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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Power of Incumbency Implodes the One Term Presidency

http://am.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/14/rep-michele-bachmann-vows-to-make-president-obama-a-one-term-president/

Statisticians and  pollsters like Nate Silver, and others, gave a favorable mathematical weight to President Obama's "power of incumbency" in projecting the 2012 election results.  They ignored purely political projections about the President's re-election chances to focus on statistical probability. Social science predictions debunked political rhetoric.


Indeed, statistics debunked Congresswoman Michele Bachmann sang "one term presidency" mantra.  In fact, the power of the President's incumbency, coupled with his campaign's well designed and strategic re-election plan, imploded her failed prediction.  In January, President Barack Obama will begin his second term as our nation's leader.  Congresswoman Bachmann's mantra debunked.

Bachmann's failed prediction relied on right wing zealots, who she thought would rise again, like those who drowned out the 2010 mid-term elections. Bachmann's political groupies turned the nation's  House of Representatives into an obstructionist arm of our US government. They believed their power of intimidation would work, again, against the incumbent president.

But, what is the "power of incumbency", anyhow ?  

"One important advantage for Obama is that a president, using his bully pulpit, has the ability to dominate the news and drown out the opposition. This is likely (what happened)... when Obama (spoke) at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. It (was an) international forum (unavailable) to his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, who...after all...was simply a (candidate) ...private citizen. Obama (widened) a 'stature gap', that nearly every president enjoys over his challenger, (because of) the respect that the American presidency generates around the world."
http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/Ken-Walshs-Washington/2012/09/24/obama-wields-power-of-incumbency

Although laws protect against the power of incumbency from having an undue advantage over a challenger, often, just the name recognition of an incumbent is enough, in some campaigns, to win an election.  Of course, name recognition isn't typically a factor in Presidential leadership elections.  Nevertheless, the response of the electorate to a name can be very powerful.   

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's mantra about a "one term presidency" didn't carry the weight of negativity, probably, because her personal political negatives outweighed those of the President. 

Obviously, the power of incumbency can be a proverbial albatross. Thankfully, the President's "Health Care Reform" aka "Obamacare" was declared "Constitutional" by the conservative Chief Justice Roberts Supreme Court.  Moreover, voters still hold Republicans accountable for the US economic doldrums.  Otherwise, if either two realities were reversed, the power of incumbency could have reversed, to become the "weight of incumbency".

Yet, Michele Bachmann and minions sincerely believed they could unseat the incumbent President Barack Obama.  They didn't take the mix of voter turnout into consideration.  

Kimberly Strassel writes  "The GOP Turnout Myth: To win future elections, Republicans will need more than better get-out-the-vote software."  http://online.wsj.com/article/potomac_watch.html

"To win the next presidential race, the GOP will have to understand what went wrong in 2012. To do that, they've got to come to grips with what did, and did not, happen with turnout."

"Even as Republicans (agonized) over their candidate and agenda, many have sought comfort in the notion that a big part of the loss came down to simple mechanics. President Obama had a stunning Election Day operation, which turned out his base. Mitt Romney's shop, by contrast, failed to get people to the polls. That explanation is soothing because it suggests that, in the future, all the GOP needs is a slicker piece of get-out-the-vote software."

"It's also broadly wrong....In the end, it was 334,000 votes—in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire—that separated Mr. Romney from the presidency. Then again, had Mr. Romney succeeded in grinding out a narrow victory, it might also have masked the party's bigger problems."

"Because what ought to scare the GOP is this:  (President) Obama (won) by tapping new minority voters in numbers that beat even Mr. Romney's better turnout (that exceeded those who voted in 2008 for Senator John McCain)."

"In Florida, 238,000 more Hispanics voted than in 2008, and Mr. Obama got 60% of Hispanic voters. His total margin of victory in Florida was 78,000 votes, so that demographic alone won it for him. Or consider Ohio, where Mr. Romney won independents by 10 points. (This) lead mattered little, though, given that black turnout increased by 178,000 votes, and the president won 96% of the black vote. Mr. Obama's margin of victory there was 103,000."

Strassel goes on to write, "...Elections are about the candidate and the message, yes, but also about the ground game. Republicans right now are fretting about Mr. Romney's failures and the party's immigration platform—that's fair enough. But equally important (is) the party's mind-boggling failure to institute a competitive Hispanic ground game. The GOP doesn't campaign in (Hispanic) communities, doesn't register voters there, doesn't knock on doors. So, while pre-election polling showed Hispanics were worried about Obama policies, in the end, the only campaign these voters heard from—by email, at their door, on the phone—was the president's."

And, therein, is the "power of incumbency".  If President Obama had "negative" name recognition, or if he weren't already the US incumbent leader, his chances for re-election could have been, statistically, much less likely.  Pundits, statistics and polls notwithstanding, President Barack Obama expertly used his power of incumbency - and he built on the exponential power of the incumbency of his Democratic predecessor President Bill Clinton.

It was a flashback presidential campaign in 3-D "real time".  

In the face of "Monday morning" analysis, President Barack Obama transcended the myth of the "one term president".  He also  provided the value added benefit of politically discrediting Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's right wing supporters. 

President Barack Obama is an extraordinary incumbent candidate. He proved how to win future American elections.  Yes, it's really all about arithmetic, just like President Bill Clinton told us. "It's about the voters, stupid!"

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