Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

In the new norm, neither party has clear or durable mandate

By a slight margin, the American electorate has now given President Obama more time. Yet, after three straight change elections, 2012 will certainly go down as a status-quo year. In January, President Barack Obama will greet a 113th Congress that looks very much like the 112th: A House controlled by Republicans and a Senate controlled by Democrats.

Soon we will know if the next two years will look like the last two. The fiscal cliff is on the horizon. Will these same players choose compromise or gridlock? More broadly though, the elections of 2012 confirm a trend that has now lasted some 40 years with no end in sight. While intense partisanship is at historically high levels, the American electorate has also grown accustomed to – if not altogether comfortable with – voting for divided government.
This is the new norm, but it wasn’t always this way. Perhaps it is time to consider the consequences of elections whereby the voters give no clear mandate to either party to set a policy agenda.

Let’s first look at the old norm in American politics.

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Now Obama must act boldly to solve nation's problems

In January 2010, in an article in the International Journal of Information 
Systems, I first predicted Barack Obama’s victory in 2012. I based this positive, long-range verdict for Obama on the keys to the White House. The keys are a historically based prediction system that I developed in 1981 through collaboration with Volodia Keilis-Borok, a world-renowned authority on the mathematics of prediction models. 

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The permanent two-term presidency

Yesterday’s win for President Obama may herald the permanent two-term Presidency. The last three of four presidents or -- if you count George H. W. Bush as the third term of the Reagan presidency -- the last four of five, have won re-election and served multiple terms. This pattern has occurred despite the fact that in each case, simple logic might have predicted otherwise. Clinton won versus a Senate legend, Bob Dole; Bush defeated a popular war hero, John Kerry; and Obama defeated a successful governor from a moderate state, Governor Romney. Moreover, Clinton won despite a crushing defeat in the mid-term elections in 1994, Bush won in 2004 amidst two contentious wars and Obama has now won notwithstanding four years of poor economic performance and unchanged job numbers. So why might this be the case?

There are at least three reasons drawn from the political science literature: centralization, polarization, and technology.

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Obama recognized importance of Asia early on

President Obama knows that America is and always will be a Pacific nation and that, in the 21st century, it is more important than ever that the United States play a role in shaping the future of the Asia Pacific region. No other U.S. President in history has had such a deep understanding of the vibrancy of Asia. But that’s no surprise. As he said earlier this year: “When I think about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, I think about my family.”

The president carries a deep personal connection to the Asia-Pacific, from his birth in Hawaii to the time he spent in Indonesia as a young man. As he has said, “This is a community that helped to make me who I am today. It’s a community that helped make America the country that it is today.”

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Bullying and using employees for political purposes is objectionable

That corporations have a free speech right to spend millions on political TV advertising because of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is common knowledge. 

Less discussed is how the decision elevated corporations’ political rights over their employees’. Numerous corporations have evidently concluded that it is now perfectly legal to impose management’s political views on the workforce, stamping on the rights of working voters to engage in free and frank political discussion without fear of retribution.

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Enough of Romney's 'fuzzy math'

I read with much consternation David Brooks and the DesMoines Register's endorsements of Romney days ago. Their endorsements boil down to a simple, profoundly misguided point: vote for Romney because he would secure a debt deal with Congress.

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Tomorrow's fight for American values

In America, we take care of each other, we support one another, and we look out for our neighbors. When times get tough, we lend a helping hand, we lift up those around us, and we stand by those in need. In America, the dreamers, the disabled and the disadvantaged are not left to defend themselves, alone in their struggles. We have their back. But this is not Mitt Romney's plan for America's future, far from it. In Romney's America, you are alone, in a world of privatized profiteers, to fend for yourself. No lift, no support, and no helping hand.

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Healthcare law on the ballot

Ezra Klein is right. In a recent Washington Post column, the left-leaning policy wonk laid plain that the future of ObamaCare is at stake in next week’s elections. If President Obama wins and Democrats hold the Senate, the Affordable Care Act will survive. If Mitt Romney wins and Republicans take the Senate, the law is dead. It is the starkest of differences.
 
How likely is each scenario? At this moment Democrats have the advantage. According to Real Clear Politics, the president is running slightly ahead in six out of ten battleground states. He could actually lose seven of these, but still be reelected if he hangs onto Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

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Social media narrative suggests a Romney victory

On Tuesday, November 6, the exit polls will finally explain what voters in the 2012 presidential election were actually thinking, their underlying motivations and intentions stripped bare for all to see. After all, pollsters simply ask people who just voted how they voted; the voters answer the question and you now have a precise record of their vote. Right?

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Paul Ryan's policies will hurt poor, not help them

In a recent speech about poverty at Cleveland State University, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) struck a moderate tone while doubling down on policies that will take us back to an era when our most vulnerable neighbors were on their own.

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