
Ohio—This is one of those races where the process has been so distorted by a young Republican wannabe with lots of money that it is essential just for the sake of democracy that Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown prevail. There is no end to the frivolous nature that is Republican Josh Mandel as he pumps in millions and millions of dollars—making this one of the most expensive senate races in the nation. Not even counting money raised by Mandel, legally separate outside groups have spent over $27.5 million on ads in hopes of ousting Brown. Most know Mandel for one thing and that is his casual relationship with the truth, which while putting him in line with so many of his kind running for office, still makes him far less than what Ohio needs at this time in Washington. So I place faith in this state to do the right thing for democracy and say no to Mandel, who just wants so bad to be someone, and thinks the senate might help him on his way to that dream. Not so fast, Josh!
Wisconsin—When you hear the argument that Tommy Thompson has changed you can take that to the bank. He has, and I know. I started working in the Wisconsin State Capitol on the day Thompson was first sworn into office as a Republican governor in 1987. His style was far more mature and seasoned than his days as a fiery and bombastic state legislator. But after leaving the governor’s office, and working in the Bush Administration, and then reaping millions from income based on his contacts there is no way not to know Thompson has changed. He is not the man who once cared about the state. He now only cares about Thompson, Incorporated. But for Thompson to lose the senate race would mean a Democratic opponent who could connect outside of the natural constituency that makes up the party would have needed to run for office. As much as I admire and respect Tammy Baldwin there was never a time this whole year I thought she could win. Not one single politically minded person I spoke with this year thought she could win. Everyone wanted to her to win, but everyone I talked with feared she would lose. I have rarely mentioned her on my blog as I did not want to be insincere about my views, and also did not want to make for hard feelings along the way. I like her stands on the issues, sure wish she could win, but predict she will lose. While Baldwin had enough money to perhaps scare off others for a primary, she did not have enough clout around the state to run and win a statewide race. It was easy to define Baldwin, and when one is not well-known outside the home congressional district it poses real problems. The race was always hers to run, but never hers to win. Independent voters who will vote for Obama will then cast a ballot for Thompson in large enough numbers to send him to a job where he will be far away from his wife.
Wisconsin State Legislature
The Wisconsin State Senate will be Republican after the ballots are counted. Once it was announced the Jim Holperin would not run everyone knew the gig was over in the senate since the seat once held by Republican Randy Hopper was also ripe for a turnover. This was not a good year for Mark Miller.
Therefore without any disagreement Republican Tom Tiffany defeats Democratic candidate Susan Sommer. Meanwhile Democrat Jessica King who defeated the drinking and partying Hopper last year in a recall will now be ousted in the GOP dominated area by Republican Rick Gudex.