Ruminating on 3 scenarios for 2013.
Who will win the next presidential election? I’ll put it on record that TRC thinks it will likely be Barack Obama, re-elected to a second term. Why? Here’s two reasons. 1) It’s really hard to defeat a sitting president, and, 2) TRC would really prefer an Obama victory. That’s all I really have on why.
There are various and sundry reasons that President Obama could lose the upcoming election: for example, an economy that, to put it lightly, has yet to begin a noticeable recovery, anger at Obama, fake scandals, etc. And there are many more reasons Obama could win, such as, the GOP field is uninspiring, the devil you know…, and there’s always that pesky detail that Obama has been quite a successful President in terms of the liberal Democratic agenda.
But what’s been ruminating here is not will Barack Obama win the upcoming election, but what happens if he loses? The world will turn, the GOP will have the presidency, and the United States will…what? It’s an interesting thought experiment, because variables are many and scientists who are irresponsibly funded by the government have yet to discover a way to read the future. Here are 3 situations that are not out of the realm of possibility. It’s some situational speculation, for fun, and to remind myself if no one else, this too shall pass.
1. Rick Perry Wins the nomination (somehow) and the Democrats keep the Senate, while Republicans keep the House. What happens?
For comparison, imagine that the current situation exists, only flipped on party lines. Well, politics remains a major CF, and very little is achieved. Gridlock, as they say, captures the president and D.C. despite Perry’s Bush-like announcement that he won Political Capital and he intends to spend it. But President Perry shows a surprising willingness to compromise. Unfortunately for Republicans, he compromises with the Dems on HPV vaccines and education for immigrant children. The GOP goes crazy, like the Dems did on Obama’s Bush Tax Cuts compromise. But they soon realize Perry is only rope-a-doping. Biding his time until he can spend his capital in years 2, 3, and 4 on tea-party legislation that really grinds the government to a halt because the Democrats, by necessity, feel they must stop the Right-Wing Agenda. Despite the constant near shutdown status of the capitol, several major policy changes occur. Predicting those changes is very difficult. But it could be one of any number of options, like repealing Obama’s Health Care overhaul, ending welfare programs, or the like. Also, Christianity pervades the Presidency making church-and-staters terrified of a theocracy, the EPA regulations really are rolled-back, and US efforts towards climate change mitigation officially becomes efforts towards climate change adaptation. The Perry Presidency represents a mixture of In God’s Hands and Political Expediency that terrifies the Democratic Party, and somehow, the nation’s government grinds to an even more harmful stand-still, resulting in a government shutdown fight over how to fund the needed disaster relief for the now constant wildfires in Texas now that tax rates are lowered, programs are cut, and the government is lean and mean. The government shutdowns and the country burns.
A Perry Presidency with split chambers thus receives 5 Michele Bachmann crazy smiles out of a possible 5.
2. Darkhorse Jon Hunstman pulls a John McCain 2008 and wins the nomination. He asks Chris Christie to be his running mate, who agrees, and the two are victorious in 2012. Due to the reasonable-natured appearance of a Huntsman/Christie ticket, the GOP rides the coattails, and retains the House majority and gets a slim majority in the Senate, giving the Republicans control of all three houses. What happens?
Democrats tell themselves it’s going to be okay; at night they remind themselves who could have been president, it could have been the crazies of Perry or Bachmann or Paul and remind themselves that, at the end of the day, at least they got a moderate Republican who worked for Obama. This lasts about 3 months, as President Huntsman slowly unrolls his vision of America. Then, Huntsman unrolls his vision of America, and the Democrats, realizing they were tricked by their own optimism, remember that Huntsman was the GOVERNOR OF UTAH! They remember, there is probably no more a Right-Wing job in the United States than the GOVERNOR OF UTAH! Panic strikes. Huntsman begins tinkering with everything, deregulating industry despite his acceptance of climate change (markets can do it, he’ll say), cutting taxes on the wealthy while cutting programs for the poor (unfair burdens, no nanny state, he’ll say), meanwhile, the most conservative GOP Chambers since history has ever seen (or 1994) will be pushing an agenda that moves America towards isolationism in North America with continued interventionist policies in the middle-East and Asia. Advances towards gay and lesbian equality will stall. Events will transpire pretty much as you would expect when a very conservative majority governs the nation, which sparks fear in the hearts of every Democrat, and rejoicing to the Lord for every Republican. But the American public will tire of a lack of checks and balances, and this will only last 2 years. The Democrats will win the House, but the damage will have been done. Democrats around the country will have nightmares about how, years ago, in a debate that didn’t matter, when asked who would not accept a budget deal with 10 dollars in cuts to 1 dollar in revenues, there was Jon Huntsman, raising his hand, as conservative as anyone else on the stage. And they will crumble at the remembrance that they all fell for one stupid tweet.
A Huntsman Presidency with both chambers for the GOP thus receives 5 pro-science tweets will actually undo science nightmares out of 5.
3. This brings us to the most likely scenario of an Obama loss, as TRC sees it. Despite the craziness of the GOP primary process, and the bonkers nature of the cast of candidates, the expected winner wins the nomination. Thus, President Mitt Romney takes office in 2013. He is accompanied by VP Huntsman, and welcomed before split Chambers. What happens?
Romney does not unroll “Obamacare.” He believes in the model, since, well, he created it. Democrats start to look at President Romney a little differently. Maybe he’s a pragmatist, they say to themselves. Besides, Democrats have a majority in the Senate, and can prevent the most outrageous tea-party legislation that everyone knows will be brought forth. But the nation will yearn for compromise, after a miserable 2012 of US Politics, and President Romney will side with Speaker Cantor on almost all the social issues of the day, keeping favor among many of Republicans (while knowing most won’t pass the Senate), while remaining pragmatic regarding the economy, pleasing some Democrats (though not most). The economy will improve, and the parties will fight over who gets the credit (It was Obama’s Policies that started it! NO! Obama ruined everything, Mitt did Itt!). Things start to improve economically, and the costs of the recession start to move the background, bringing traditional concerns back to the front. And as that happens, President Romney reveals himself to be a disaster at foreign relations. But VP Huntsman and Secretary of State Whomever are more than up to this challenge, enough at least to soothe potential war with China, which the Republican Party still seems to think is an inevitability, despite this being totally impossible and without any reason to expect for at least decades. The country does not destroy itself over party differences, the Tea-Party resigns itself to the realization that it did NOT win the presidency, and Eric Cantor, now the speaker, realizes that his earnest desire to drive the country all the way to the Right doesn’t actually mean that it will happen.
A Romney Presidency with split chambers turns out only to receive 3 Tea-Party exasperating protest signs out of 5.
I could live with that. I think. Maybe. Obama in 2012.