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US: Presidential election « Previous | |Next »
November 7, 2012

I've been offline for a couple of days in Victor Harbor due to the storm that swept through South Australia. I've just started catching up with the US presidential election since my return to Adelaide. It looks as if the Democrats will hold, and maybe even, increase their majority in the Senate.

According to the pundits and the media the presidential contest is tight. Despite being ahead in the popular vote, the door is closing on Romney in the Electoral College votes with Obama winning in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Obama's firewall in the Midwest holds up as the rustbelt strategy is working.

Romney's path to victory is narrowing since to win the presidency he has to take all four of Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina. Then on top of that he needs one further smaller state to take him over the top and there's only three of those left in the pot: Colorado, Iowa and Nevada. There are not a lot of options for Romney if he doesn't win Ohio. Is there another path for Romney.

PopeDObama.jpg David Pope

Fox News is becoming a little glum. In their eyes traditional White America is threatened by nonwhites-- ie., blacks and Hispanics--and Republicans are seeing their electoral map narrow rather than widen. The problem for the Republicans is that their base is shrinking and they struggle to appeal to a broader cross-section of the electorate? How do they do that? They cannot just slag off Obama as Fox News does.

The House of Representatives looks to remain Republican, and so power in Washington looks again likely to be shared between the parties. America remains a sharply divided society and there will be further confrontation, impasse and political dysfunction in Washington.

On December 31, the Bush tax cuts are due to expire and automatic spending cuts are due to begin, as a result of the Congressional deadlock over raising the debt ceiling. These will create problems for an Obama presidency, as President Obama has threatened to veto any legislation that extends the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans want to cut spending and avoid raising taxes, while Democrats are looking for a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

In dealing with the fiscal cliff, U.S. lawmakers have a choice among three options, none of which are particularly attractive:

They can let the current policy scheduled for the beginning of 2013 – which features a number of tax increases and spending cuts that are expected to weigh heavily on growth and possibly drive the economy back into a recession – go into effect. The plus side: the deficit, as a percentage of GDP, would be cut in half.

They can cancel some or all of the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts, which would add to the deficit and increase the odds that the United States could face a crisis similar to that which is occurring in Europe. The flip side of this, of course, is that the United States' debt will continue to grow.

They could take a middle course, opting for an approach that would address the budget issues to a limited extent, but that would have a more modest impact on growth.

Update
Obama is projected by the networks to win Ohio and so regain the Presidency. The three rustbelt states of the Midwestern firewall (Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin) held. Was it due to the white working class voters, particularly women being won over by the auto industry rescue? Most blue-collar whites vote Republican while most minorities and affluent suburban whites go with Democrats.

Romney's strategy assumed that the low growth economy with high unemployment would automatically turn voters against the president fell short and that they would vote for the low tax/small government option. No doubt many Republicans will say they would have won with a more conservative candidate. Their future is to go more conservative, even though their social conservatism around women's reproductive health care would have caused many women to vote for Obama.

President Obama won easily. The Senate barely budges. The House stays about the same. It's the status quo. The health care reform--The Affordable Care Act---will remain.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:19 PM | | Comments (15)
Comments

Comments

"Romney's path to victory is narrowing as win to has to take all four of Ohio and Florida and Virginia and North Carolina."

Romney wins North Carolina. He stays in the game.

"Romney's path to victory is narrowing as to win he has to take all four of Ohio and Florida and Virginia and North Carolina."

state of play?

If Obama wins Florida he's home. If Romney holds Florida, then Ohio holds the key. Florida is going down to the wire. Without Ohio the Republicans need Pennsylvania, as well as Florida and Virginia. They lost Pennsylvania.

This may be the last presidential election in which the Republicans attempt to win with a majority of white votes alone.

"Then on top of that he needs one further smaller state to take him over the top and there's only three of those left in the pot: Colorado, Iowa and Nevada."

Obama takes Iowa. Romney's path to the presidency narrows.

If Obama wins Florida he's home. If Romney holds Florida, then Ohio holds the key."

Colorado has been called for Obama, and Nevada for Obama. Florida doesn't matter. Romney's path is blocked.

"Obama is projected by the Networks to win Ohio and so regain the Presidency"

That is projected not actual. Romney would need four states to grab a victory from the jaws of defeat. Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado.

The networks have called Ohio and Colorado for Obama. Is this call premature? Obama currently leads Romney in Florida, and he will probably win the state courtesy of the Hispanic voters. The conservative Cubans are outnumbered.

Obama has narrowly won Virginia. With Virginia’s 13 electoral votes, as well as those of Colorado and Nevada, Obama has at least 285 electoral votes. He doesn't need Ohio or Florida.

"In dealing with the fiscal cliff, U.S. lawmakers have a choice among three option"

They will probably either kick the can down the road or let the cliff happen.

Much later and we now know that Obama has all but won the election and Democrats have control of the Senate, while the Republicans easily retain Congress.
Latteline featured heavy coverage, including a long conversation with a US journalist over the implications GST has already drawn attention to, most importantly continued gridlock involving spending cuts and tax.
It seems there will be little of the traditional post election lull, Obama is already on his way back to Washington after his victory speech.
It now looks like only one battle in a lengthening war.

"According to the pundits and the media the presidential contest is tight. "

It wasn't really tight. The pundit/media narrative was wrong. The pundits have once again proven themselves ignorant.

"Fox News is becoming a little glum."

Fox News's blaring sensationalism and political anguish was muted for one night. They'll come blaring back with their poison--- eg.,relentless race-baiting, general venom and slut-shaming any woman who stands up for reproductive rights.

The poorly educated white, working-class voters in the rust belt (eg., Michigan as well as Ohio) are the so-called Reagan Democrats.

In Australian terms these are "Howard battlers"

I've started to rethink my view of the US electoral college scenario.
Previously I thought it seemed ludicrous but I have since realised that it really just means that the states are treated as we treat our 150 federal electorates.
With a 2% majority in the popular vote the dominance of Obama in the electoral college/electorates seems reasonable.
The real underlying problem with the US voting system, just looking at the system not the politics, would be the first past the post/winner takes all system.
That is where reform is badly needed and that is where both the dominant right wing parties agree.
Any sort of preferential system, as in our electorates, or worse for the big 2, proportional representation system, as in our senate, would destroy their monopoly.

"According to the pundits and the media the presidential contest is tight."

How did the pundits and the media know the election was too close to call? Gut feel. They just know this stuff. They have special insights.

There is no need to do the extensive hard analysis of the aggregated data of hundreds of the polls to forecast (not predict) the outcome. That is what is by Nat Silver, who runs the Five Thirty Eight section of the New York Times.

"The problem for the Republicans is that their base is shrinking and they struggle to appeal to a broader cross-section of the electorate? How do they do that? They cannot just slag off Obama as Fox News does."

The Republican strategy was to raise the ideological stakes at every opportunity, in the widespread conviction that the starker conservatives made the choice between left and right, the more votes they would win.

It failed. The conservative base is no longer a majority of the American electorate.

According to exit polls, 68% of single women voted to stop Romney outsourcing control of their own bodies to fundamentalist Christians and who didn't want to be 1950'[homemakers.

"In their eyes traditional White America is threatened by nonwhites-- ie., blacks and Hispanics--and Republicans are seeing their electoral map narrow rather than widen."

The Republican Party is increasingly seen as a party of old white people.