Thursday, November 1, 2012

The 2012 Presidential Election

Hello, everybody.  As you can see, I have decided to remove all of my old blog posts and start over.  I have decided to do this because some of those posts are four years old, and most of them are at least two.  Most of the stuff that was posted was quite irrelevant, however, some of it was funny, and some of it was crude (Barney Frank is now retired, so no more "Dancing Queen" references).  I got really burned out on the whole blogging process.  After some cajoling by friends of mine, I have decided to give this another try.  The last week of November or first week of December, expect a recap and summary related to the Iowa Hawkeyes football team, and college football in general.  In the Christmas-New Years time frame, expect a discussion on the "fiscal cliff"/tax reform, and my life going into 2013.  Tonight, I will be discussing the only issue that is really relevant for the next five days, who will become the next President of the United States (POTUS).

Before I give you my opinions on where I think things will end up, and/or where I want them to end up, I thought I would give everyone a primer on what to expect on election night.  For those of you that forgot your high school government/civics class, the POTUS is not determined by total United States popular vote (Al Gore wishes it was, of course.  It would not have mattered had one of two things happened:  he wins his home state (TN), or if a few hundred of his voters in Florida were so stupid that they couldn't understand the ballot and mistakenly voted for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore), but it is determined by the electoral college (legislatures in a few states have passed a law pledging their delegates to the winner of the national popular vote, but only when enough states that amass at least 270 electoral votes do the same thing might this apply.  Smaller states (like Iowa) should oppose this since this will reduce their electoral power).  Every state gets 1 delegate per house member plus 1 delegate per senator.  This puts us at 535.  For some reason, somebody thought Washington DC, which is not a state, also deserved 3 delegates.  Since DC typically votes 90/10 in favor of the Democrats, I feel they should not have this right as they are not a state.  But I digress.  It takes 270 electoral votes to be the winner.  It could end in a 269-269 tie, but if you want to know what happens then, I will let you research it.  At this point, I can guarantee with virtual certainty, who will win 38 states (plus DC).  Barack Obama will win the following 15 states (plus DC):  CA, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, MD, MA, ME, NY, RI, VT, WA, NJ, NM, OR.  Mitt Romney will win the following 23 states:  AL, AK, AR, GA, ID, KS, KY, LA, MS, MT, NE, ND, OK, SC, SD, TN,, TX, UT, WV, WY, AZ, IN, MO.  The last three states on both lists have a slight chance of breaking the other way.  If any of those do, I expect the winner of the crossover state to win.  Both lists get both candidates to 191 electoral votes.  There are twelve states left.  Of the 12, Mitt Romney MUST win FL (29 EV), NC (13), VA (15) to win the Presidency.  Barack Obama MUST win MI (16), MN (10), PA (20) to retain the Presidency.  If any of these 6 states flip the other way, the loser is in major trouble and is likely to lose.

If form holds as listed above, Mitt Romney will have 248 electoral votes, Barack Obama will have 237 electoral votes.  Of the 6 states left, OH is the linchpin.  The winner of OH (18 EV) will have a huge leg up.  If Romney wins OH, he will only need one more state of the remaining six to win.  If Barack Obama wins OH, he will need 15 more electoral votes (2-3 states) to win.  The other five states have the following electoral votes:  WI (10 EV), CO (9), IA (6), NV (6), & NH (4).

Here is what I think (fear) will happen:  Mitt Romney will win the popular vote by between .5% and 1%, and I think Romney will win CO, NH, and IA (possibly after a recount), however, a few wayward souls (or dead people Democrats "magically" find voted, or made up, like in Hennepin County, MN, which gave us Sen. Al Franken, which gave us Obamacare) in OH (definitely after a recount), WI (possibly after a recount), & NV will put Barack Obama back in the White House by a 271-267 electoral college victory.  If this happens (I really hope not), you thought we had a divided country before, just wait.  What I hope happens is that Mitt Romney wins all six swing states, plus PA, to win 321-217, and wins the popular vote by 2-3%.  This will give Romney the mandate he needs to be able to bring some capitalism back to the USA.  Remember the Larry Kudlow creed "free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity."  Obama is a redistributionist, and expect taking more from the productive and giving to the non-productive under a second Obama term.

On the down ballot races, I hope almost more than Romney beats Obama that Tom Latham beats Leonard Boswell in IA House 3.  Tom Latham is an honorable man who has been a good representative for Iowa.  Leonard Boswell is an old man who needs to go away.  Steve King will beat Christe Vilsack in IA House 4, thanks to all the people in "God's country," and you know who you are.  I do believe Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack will hang on in eastern Iowa.  This will leave Iowa with an even split between Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa  US House and Iowa  US Senate delegations.  On the state level, I expect the Republicans to reclaim the Iowa Senate (hopefully Mike Gronstal gets upset, that would be icing on the cake), giving Iowa Republicans control of both legislative branches and the Governor's mansion.  This will at least give Iowa a chance to fix a few important things, like property tax reform, outlawing traffic enforcement ("red light") cameras, and taking on the government unions that blow a large hole in Iowa's budget every year.

I intentionally left one final ballot issue until the end of this post.  The issue is whether to retain Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.  For those who have forgotten, Justice Wiggins voted to ratify that gay marriage is allowed under the Iowa constitution.  Three other justices who voted to ratify gay marriage were unceremoniously thrown off the Iowa Supreme Court by voters in 2010.  The other three justices who ratified gay marriage are not up until 2016.  In mid-September, I had a long conversation with Justice Bruce Zager, who was one of the three judges appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court.  To his credit, Justice Zager was not politicking in any way to be reappointed (new Iowa justices must be affirmed by the Iowa people the next statewide election upon appointment, and then every 8 years thereafter), and I came away with a new respect for judges in general.  I will definitely vote to retain the three new justices (I use to automatically vote against all judges as my way to get back against the legal systems because I had a large disdain for lawyers (this has softened a bit since I now know a few lawyers and know they are not all ambulance chasers and crooks)).  As far as Justice Wiggins goes, I have gone back and forth.  On one hand, a judge should only be thrown out if the Justice committed a crime, or some other malfeasance.  On the other hand, judges are to "interpret" law, not "make" law.  I feel that gay marriage is not allowed anywhere in the constitution of Iowa, and should have never been allowed.  I am really torn on this one.  I also don't think the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association should have any say on Justices (since most trial lawyers lean toward being liberal), but that is beside the point.  In the end, I will likely vote to retain Justice Wiggins, but I reserve the right to change my mind between now and election day.

On a related topic, early voting should not be allowed until the Friday before election day, not 6 weeks before the election as it currently is in Iowa.  Also, any sane person should believe you need a photo ID to vote.  You need one for almost anything else, why not to vote.  Finally, whomever wins the Presidency will inherit a mess with the "fiscal cliff" with a dysfunctional Congress.  We will discuss this in a later posting.

I am trying to figure out how to do a twitter chat (@tomwelchans) on election night.  I will take any advice I can get on that.  You can all agree with or make fun of my political views.  I encourage you to go vote for whomever you think will be the best for this country.  Be sure you vote on Tuesday, unless, you are going to vote for Barack Obama, then go vote on Wednesday (just kidding).

Until next time.