Bronze-level article2012 U.S. presidential election

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U.S. Politics

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Hail to the Chief?
Persons of interest
Obama is an out-of-touch elitist, Michelle Bachmann is crazy, and Mitt Romney is a robot from the future sent to kill us all.
—blog post on the 2012 Presidential candidates
the election has already ended. (refresh)

The 2012 U.S. Presidential Election will take place on Tuesday, 6 November, 2012. Democratic President Barack Obama will seek a second term, most likely against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.


Major issues

The economy

The years leading up to the 2012 election have been an absolute economic shitstorm. This can go one of two ways. If the economy regains some lasting strength, it will be a big boon for Obama. If it continues to falter, people may look to Romney for solutions.

The wars

People are so tired of the war in Afghanistan and continuing instability in Iraq they might not even care.

God, guns, and gays

Social issues often become more important when the economy is healthy, and white Christians can go back to telling other people how to live.

Taxed enough already

The teabaggers may play a big role in the process of selecting the GOP candidate. It's too soon to tell yet, though they certainly had some impact on the 2010 midterm election primaries. If they want to become serious players they will eventually have to come up with a real platform and positive proposals, rather than just running on general dissatisfaction.

Health care

The major provisions of Obamacare will not come into effect until 2014, but the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on elements of Obamacare will no doubt play into the campaign. Assuming it does not get struck down, as people prepare to comply with the new law, if they like what they see, it might strengthen Obama's position. If the law is voided by SCOTUS, Obama will lose the ability to campaign on having enacted it, and will lose a lot of credibility.

Citizens United - a wild card

This Supreme Court decision, which allows corporations (including non-profits and unions) to spend whatever they want on political advertising, may play an unpredictable role in both the primary season and the general election. As one example, Karl Rove's PAC, American Crossroads, has pledged to spend $240 million to defeat Obama - more than three times their 2008 expenditure.[1]

Democratic Party

Barack Obama
Age: 55, will be 51
44th President of the USA
Advantages: Sitting President; charismatic and eloquent; extremely strong fundraising; had an unparalleled field operation in 2008; voters' preferences for a divided government may turn in his favor with the Republican capture of the House in 2010; issued the order to kill Osama Bin Laden; disappointed supporters may turn out for him anyway considering the nature of the Republican race. Sizable numbers of Republicans prefer Obama to the alternatives [2] and the economy is improving. [3] [4]
Disadvantages: Obama's historically poor approval ratings returned once the bump that came from the killing of bin Laden subsided. While Obama's popularity increased around February 2012, public opinion is volatile, especially given the tentative nature of the economic recovery. [5] Obama has disappointed many left-wing supporters with the continuing assault on civil liberties, the escalation of drone attacks, and his failure to enact a truly public health care system; he cannot rely again on his 2008 campaign tactics; he will be primarily judged on the state of what has, until recently, been a remarkably sluggish economy.

Obama's leadership unchallenged

No notable Democrats came forth to challenge Obama for the nomination, although anti-abortionist Randall Terry, formerly active in the Constitution Party and who has also run for office as a Republican, engaged in a mock-run against Obama in the Democratic primary in order to promote his cause.[6] He did not succeed.

A primary campaign against a sitting president would not have been unprecedented—Pat Buchanan ran against George H.W. Bush in 1992, mostly to force Bush to adopt more conservative positions, and Ted Kennedy mounted a serious challenge to Jimmy Carter in 1980. A successful challenge, however, would have been extremely unlikely; both of the aforementioned incumbents subsequently lost - and so did their parties. A more likely model might have been 1972, when Richard Nixon faced primary challenges from Pete McCloskey from his left opposing the Vietnam War, and John Ashbrook from his right in protest against Nixon adopting wage and price controls. Neither was a serious threat to Nixon but ran to make a point, and they did not affect Nixon's going on to win re-election by a wide margin in the general election. Ralph Nader and Cornell West made an effort to recruit primary challengers to Obama for this purpose, possibly six challengers who would each challenge him on a different issue,[7] but this effort came to nothing.

Republican Party

Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 4 (x).jpg
Mitt Romney
Age: 70, appears 40 thanks to hair dye.
Former governor of Massachusetts
Advantages: He can appeal to moderates and independents, and could potentially put Michigan and even Massachusetts, major states that the Republicans have not won in decades, into play. He has significant experience in both business and as Massachusetts governor. Will have access to substantial funding both because of his own wealth and the support of super-PACs.
Disadvantages: He's too moderate for many Republicans, particularly in the current political climate. He has flip-flopped on several key conservative issues (notably abortion), and his Mormon faith may also hurt him with the Christian Right. His state health care plan for Massachusetts ("Romneycare") looks an awful lot like "Obamacare". He is derided by some as a man who "looks like the guy who laid you off" (and his company, Bain Capital, a typical corporate raider, actually did "downsize" many employees at its targets). Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation during his time as Governor[8]. No one actually likes him, although his programmers have learned well how to simulate human emotion. [9]

The GOP race

For a more complete analysis of the campaign to choose a Republican candidate, see here.

While Romney never really captures the hearts of the Republican faithful, the relatively lackluster nature of the other candidates, combined with Romney's massive war chest, meant that his eventual triumph was never in doubt. Starting sometime in the fall of 2011, a number of candidates enjoyed each a few weeks of being the "not-Romney" of the moment, but whether it was Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum, none of them was able to sustain any real threat to Romney's campaign.

Other parties and independents

Libertarian Party

  • Wayne Allyn Root
  • R. Lee Wrights
  • Gary Johnson

Green Party

  • Stewart Alexander, 2008 VP nominee and 2012 presidential nominee for the Socialist Party.
  • Kent Mesplay, air quality inspector
  • Jello Blafra, musician and activist from California
  • Jill Stein, doctor

Constitution Party

  • Virgil Goode, former house member from Virginia, who was in congress as a Democrat, an independent, and lastly a Republican. What's yet another party switch to him?

Americans Elect

  • Buddy Roemer, former Democrat/Republican governor of Louisiana. The Reform Party is trying to woo him too. See the note above about Virgil Goode.

Prohibition Party

  • Jack Fellure is their official nominee. Topping the list of reasons why you should vote for Jack Fellure is "My Presidential Campaign Platform is the Authorized 1611 King James Bible. God Almighty wrote that Book as the supreme constitution and absolute authority..." and you know you don't want to read any more.

Assorted oddities

  • Rocky Anderson, former mayor of Salt Lake City, running on his own Justice Party ticket. Why didn't he instead run a primary challenge against Obama or seek the Green Party nomination? Who knows?
  • Tiffany Briscoe, nominee of the Boston Tea Party. Again, what's the point? The Boston Tea Party was started as a protest against the Libertarian Party's trimming most of its platform in 2006 and was supposed to stand for zero compromise. Briscoe's platform includes school vouchers, a 20% flat income tax, and the unification of the NSA and CIA under the Pentagon.
  • Will Ralph Nader run again? The anticipation abounds. Damn you, Nader!
  • Donald Trump has been making noises of late of running as an independent.

See also

Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about 2012 U.S. presidential election.

External Links

BallotPedia Lists every issue and candidate for all national and state elections. Provides links to any article or editorial on a topic, links to polls, links to official sites, etc.


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