|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
“”By the power invested in me by this giant bald bird, the president shall not be the shiniest of two turds!
 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, especially in light of the eurozone crisis, people may look to Romney for solutions.
 The wars
|This section requires expansion.|
People are so tired of the war in Afghanistan and continuing instability in Iraq they might not even care. Contrary to virtually every election in the last 60 years, the Republicans are unlikely to attack their opponent on being "soft on terror." The reason for this is that Obama's foreign policy remains one of the most popular aspects of his presidency, with major victories such as the killing of Osama bin Laden. Combined with the increasing dislike of the Afghanistan War in the public, foreign policy is unlikely to be a major issue, unlike previous elections.
 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. Romney, however, is a former social liberal, once claiming to be more for gay rights than Ted Kennedy. He has since edged himself to the right on social issues, but it is likely that he will not focus on these issues as much due to his reputation as a flip-flopper.
 Health care
The major provisions of Obamacare will not come into effect until 2014, but the Supreme Court ruling on elements of Obamacare will no doubt play into the campaign. As people prepare to comply with the new law, if they like what they see, it might strengthen Obama's position. SCOTUS ultimately uplheld the whole law, in a 5-4 descision.
At the same time, Republican nominee Mitt Romney remains infamous for passing a very similar type of health care reform previously while governor of Massachusetts. During the health care debates of 2009-2010, he strongly advocated for such a system to be instated nationally, making it difficult for him to attack the President's own health care plan. Of course, this hasn't stopped Romney from criticizing Obama's health care reforms and hoping nobody notices.
 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. As of June 2012, Obama likely faces being outspent in his campaign as a result.
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 alternative, as do ordinary voters. As of now, the economy is improving.|
|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. Obama has disappointed many left-wing supporters with such policies as keeping the prison at Guantanamo Bay open, re-signing PATRIOT, and killing an American citizen |
 Primary challengers
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, entered the Democratic primaries against Obama mainly in order to run graphic pro-life ads. He ran strongest in Oklahoma and carried several counties. Likewise, a handful of other obscure primary candidates have had strong showings and carried a number of counties in Arkansas, Louisiana, and West Virginia. "None of the above" ran strongly in Alabama and Kentucky. But those are all states where Obama is unpopular among some rank-and-file Democrats, many of whom are social conservatives, and there were no serious threats to his renomination.
Age: 66, appears 40 thanks to hair dye.
Former governor of Massachusetts
|Advantages: He can appeal to moderates and independents, and could potentially put Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, major states that the Republicans have not won in decades, into play. He has significant experience in both business and as Massachusetts governor. Has access to substantial funding both because of his own wealth and the support of super-PACs, and has been outraising Obama's campaign for quite some time. VP choice Paul Ryan could bring over disaffected conservatives due to his experience with economic policy.|
|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 Religious 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 private equity firm, actually did "downsize" many employees at its targets). Massachusetts ranked 47th in job creation during his time as Governor.
No one actually likes him, although his programmers have learned well how to simulate human emotion. Given that (unlike previous GOP candidates) he has not focused a large part of his campaign on national security issues, he has changed his position multiple times on social issues, and it is difficult for him to attack the President on health care, much of his campaign relies on the assumption that the economy will stay stagnant. Because of how complex the economy is, this is essentially leaving his campaign up to chance.
Adding insult to injury, he has conspicuous bank accounts in several tax havens and is sitting upon years of tax returns, which isn't exactly looking good to the public. While he did release summaries of the other years, none of these disclose his effective tax rates, a major sticking point against his campaign. While VP nominees usually "balance out" a ticket (like a fiscal conservative running with a religious conservative), Ryan will spell doom for votes in (at least) Florida as he is a former Randroid and isn't particularly known for his social conservatism either. His earlier proposal to voucherize Medicare wasn't popular with Republicans, let alone independents. Romney's plan for Medicare is nearly identical as well.
 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 summer of 2011, a number of fundamentalist candidates enjoyed each a few weeks of being the frontrunner and the "not-Romney" of the moment, but whether it was Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum, none of them was able to topple Romney's campaign. Of the challengers, Ron Paul, with a fervent base of followers largely disconnected from the GOP orthodoxy, remained in the running the longest, officially suspending his contesting of the remaining primaries on May 14, 2012.
 Other parties and independents
 Theoretically could win (ballot access to over 270 electoral votes)
- Gary Johnson - official nominee. Former Republican governor of New Mexico.
- Jill Stein - official nominee. Physician.
There were several candidates attempting to win the Americans Elect nomination which was to have been conducted entirely online. On May 15, 2012, Americans Elect announced they were declining to nominate anyone, declaring no candidate had met the threshold for support.
 Have ballot access to fewer than 270 electoral votes
- Virgil Goode - official nominee. Former U.S. Congressman from Virginia, who was in Congress as a Democrat, an independent, and lastly a Republican. What's yet another party switch to him?
- Jack Fellure - 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.
- Roseanne Barr, entertainer, is the nominee of the California-based Peace and Freedom Party with activist Cindy Sheehan as her running mate.
- The Reform Party nominated Andre Barnett, a candidate no one has ever heard of.
- Depending on your state, expect to see candidates on the ballot from the Socialist Party USA (Stewart Alexander), the Party for Socialism and Liberation (Peta Lindsay), the Socialist Workers Party (James Harris), the Socialist Equality Party (Jerry White), and the Freedom Socialist Party (Stephen Durham); as is usual with such dust-ups between the Judean People's Front and the People's Front of Judea, nobody cares.
- The Communist Party USA, as per their policy since the Soviet Union stopped their funding, is not running a candidate and has endorsed Obama.
- 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.
- Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat editions.
- Voter preferences by education - Look familiar?
- The New Yorker: Top Conspiracy Theories of 2012
- ↑ 2012: The Rap Battle
- ↑ http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/09/08/6226/karl-roves-crossroads-has-more-doubled-its-earlier-fundraising-goal-120-million
- ↑ http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/26/health/la-pn-obama-fundraising-plea-says-he-will-be-outspent-20120626
- ↑ The Right Freaks Out As GOP Poll Finds 20% Of Republicans May Vote For Obama
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Mitt Romney Shows Record Shortfall in Personal Popularity in ABC News/Washington Post Poll
- ↑ Double Dose of Good Timing Aiding Obama’s Re-Election Chances
- ↑ Obama’s Re-Election Chances Rise With Signs Economy Improving
- ↑ CNN - "Anti-abortion activist announces run against Obama" January 20, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- ↑ Romney's July fundraising outpaces Obama's
- ↑ http://mediamatters.org/research/201106050009
- ↑ Mitt Romney, a man of falsehoods
- ↑ Called it!
- ↑ Paul Ryan proposal to privatize & voucherize Medicare unpopular with Republicans
- ↑ Politico.com: Americans Elect Without a Candidate