This fall Florida voters face an incredibly important choice about the future of not just our State, but the nation. Four years ago the United States was entering a recession, the likes of which we had not seen in generations. Many of Florida’s main industries – construction, tourism, real estate – were all hammered by the downturn in the economy. Our citizens were looking for a hand up from the government, but instead they got a hand out at their expense.
More than any other nation, America today represents liberty and opportunity. Upon this, leaders of both political parties eagerly agree. For evidence, we need look no further than the past decade, when the United States set a record with the arrival of nearly 14 million immigrants, the majority of whom are Latino.
The lure of liberty has long been a powerful draw for millions of immigrants to America, and immense pride is a mainstay during naturalized citizenship ceremonies throughout the nation. Aside from the Native Americans and those brought here against their will, we are a nation of immigrants.
Florida, and the I-4 corridor, will be ground zero in the 2012 presidential election, and it's choice for president will be the central, deciding factor in who will be sworn in as president. For a variety of reasons, Mitt Romney has an excellent opportunity to take Florida’s electoral votes from Barack Obama.
Florida is a microcosm of the United States with a diverse population. Its voters are similarly focused on jobs and the economy, the key issues in the 2012 election. Florida has been particularly hard hit with devastated real estate and construction industries and unemployment has exceeded national levels throughout the Obama Administration.
With six weeks left until Election Day, President Obama seems poised to win Virginia, again. And, for good measure, Tim Kaine looks likely to win Virginia’s open Senate seat.
Much of the impetus for those victories will come from Northern Virginia.
Perhaps like no other state, Wisconsin has been at the epicenter of the debate between conservative and liberal visions for the country. In 2010, Wisconsinites sent a message to the White House and elected a Republican governor, senator, and two more Republican representatives to support the House Majority.
Wisconsin now has the opportunity to speak out again and help elect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the White House to get our country back on track, rein in the debt, and jumpstart the engine of our economy, the private sector.
Individuals living in Michigan in 2007 and 2008 experienced a sense of hopelessness as month after month Michigan led the nation in unemployment. Day in and day out news stories featured families being broken up as their children left the state looking for a better future. There was a constant fear that the Big Three Automakers, the job base of hundreds of thousands of working families in Michigan, were about to disappear.
For those of us who live in a battleground state like Ohio, at this point in the election, rarely a week goes by that a presidential or vice presidential candidate isn’t traveling somewhere in the Buckeye State campaigning for the support of Ohioans. In fact, Romney just made his 20th visit to Ohio on Friday, September 14. The sheer number of visits by the candidates alone shows how important winning Ohio is to both candidates.
And the candidates are courting Ohioans for good reason. The state’s 18 electoral votes go to the victor and only one president has been elected without winning Ohio since 1944 and that was John F. Kennedy in 1960.
In 2008, when Americans went to the polls, our nation was in dire straits. Unemployment was high. The housing market had collapsed. Our national debt was swelling.
Like a great locomotive, our nation was off the rails, teetering on the edge of a precipice. With great hopes for the future, voters cast their ballots looking forward to the change a new conductor promised.
But three and a half years later, our situation is no less precarious.
It is interesting that in spite of the attacks four years ago and since on Barrack Obama’s inexperience that Governor Romney gets a free pass in spite of having the least amount of relevant experience of any major party nominee since corporate lawyer Wendell Willkie in 1940. In making this judgment I rely on analysis of experience of all past presidents with special note of what set the top performing presidents apart from the less successful according to the three most recent polls of presidential historians (conducted by Siena College, C-SPAN and the University of London) developed as part of a larger research I am conducting. Those results highlight, in addition to total years of relevant experience, the following experience in declining order of significance: prior foreign or national security policy experience, total years as a legislator (state and national), years of senior Washington experience (executive and legislative) and having served as a governor.
Ohio is the birthplace of seven American presidents, second only to Virginia which has produced eight. And if one were to split hairs, you could argue that while William Henry Harrison was born in Charles County, Virginia he actually spent most of his life in Ohio.
Even when Ohio is not putting forth one of its native sons for election to our nation’s highest office, its Electoral College votes and its role as a “swing state” routinely place it at the center of the political world every four years—which is something we Ohioans are used to.