Friday, April 04, 2008

Election scenarios

By Carol Gee

Looking to the past for answers as to what might happen in the presidential elections this year will not give us predictions. One needs a crystal ball in 2008. Pundits, politicians, pollsters and the public are all anxious to know how things will come out during this voting year. I qualify on two counts of anxiousness, as a quasi-pundit (a blogger), and as someone in the public. But I have no crystal ball. What to do?

Finding the answers is not as simple as asking the experts. The experts have sometimes steered me wrong. Serious blogs or cable news programs often have no more wisdom than comedy. I could look for consensus among the pundits and predict from that. I probably will not find consensus there, as they are all over the map on any given day and too often wrong. Pollsters' public opinion results are fleeting and changeable, mostly good for that day only. No help there. Political candidates are notorious for seeing rosy scenarios (pertaining to themselves), or dire predictions (pertaining to their opponent). So I am on my own without a crystal ball. What I have left is experience, observation, hunches and a sixth sense.

Experience -- Having seen lots of presidents come and go gives me the capacity to step back a bit during the election year. What I do not know I try to find out from news or opinion sources that have more experience than I do. Experience is also a factor with all three of the candidates. Inexperience is not a bar to election if the candidate is surrounded with good people. Remembering that inexperience was not an impediment to Senator John Kennedy's election in the 1960s, I can visualize a scenario where Senator Obama has the same talent for picking good people. These people could conceivably him win the election and then help him govern effectively.

Observation -- Reading the best newspapers and watching or listening to public broadcasting avails me of trustworthy observations about objective reality. Good resources for quality up-to-date and comprehensive information are essential to good judgment. is just such a resource. Memeorandum is another. Many times consistently watching the big picture permits me to infer an overall outcome from within several smaller data points. A great many Obama supporters, including Governor Richardson are unable to articulate why they support him. I am with the Governor in that "there is something" that propels us in Barack Obama's direction. I have observed Obama in action and I like what I see and hear from him.

Hunches -- It is no secret that voters often vote "from the gut," going with a hunch that may not be related to the candidate's position on issues. Having lived in Texas during the term of Governor Bush, I had a hunch that he would make a poor president. This hunch was strong enough that I predicted his defeat in both 2000 and 2004. I have a hunch that the current administration's record of poor governance will somehow influence the outcome of the election, even if only marginally. As for my prediction of who will win in November, remember that my record in '00 and '04 is not so good. But here goes anyway. I think that Senator McCain will lose also. And I have a hunch that this is, again, wishful/magical thinking.

Sixth Sense -- Blog readers choose their favorite opinion makers based on intuitive trust of the blogger. I am in that mold. I have always had a sixth sense about Howard Dean as a leader. It began when he decided to focus on grass roots organizing at the beginning of his tenure. In my opinion he will continue to do a creditable job in leading the Democratic Party. That means I trust him to interpret and enforce the rules of the party, to be fair and evenhanded with the two candidates, and to be a good out-front spokesman for the party, while not assuming that he is THE LEADER of the party. I predict the Democrats will be able to unite around Senator Obama and his chosen running mate in a timely manner, and go on to win the general election at the end of the year.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • Great post! So hard to figure out. This is certainly not Reagan in '84 or Clinton in '96.

    One thing that I'm all but certain of is that the Democrats will hold, and very, very likely increase, their margins in both houses of Congress.

    It's hard to see a scenario where Hillary becomes President, because the nomination is a long shot for her now. The ONLY reason she even has a small shot is because of who she is (which may also be why she won't get nominated!).

    So that leaves Obama vs. McCain. As to the popular vote (and we know from 2000 that doesn't necessarily "count," so to speak, I do not expect a landslide for either candidate, if one defines landlide as a victory of 10 or more percentage points.

    I too look at Realclearpolitics, and the Obama-McCain race would seem to be a statistical dead heat at the moment. If I had a gun pointed at my head, I would say McCain will win the Electoral College (barely), but he will have, as I mentioned, a strongly Democratic Congress to contend with. Basically, keep following general election polls in Ohio, Florida (critical for McCain) and Pennsylvania, Michigan (critical for Obama). In the end, I think McCain will get FL, and Obama will get MI. Then we're down to OH and PA, both extremely close in '04. Other states to keep a look at are little old NH (the ONLY New England state that could go red), and Colorado, which may be primed to turn blue. NM may go for Obama with Richardson in his corner. If Obama polls at all well in VA (even if he does not pick up the electoral votes there), that's a bad sign for McCain.

    In the end, wait for the votes to be counted, and possibly recounted.

    By Blogger QueersOnTheRise, at 8:01 PM  

  • TDN, Thanks for your very fine and incisive comment.

    You are a fine writer, but I hope you're wrong about the outcome, particularly a recount. Our nation needs to be able to trust the election process in the very worst way.

    Certainly the specter of McCain as the winner sends me up a tree.


    By Blogger Carol Gee, at 7:46 AM  

  • I was being fecetious about a recount (I hope:)). McCain winning is just a gut feel. But on Halloween of 2004 I was all but positive Kerry was going to win based on some brand new polls. I thought Bush would win the popular vote in 2000, so what do I know? This is just a gut reaction as of early April, based on some way too early polling data. This is a very volatile race. Running mates for both candidates are going to be absolutely critical! The PA primary will be telling as to Obama's strength in the national election in swing states. On the other hand, McCain's age could hurt him, and Republican's voting AGAINST Obama usually does NOT bring out voters in as large a number as people voting FOR Obama. Seven months away is a politcal life time.

    By Blogger QueersOnTheRise, at 9:48 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home