The stars are aligned for Barack Obama’s re-election in November 2012. He won’t join Jimmy Carter to be the second Democrat in 120 years to lose a second term.
Five things are playing in Obama’s favor.
First, the Republicans -- driven by their most conservative members in Congress -- will face a primary with many candidates who will advance harsh ideological positions. Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump and others might as well be on the Democratic National Committee payroll. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s reverse Robin Hood plan to cut more than $6 trillion in spending over a decade will provide the outrage, stoked by a sitting president possessed of verbal discipline.
The field of Republican weaklings is already getting smaller. This week, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour dropped out of the race for the presidency.
Second, the Republican governors’ attacks on unions are turning off the swing voters and Reagan Democrats in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Imagine the voter reaction if millions of workers lose their right to collective bargaining, and the impact that cuts in benefits and wages will have on their lives.
Democratic governors, such as Jerry Brown of California, Pat Quinn of Illinois and Andrew Cuomo of New York, are cutting -- but not taking away -- workers’ bargaining rights. This is a politically useful contrast for Obama. Reagan Democrats, who have won many elections for the Republicans, are a big plus for Obama in the contested states.
Third, no candidates are emerging to challenge Obama in the primaries. A discussion of Obama’s forgotten campaign promises and record would have public support among Democrats. Even so, the liberal base has nowhere to go to send a message about war, free-trade agreements, raising the minimum wage or union membership.
Nor does a third party or independent candidacy pose a threat, given the winner-take-all, two-party system.