We have covered electoral game changers in foreign affairs that have distinct possibilities to impact the upcoming Presidential election. As these types of events go, the current foreign events quite possibly will spill over into domestic affairs.
The cascading effect of a European financial meltdown will more than likely cause similar turmoil in domestic financial markets. Currently, many American banks still have massive numbers of toxic assets. Democrat strategists are concerned about these potential landmines in the financial landscape.
There has not been a six-month period without some news of Wall Street problems. The most recent one was the announcement by JPMorgan that they lost at least $2 billion over the span of a few weeks on a reckless investment. Many of the too-big-to-fail banks have investments that they either can’t or won’t divest.
Quite possibly, the biggest question in domestic affairs is the Supreme Court’s soon-to-be- announced decision on the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed ObamaCare. Based on the questioning by the justices, it appears likely that at least the mandate will be ruled unconstitutional. If the court chooses to let the other parts of the law stands, chaos will ensue.
Without a means to pay for the massive healthcare bill, all sorts of issues will arise. The remaining clauses in the bill will force insurance companies to raise rates to stratospheric levels in order to cover the costs for people who choose to only buy insurance when they become ill. The insurance industry in America is based on a pool that averages healthy and unhealthy people. Without the healthy members of the pool, costs will rise dramatically.
In the event that the Supreme Court strikes down the healthcare law, expect to see a huge fight during with each side seeking to gain political advantage. The healthcare debate could consume a great deal of the public’s attention if Governor Romney doesn’t keep the voters focused on the economy and jobs as the primary issues.
With the way his luck is going, all President Obama would need is a successful terrorist on U.S. soil. Remember, we need to succeed every time while the terrorists only need to be successful once. Some Democrat strategists see a terrorist attack as a net gain for the President.
“A major terrorist attack could be an incredibly galvanizing moment in the campaign. You could see an immediate rally around the flag and everyone would see the president in a different way,” said Matt Bennett of Third Way. “It would be very difficult for Romney to attack the president if that were playing out in the electorate,” he added.
Others see this possible event in a different light with much of the blame falling on Obama and his administration. “The specter of another war or god forbid a terrorist attack that hits first order priorities could undermine one of Obama’s central strengths, his competence on foreign policy and national security,” said Democratic pollster Daniel Gotoff.
Then we have the possibility of a natural disaster, such as a massive Katrina-type hurricane. Obama’s response would be crucial to the public’s reaction. Of course, he won’t be faced with the rank incompetence that George Bush faced in the responses of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Currently, all of the Gulf state governors are Republicans.
Outside money will have a big influence on the 2012 election. Money is the mother’s milk of politics and 2012 will provide a gusher of money to the candidates. Obama, who was once thought of as being a fund-raising machine, seems to be lagging this year. In May, Romney and the Republicans raised $76.1 million while Obama and the Democrats raised $60 million, a significant disparity.
The Republican-leaning Super-Pacs have buried their Democrat-leaning counterparts in a veritable Niagara Falls of greenbacks. The Democrats in the Wisconsin claim to have been outspent by 7 or 8-to-1, although union “voter education” programs were not counted in the totals. Of course, now that they’re on the short end, the Democrats are complaining but nothing was said in 2008 when they buried the McCain campaign.
Once again, Democrat strategists are putting forward the red herring of foreign governments contributing to the Romney campaign. This charge was disproved before but they must think that American voters have short memories.
“A game changer is getting outspent 2-1 or 3-1. That could really determine the outcome of the election,” Tad Devine, who formerly served as a senior adviser to Senator John Kerry in 2004, said. “It makes it a lot easier for Romney to win if he can go into more states and have multiples of media over the president.”
Presidential debates are always a nexus for changing the dynamics of a race. “Debates are always game changers. If you kick somebody’s butt in a debate, that matters a lot. It changes votes. It changes media narratives,” said Mike Lux, a Democratic strategist.
Then, we have the ultimate unknown, gaffes by either the Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidates. Joe Biden, the current Vice President is well known for gaffes and misstatement. Obama and Romney have also had a few in the past several months.
As we move through the next five months it will be interesting to see how the candidates handle both foreign and domestic electoral game changers. Quite possibly, the outcome of the election might hinge on one ore more game changer.