From the dawn of the republic, no president has ever won consecutive terms while drawing less support (in both the electoral college and the popular vote) in his second bid for election than he did in the first successful campaign. In other words, presidents who win reelection manage to earn more backers, not more opponents, during their first four years in the White House. If, on the other hand, their critics multiply and the pool of admirers shrinks in response to their record of leadership, the embattled president always loses. When some significant portion of the voters who backed a president the first time now feel disillusioned and join the opposition (or stay home), and if the incumbent can’t replace these losses with comparable gains from people who rejected him four years before, it’s an indication of a failed presidency.
Those who doubt the relevance of this rule to the present race should address a revealing question: what’s more common in today’s public discourse—people who say they voted for Barack Obama but now feel disappointed and betrayed, or voices declaring that they backed John McCain four years ago but now support the president because they’re inspired by the magnificent job he’s done?
The energy from Democrats in 2008 is not being replicated in 2012. Obama cannot run on his record since almost everyone of his policies are underwater in the polls. My wife (The Good Democrat) is still pro-Obama, and as a solid Democrat will always be. She is one of the votes that the Democrats can always rely on. But her zeal is not there. She is only voting for Obama because she feels she has to. No more inspirational speeches, or re-reading fictionalized autobiographies. She is just plodding along trying to soldier on in spite of the situation.
Sort of like me in 2008. I didn't like McCain, was enthused by Palin before her drubbing, but glad to see George W. go. In fact, you could trace the lack of Republican enthusiasm back to 2006 when the Abramoff scandal was all the rage. Unfairly or not, the accusations by the current Obama press secretary coterie weighed heavily. Of course, it was also weighed down by No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and other social engineering programs that have nothing to do with the Republican tenets of limited government.
I was thinking about this yesterday when I came to the realization that the Republicans/conservatives are the ones who actually do decide the election. Like I said, there was a disillusionment with the Republicans in 2006 and malaise by the time 2008 came around. But now, there is a significant amount of energy that is directed against the current resident of the White House and the Democratic senators who are his enablers. This is not taking place in the form of demonstrations. In fact, since the Tea Party has been so viciously libeled and slandered for wanting effective but limited government, the only times that you see them anymore is at the ballot box. And they are just as fired up as before.
As the article notes, you don't find many people who are saying that they voted for McCain but now are going to vote for Obama. But you do see a lot of listlessness in Democrats and energy in Republicans.
The net result may be the largest electoral win by a Republican since 1980. And we owe it all to the incompetence, outright lies, corruption and crony capitalism of the current administration.