Around six months from now, we will very likely know who the Presidential candidates are. Despite the talk of challenges to Obama, he is certain to be the nominee for the Democrats and, thanks to Jerry Brown and the California Legislature; he might have a formidable Republican challenger this time around.
In a state the size of California, the candidate with the most money wins the Republican nomination. The Republicans with the most money are liberal Republicans. Had the California Primary remained where it was, in February, liberal Republican Mitt Romney would very likely have won California.
California Republicans have what is known as a "Winner Take All" primary. The Republican Presidential candidate who wins the most votes, even if it is just a plurality, wins all of the delegates from this state to take with him to the National Republican Convention. With California out of the running, this state is no longer relevant. The Republican National Committee just approved new rules (see below).
Without California's delegates, Romney's chances of winning the nomination are greatly diminished. By the time Californians get a chance to vote in a primary, the election will have been decided.
Romney decided not to campaign in this weekend's Iowa straw poll (which he won four years ago). Just as well, he came in 7th, just behind Texas Governor Rick Perry who was not even on the ballot (Romney was, Perry's votes were write-ins).
Representative Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll, just ahead of retiring Texas Representative Ron Paul. The rest of the candidates were distant also rans. The four Republican Presidential candidates from this point on are: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and Texas governor Rick Perry who just announced his candidacy today.
There will be the usual spin doctors after the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary who should be fined each time they mention the word "momentum." Florida and Michigan have yet to set a primary election date and the newly adopted Republican National convention rules provides for proportional representation for delegates chosen before April 1st, unless the Democrats change their schedule in which case the 2008 rules would apply.
The only states allowed to hold a Republican Primary or Caucus before the first Tuesday in March are; Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. All states where the Conservative/Libertarian/Tea Party candidates have the edge.
Although Michigan is technically closed to Republicans, to vote in the Republican primary all one has to do is to say he is a Republican. You can be certain that the Democrats will encourage their voters to declare themselves Republicans and to vote for the candidate the Democrat National Party views as Obama's weakest opponent.
Obama, by the way, just hit an all time low in the polls and his unfavorable rating is just shy of its record high.
The official unemployment rate was reported at 9.1% on August 5th. The real unemployment rate remains in the double digits. When Obama was elected President, the official unemployment rate was 6.5%. Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980 when the unemployment rate was around 7.5%. Papa Bush lost to Bill Clinton when the unemployment rate was around 7.4%.
The only President who won reelection with a relatively high unemployment rate in recent decades was Ronald Regan in 1984 and therein lies Obama's only real hope for reelection. In December of 1982, the unemployment rate was 10.8% which fell sharply, and continued to fall sharply to 5.3% by the November 1988 election.
The Reagan economic recovery only occurred because President Reagan and the Congress slashed the tax rates, and made other changes to the tax code which encouraged job creation. Something we have not seen since and certainly will not see with Obama as President. Contrary to what the Democrats and mainstream press tell you, the government does not create jobs. Every government employee results in a net loss to the total employment rate. Remember when they had communist economies in the Soviet Union and China? Everyone had a job (or else). Everyone, except for the top 5% who controlled the country were also living in dreadful poverty. Capitalism, you should try it sometime.
Even if one assumes that unemployment peaked in October of 2009, we have not had this high of an unemployment rate for this long of a period since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Even if Obama and the Congress were to enact the same tax cuts and incentives today that Reagan signed into law nearly 30 years ago, it took a year and a half for unemployment to fall to around 7.5%. Declines in unemployment have not been as rapid since.
Political activists believe that people vote based on political beliefs, they don't, or at least they don't when the economy is bad. During poor economic times, unless the economy is rapidly improving, voters make their election choices based on the economy.
Which means even a Mitt Romney could be elected President. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.