1. It’s not over until it’s over. It’s slightly less than 5 months before we cast our ballots on November 6, 2012; plenty of time for conditions to change. The economy could get better. Romney could make a terrible mistake. Obama could find his mojo. And liberals could decide to work for Obama with the rationale:better a glass half full than one that is empty.
2. Obama has come from behind before. When Obama declared his candidacy on February 10, 2007, few give him any chance of securing the Democratic nomination — the ascension of Hillary Clinton seemed inevitable. Then when he won the Iowa primary, many regarded it as a fluke and predicted his campaign would be over on Super Tuesday. Then when he took the delegate lead, there were rocky moments — his association with Reverend Wright, the “bitter” remarks — but Obama prevailed.
3. Romney is a terrible candidate. While Obama can be a great campaigner, Romney gives no indication that he will excite his own party, much fewer voters in general. Romney won’t do well in the debates and will lose all favorability comparisons to Obama. Nonetheless, in 2008 John McCain was a terrible candidate — certainly worse than Romney — and he received 46 percent of the vote. Obama can win the popularity contests but still lose unless Democrats get out the vote.
4. Republican ideology has gone off the tracks. It’s important for lefties to take a deep breath and consider what this election is about. It’s not as simple as winning and losing. It’s about the future of civilization, as we know it, because the modern Republican Party is filled with radical ideologues — politicians who will say and do anything to win; it’s Voldemort and the death eaters.
5. The Republican strategy is obvious. It’s not like Republicans have a stealth 2012 presidential strategy. First, they will nominate a “sock-puppet” candidate who will smile at the camera, mouth whatever inanities GOP party bosses feed him and follow the party line. Second, they’ll spend billions of dollars on attack ads to convince swing voters that Obama is responsible for all of America’s problems. Third, they’ll arrange to disenfranchise certain demographics that are highly likely to vote Democratic, such as poor black voters. Fourth, they’ll convince liberals that things are so bad they shouldn’t vote at all or if they do, write in Dennis Kucinich.
6. Money isn’t everything. Obama will raise millions of dollars, but because of the Citizens United decision, Republicans will raise more. That sounds bad because that will give Republicans the opportunity to run attack ads 24/7 in the swing states that will decide the election. While Obama obviously needs money, what he needs more than anything is a coherent campaign. Remember that in the 2010 California Gubernatorial election, Republican Meg Whitman outspent Jerry Brown 5 to 1 ($177 million vs. $36 million). Whitman lost because she ran a terrible campaign.
7. Republicans don’t have a positive message. Romney’s campaign is based upon convincing voters that Obama caused all America’s problems when the truth is that Republican policies — starting with Ronald Reagan — caused the economic malaise we are suffering through. Romney, a gilt-edged member of the 1 percent, has to convince voters that giving him more tax breaks will help them.
8. Obama has time to develop a winning narrative. Obama has shown remarkable resiliency and it’s entirely possible that he can develop a winning narrative. Obama’s on the right track when he talks about inequality, but that alone won’t swing the election. Obama needs to take off the gloves and tell the truth: Republicans created the economic mess the U.S. is suffering through and the election of Mitt Romney would only make things worse.
9. Republicans are fighting for greed, we’re fighting for democracy. The Occupy Wall Streetmovement indicates a deep level of discontent in the U.S. that could be channeled to provide the momentum for positive change in the 2012 election. The notion that the 1 percent — corporation executives, Wall Street tycoons, and fat cats in general — are living in a different reality than the 99 percent has traction. Obama has to harness this. This election is about whether the U.S. will cease being a democracy and instead become a plutocracy; whether unfettered capitalism will be allowed to run over the rights and dignity of ordinary people.
10. Democracy is worth fighting for. If Obama will lead the charge, he can win.
Romney’s America would suffer ….
With Romney you’d have to go deeper into hypotheticals: do you credit him with imposing any tax loophole closures to offset an unspecified portion of his new tax cuts, as he says he wants to do but fails to say how? The 59% general domestic spending cut by 2022 cited above is a Center for Budget and Policy Priorities calculation that assumes no offsetting reduction in tax expenditures — fair enough, since Romney has not officially proposed any, and in private gatherings has only floated a nibble or two.
In any case, unlike Romney, Obama does spell out his assumptions when projecting the effects of his opponent’s proposals. He should maintain that advantage in honesty and credibility. The Romney reality is horrific enough without embellishment. How can a man putting forward that extremist sham enjoy a presumption of economic competence?