Prognosticators of the coming elections have many good arguments as to why Romney will be our next president. Clearly he has incredibly huge funding. He has the ongoing aggressive dislike for Obama by certain groups. And he has the stumbling economy which seems to get only incrementally better as the election approaches. But having said that, there are at least six good reasons why Obama will be reelected (or more accurately, why Romney will lose):
- Romney, to gain nomination, essentially sold his political “soul” to the right wing of his party. On issue after issue he pandered to the right to “prove” his fidelity to their beloved causes. Thus, on such issues as immigration, gun control, abortion, smaller government, less taxes (especially on the wealthy), and virtually every other major issue, he is now wedded to the right. But his largest concession was his abandonment of his own Massachusetts health care plan, and one he is having trouble explaining. Moreover, the right wing in America today is really on the fringe of political thinking; moderation is much more an American preference. How Romney can unhitch himself from the far right will be difficult, and probably impossible.
- Regarding the issues, several Romney now espouses are not popular with key voting segments. Among those his position on immigration, which is offending Hispanic voters; and his inability to gain any traction with other minorities (notably blacks and Muslims). His total refutation of the Affordable Healthcare Act is not going to be popular with most Americans once they learn how some parts (already in operation) will affect them. Finally, his loyalty to the wealthy on tax issues is definitely not a popular stance with voters, most of who feel the wealthy are being given unnecessary and unneeded advantages when it comes to paying a fairer share.
- Also in regard to his new found fidelity to the right, he now presides over a fragmented and poorly unified party. This will not deter Republicans of all stripes from voting for him, but it may diminish their enthusiasm in the electoral process. The right is still suspicious of Romney despite his continued pledges of loyalty; but that turns off moderates who feel their voices are no longer heard in the party. A rock and a hard place for Romney to navigate. The upcoming party conventions represent the unity that resides in each party. G.W. Bush will be absent from the Republican gathering; Bill Clinton will headline the Democratic convention. Additionally, while Romney’s funding has come in massive amounts from a limited number of wealthy donors (unlike Obama), the rank and file with small contributions seems lacking. This seems to indicate wide, but shallow party support for his candidacy.
- Romney has shown a surprising aptitude for creating gaffes and errors – especially in non-scripted venues. As a matter of fact, in his current trip to England and Israel he lurched from “explaining” his position on the Brit’s Olympic preparation to his apparent hostile view of the Palestinians (hardly a template for future negotiations), and expressing his unqualified view of a possible Israeli strike at Iran. All of which he has walked back. These add to numerous other statements going well back to the primaries. His most telling gaffe there was his on camera $10,000 “bet” with Texas Governor Rick Perry. It said volumes about his background and mindset.
- This brings us to the heavy baggage he carries into the election. His wealth alone is not necessarily a deterrent to winning, but his claims of “creating jobs” while at Bain have been mitigated by the facts. Additionally, his non-disclosed bank accounts, presumably in Switzerland, the Caymans, and elsewhere are raising eyebrows, even among Republican supporters. This is exacerbated by his refusal to open more tax returns. Why his reluctance? We don’t know, but voters can probably assume why he objects. Beyond that, Romney has clearly lived a life virtually no American can even imagine, let alone identify with. That cannot be an asset.
- Finally, and the biggest reason Obama will win, are the three October debates in which the two candidates will engage. That brings into play virtually all the aforementioned reasons: his alliance with the right wing of his party; his true results while at Bain; several of his less than popular stands on the issues; his propensity for gaffes; and his lack of transparency on his taxes (and potential off shore holdings). All will come into focus with a skilled moderator in the debates; and all will be difficult for Romney to explain on highly watched prime time venues. Adding to this are the skills and confidence Obama has in the debate arena.