Op-Ed: A midterm elections threat assessment — high and getting higher (Op-Ed)
November 9, 2010
TUESDAY, NOV. 7, 8 p.m. — 11:02 p.m. (EST) — President Obama is running for re-election in 2012. He’s looking to do something unprecedented by winning a second term without the help of either the Democratic base or independents.
Here’s why he needs Republican votes and independents: Polls show an unpopular President, and the economy is still in the tank. The economy is more important for 2012 than the national-security budget, which Democrats care about but Republicans don’t. The country is more divided than ever, and Obama’s approval ratings are historically low.
Obama’s political weaknesses lie in his lack of electability (he’s not a charismatic leader) and his weakness in an increasingly diverse nation. Mitt Romney is a strong candidate with a clear message.
Romney represents the Republican Party in a post-partisan context. He’s not just the presumptive Republican nominee — he could be in the lead by December of next year.
In this election, Obama is looking for a countervailing factor. He’s trying to find a way to regain the independent vote — which he lost during the 2008 campaign.
The key to an electoral victory for Obama will be to demonstrate strength on the economy, while not offending the conservative base and without alienating the Democratic base.
We’ve seen this in the past, when Republicans were dominant in the economy, but the economy collapsed, leaving a weakened Republican Party in a time of crisis.
The economic conditions that made Republicans strong in the first place, were largely responsible for the losses in the midterms. Republicans have been in a downward spiral in their favor for decades.
The economy and unemployment have reached rock-bottom, and that’s a big reason why Republicans are in trouble. But there’s one more factor that has to be addressed: Republican failure in the past.
This is an election where Obama can’t just try and make history (winning a second term). He’s got to give American voters the opportunity to see if history is repeating itself, in the same way the Democrats did in 1936, ’58 and ’64.