Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nine More Days Until the Next Four Years

Single digits. In terms of days before the U.S. election, we are into single digits. With nine days to go, the two tickets are busily criss-crossing the country and dropping into and out of the swing states that will decide the Presidency.

With nine days to go Super PACs and other lobby / public advocacy groups are making their own final pushes, reaching out through advertising and trying to make their case as to who would be best placed (or more often arguing who is worst placed) to lead the U.S.

And with nine days to go the media is following it all and stoking a sense of anticipation about a close race and a night - November 6th - that will set the tone for the next four years in American politics.

This is the homestretch.

...cue CNN dramatic music with a voice over by a visibly excited Wolf Blitzer.


When you boil it all down, there are essentially two things on which the Obama and Romney campaigns are each focused in these final days:

1. Convince the very few remaining undecided voters to vote for them; and
2. Make sure that their committed voters - their base - is mobilized and ready to get out and vote.

Of the two, the second is probably the most important given that there is such a small slice of the electorate on the fence.

Getting one's base energized, engaged and out on voting day is crucial. At this late stage the candidate who is best able to deliver on this front will likely win.

Voter mobilization will be important for a couple of reasons. The first, and most obvious, is the need to get your supporters out and voting in those areas where you need them the most.

Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire and states like them will decide the campaign. Polling in many of these states is close and therefore making sure your people vote is critical.

Second, while the Electoral College will decide the Presidency both candidates would also like to be able to secure the moral victory by capturing the popular vote. To this end, running up high margins in those states in which you expect to win is also important.

This second point is particularly important for President Obama. As things stand, he is forecast to win the Presidency (most aggregators are giving him odds of anywhere from 60-40 to 75-25).

However, the popular vote is something that could well go to Mr. Romney. Capturing both would do President Obama a world of good as he prepares to tackle the economy and other challenging issues.

Tough decisions are required in the months and years ahead. It would be better for the President to be able to make them without wearing the label of "the guy the majority of Americans voted against."


The point above leads one to start thinking more about 10 days from now and beyond. About what America looks like after this campaign and how it will move through the next few years.

Make no mistake, this is an incredibly divided country. And it is a divided country with big challenges on its plate and tough decisions ahead.

Here are some questions to consider...

1. Post-November 6th, the U.S. will be able to turn the page on the campaign and rhetoric, and focus on the issues at hand?

2. Is the U.S. prepared to have a real conversation about taxes and tax policy?

3. Are the elected officials - House, Senate and the President - finally prepared to get back to the business of governing the country?

A side-story to these questions concerns the Republicans. What might a loss mean to a party already being pulled in two directions? How does the party and the Tea Party react to defeat and what does that mean for American politics?


We are in the homestretch and the final sprint is underway. In nine days time (or thereabouts, depending on late returns and potential court challenges) we will know who will be President of the U.S. for the next four years.

The answer to that question, however, opens up the door to many, many others. After the campaign, the real work begins.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a comment?

Canadian Blogosphere