Presidential Election 2012

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The Presidential Election 2012 is on Tuesday, November 6, when the United States elects a president. Candidates are expected to file formal papers indicating their interest in early 2011; many were quietly lining up support throughout 2010. The key early primaries are Iowa (caucuses), New Hampshire, Nevada (caucuses), South Carolina.[1] Obama's declining popularity across all voter demographics has stirred talk he may face a primary challenge. Liberal Mike Bloomberg might run as an independent, splitting votes with Obama.

The Presidential Election 2012 features "stalking horse" candidates in the primary, just as McCain backers used Fred Thompson in 2008 to prevent Mitt Romney from winning. Thompson was undeservedly promoted by pro-life groups and the Fox News Channel, and thereby siphoned off pro-lifers and other conservatives from Romney. Then Thompson withdrew and endorsed McCain. Mike Huckabee is a stalking horse for Newt Gingrich in 2012. Stalking horses for Mitt Romney are likely Rick Santorum and Chris Christie.

Ranking of Potential Republican Candidates by Likelihood of Winning Nomination

Candidate Pros Cons Fox News Exposure
Mitt Romney First runner-up in 2008, business experience, Republican governor of a Democratic state, cut taxes and the deficit, prodigious fundraiser and tireless campaigner, polling at 40% in the key early primary state of New Hampshire, credited for helping Scott Brown win an upset victory for the seat long held by Ted Kennedy. Likely to be endorsed by Chris Christie, Trent Lott, Rick Santorum, Marsha Blackburn, Jim Talent, etc. Once supported abortion rights and civil unions, criticized by the Tea Party Express chairwoman and others due to his ObamaCare-like health plan in Massachusetts, which included mandatory insurance and taxpayer-funded abortion; struggles in Iowa and won only 15% in the South Carolina primary in 2008. Sometimes on Fox
Donald Trump Tied for number 1 in Gallup Poll[2]; willing to challenge Obama's refusal to produce his birth certificate, and is also willing to criticize liberal media; has business savvy and resources as a billionaire; is well-known.[3] His unscripted, abrasive and arrogant style may be just what voters want. Criticized for his ego and has not been elected to a federal position before Sometimes on Fox
Newt Gingrich Articulate, credited with 1994 landslide, balanced the federal budget in the Clinton era, leader in fundraising, likely to obtain endorsement of older "right to life" groups against Mitt;[4] has the stalking horses of Mike Huckabee and possibly Sarah Palin to help him win the nomination. Struggled to win reelections in his own congressional district; voted to establish the federal Department of Education as a freshman Congressman, has previously endorsed liberal ideas like "cap-and-trade" (global warming hoax) and a Con Con; resigned as Speaker rather than follow through with the impeachment of Bill Clinton; divorced twice and married three times, most recently to a women 23 years younger than he; has never won statewide office; Sarah Palin is suggesting that she may not pull out and this would prevent Newt from defeating Mitt. Promoted almost daily by Fox
Michele Bachmann A movement conservative who "knocked the ball out of the park" with her nationally televised response to Obama's State of the Union address in January 2011, Bachmann is increasingly popular with the Tea Party movement; she is a strong fundraiser and won a stunning 52-40% landslide in 2010 in a liberal-leaning district in Minnesota. Did very well at CPAC in Feb. 2011. As with Ronald Reagan, liberal bias is at its worst against her; she's said she's not running for president this soon[5] and pulled out of the "Values Voter Summit" (Family Research Council convention) straw poll in September 2010; has never won statewide office; not picking up strong Tea Party support, as Ron Paul did not support her for a House leadership position and did not join her Tea Party caucus. Rarely on Fox anymore, which prefers Palin and especially Newt
Jeb Bush Bush-adviser Dick Cheney predicts that a Republican will become president in 2012, which would force Jeb to wait until 2020 if he doesn't run now; Jeb is giving interviews as though he were a candidate and can enter the race late and still win the nomination; George W. Bush's book sold far better than expectations, making the name an asset again; Jeb could unite the Republican Party with a late candidacy; Jeb is less likely to wait for 2016 as Obama's approval ratings fall and a Republican victory seems likely in 2012; Jeb is more conservative than his brother George W. Bush, and sure to win pivotal Florida; Jeb has already criticized Palin as a rival candidate might;[6] Jeb published an editorial on Jan. 3, 2011 taking credit for saving Florida public schools with vouchers.[7] Polls unusually poorly (54-34%) against Barack Obama;[8] Jeb says he does not intend to run in 2012, when he could still be tagged with negatives via George; not liked by many Tea Partiers; might wait to run when Hillary runs. Rarely appears on Fox
Rand Paul Could be the next Ronald Reagan; is the heir-apparent to massive support for Ron Paul; won the U.S. Senate seat by a 56-44% landslide in 2010, despite an intense effort by liberals to smear and defeat him; is 100% pro-life. Failure of Congress to cut spending enhances likelihood that voters will turn to someone strong on reducing government. Rand has strong momentum now from his landslide victory, but his dad will likely run again in 2012 while Rand pursues his Senate career. Rand could first campaign for his dad and then become the candidate if voters think he has a better opportunity to win, but time is running our for Rand to assert himself as the candidate in 2012. Other stations have him on more than Fox does
Sarah Palin Empathetic, attracts crowds, personally pro-life, fiscal conservative, popular, track record of supporting upset victories in primaries; has a popular television series and book tour that emphasizes the grassroots rather than the "inside the Beltway" mentality. Relies heavily on Facebook, but it was crushed by The King's Speech at the Oscars - an omen, perhaps? Her taxation policies were somewhat liberal.[9] Appointed a former Planned Parenthood board member to the Alaska Supreme Court and inexplicably resigned early as governor; could merely be a stalking horse for Newt Gingrich; lags in fundraising despite publicity,[4] came in a disappointing fifth in the Values Voter Summit in September 2010 and fared badly at CPAC. Favorability rating is only 22%, compared to a 48% unfavorable rating.[10] Several of her prominent 2010 candidates (Ken Buck, Joe Miller, Christine O'Donnell) struck out on Nov. 2nd, and recently many Republicans from George W. Bush to Peggy Noonan have been critical of her.[11] Promoted heavily by Fox
Marco Rubio The Republican Party will want this freshman U.S. Senator in the primary debates, which he's then likely to win because of his charisma, stronger stance on social issues, and Tea Party appeal; in the general election he would pull Florida and many Hispanic voters away from the Democrats. Will face the liberal double standard: what's OK for Obama (e.g., inexperience) is somehow not OK for a conservative. Some Republican voters may think he's really running to be selected as Vice President. Did not seek Palin endorsement; sometimes on Fox
Haley Barbour Rose in ranking based on the victory of his choice as the new RNC chairman;[12] has a conservative record as governor of Mississippi; was a consummate lobbyist and could raise many tens of millions for a campaign. Rarely seen at conservative conferences, and a Republican from the Deep South may have trouble attracting independent voters. Rarely on Fox
Tim Pawlenty Young; popular in his home state of Minnesota (but never won with more than 50% of the vote) Still not well known outside of Minnesota; supported the liberal cap and trade; accepted stimulus funds after arguing against them; lacks a socially conservative base or any appeal that would attract support away from the front-runners; arranged a meeting with a liberal medical society in 2003 in order to cave into the pro-abortion side by downplaying medical harm caused by abortion,[13] despite hard-fought passage of the Woman's Right to Know Act mandating disclosure Sometimes on Fox
Chris Christie Leads Barack Obama in Zogby's polling (January 2011), takes on the public school teachers' unions and is a fiscal reformer who puts liberals in their place, has an unscripted style and appearance that is a refreshing alternative to the Teleprompter President. Picked a pro-abortion running mate when he ran for governor, and has little experience with national issues; repeatedly says he is not running; campaigned for RINO Mike Castle in Delaware who was then defeated; neither added New Jersey to one of the lawsuits against ObamaCare nor joined an amicus brief against it; will probably support Mitt Romney. Promoted heavily by Fox
Herman Cain Former Godfathers Pizza CEO, conservative radio host, Tea Party favorite, tremendous speaker, triumphed over a health problem, and apparently is running. [14] Not well known outside the conservative sphere of influence. Rarely on Fox
Ron Paul Won the CPAC poll, is strong in national polls, can raise the money needed to win; people may look to an anti-war Republican Voted twice to repeal DADT, which the vast majority of Republican primary voters support; opposed Bachmann for a leadership position; his age (76 in 2012) will be used against him; has never won statewide office. Excluded by Fox because he opposes the war
Steve King A conservative Iowa congressman who could win the Iowa caucuses; resonates well with independents; recommended by Bachmann[5] Not well known yet; has never won statewide office. Excluded by Fox
Mike Huckabee Pro-life in rhetoric, pro-Second Amendment and pro-Bible; strong in polling, particularly among evangelicals Stuck at 20-30% without any way to gain broader support needed to win; could be a stalking horse for Newt; also supporter of big government, as governor raised taxes and increased state spending, released man who later killed officers; disliked by CPAC-types and by Club for Growth; might decide to sit this one out;[15] supported the cave-in by the Republican leadership to continue funding Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider) as part of the budget deal in April 2011. Promoted by Fox with his own show
Rick Perry Conservative-talking governor who has run Texas for a decade (since George W. Bush became president); crushed RINO Kay Bailey Hutchison in the 2010 primary and then won a landslide in the general election against a popular opponent, carrying others to victory on his strong coattails; has a stellar jobs record in his State and which he can contrast with liberal-run states like California, Nevada, Illinois, and New York More conservative in his rhetoric than his policies; endorsed RINO Rudy Giuliani in 2008; tried to force all schoolgirls to receive the HPV vaccine; raised business taxes while governor; supports exceptions for allowing abortion; and responded to a reporter's question on Dec. 24, 2010 that he's definitely not running. Rarely on Fox
Allen West 'America First' conservative patriot, Lt. Col West knows leadership from experience. He won the Florida U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 2010 Midterm Elections, and kept a high profile ever since. Sports a crew cut, rises above petty inside the Beltway bickering, and carries a camouflage bag rather than a briefcase New to national politics, not well known and maybe a future presidential candidate beyond 2012. Rarely on Fox
Ken Cuccinelli Has won statewide office. Leader in challenging ObamaCare, advancing pro-life principles, and opposing the global warming hoax, including investigating Liberal University of Virginia's involvement in the Climategate scandal. Wants to stop the homosexual agenda prevalent at the University of Virginia and other Virginia universities. Only 42 years old, he'll probably become governor of Virginia before running for president. Not as frequent a speaker at Tea Party events as others, such as Steve King and Michele Bachmann. Also, Cuccinelli may be more influential on domestic policy in his current position than a president is. On Fox because he's been so newsworthy
Rick Santorum Outspoken supporter of conservative values as a senator, well-received by Iowan evangelicals at campaign-like event in March 2010 His all-out support of RINO and now-Democrat Arlen Specter prevented Pat Toomey from defeating him in 2002, and Santorum endorsed Romney for President in 2008; could simply be a stalking horse for Romney Promoted on Fox
Jim DeMint strong support by social conservatives, libertarians,[16] Tea Party, and evangelicals; a tenacious advocate willing to criticize Obama stated at a conservative conference in July 2010 that he is not running for president, but after Mike Pence pulled out in Jan. 2011 Jim DeMint is showing interest again, before announcing again in late March that he is not running; as a Southern conservative, he would need to work hard to gain support in Iowa and New Hampshire, the key early primary states[17] Often on Fox
Bobby Jindal Conservative Governor of Louisiana, strong critic of Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill in the summer of 2010 Not well known yet; says he's not running for president. Promoted somewhat by Fox`
Mike Pence Communicates a very strong conservative message: "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order." Won straw poll held at the Values Voter Summit in September 2010. On Nov. 3rd, gave up his House leadership position apparently to prepare to run for president. Announced on Jan. 27, 2011 that he's not running for president; previously he unsuccessfully proposed a "comprehensive" immigration plan that was widely criticized by conservatives; lacks legislative achievements; not well-known and has never won statewide office; either he or Huckabee could become a stalking horse for Newt Gingrich with respect to evangelical voters in Iowa Sometimes on Fox
Mitch Daniels Rust Belt Governor, effective critic of the Obama administration, being promoted heavily by neoconservatives Sided with Democrats in 2011 in opposing right-to-work legislation, unknown nationally, criticized when he tried to downplay significance of social issues, not telegenic, lacks a socially conservative base, and his state budget relies heavily on gambling revenue Promoted by Fox; featured first on its "12 for 2012" series.
Todd Akin A movement conservative from Missouri, which he serves as a congressman Not well known yet Rarely allowed on Fox`
Bob McDonnell Won landslide election as Virginia governor; has Obama's height Not widely known yet, but gave Republican response to State of the Union; seemed more conservative as a candidate than as governor Rarely allowed on Fox
Gary Johnson Former libertarian two-term governor of New Mexico, he has been recommended by Ron Paul if Dr. Paul does not run for president; Johnson is a strong advocate of less government. Like other libertarians but unlike most Republicans, Johnson favors legalizing marijuana, expanding legal immigration and allowing same-sex unions. Given the likelihood that Ron Paul will run, there is very little potential support for Gary Johnson in this election cycle. Excluded by Fox, which opposes libertarians
Rudy Giuliani Widely respected for his post-9/11 leadership in New York City Struck out completely as a candidate in 2008; very weak on important social issues; cross-dressing for comedic purposes when it suited him Frequently on Fox
Dick Cheney Prominent and consistent opposition to Obama Of dubious health; has explicitly disavowed interest in running Has been on Fox; daughter is a commentator for Fox
John Bolton Expert on foreign policy and national security issues [18] Polarizing figure that Democrats refused to appoint to permanent UN position Frequently on Fox; both focus on foreign policy
Jon Huntsman, Jr. Has foreign policy and executive experience. Worked in the Obama administration; Criticised the economic stimulus package as not being big enough, favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform, supports civil unions, and is a believer in man-made global warming. Excluded by Fox
Fred Thompson Former Republican Senator from Tennessee, former presidential candidate, has a loyal following Hollywood type, sided with McCain in campaign finance laws that the Supreme Court overturned. Sometimes on Fox
Scott Brown Proven ability to appeal to moderate voters even in a blue state Inexperience; already voting with the Democrats in the Senate; voted to repeal DADT Has been on Fox
John Thune Defeated Tom Daschle, relatively conservative voting record for a senator; also taller than Obama, and enjoys broad support Announced on Feb. 22, 2011 that he's not running; may lack an essential "fire in the belly";[19] voted for TARP financial bailout[20] and McCain-Feingold campaign finance; no-show at some conservative events; hasn't effectively criticized Obama; could simply become a stalking horse candidate for Gingrich Rarely on Fox, but featured in a cover story by the Weekly Standard
Jan Brewer In 2010, stood up to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on issue of illegal aliens Caved in to the liberals in vetoing legislation requiring a birth certificate to get on the presidential ballot for Arizona in 2012; if Brewer ever was conservative, she seems increasingly less so Was often on Fox during 2010 due to Arizona lawsuit

The Chess Game for the Republican Party

Short form

The short-form analysis is that 2012 will be a replay of 2008 with Newt Gingrich trying to play the role of John McCain. Also, Sarah Palin may run along with Mike Huckabee to contest for early primaries before dropping out and endorsing Newt.

The challenge for social conservatives is to run a candidate, such as Marco Rubio, who can capture the large Tea Party and evangelical voting blocs despite the stalking horse candidacies of Palin and Huckabee.

Long form

There are three key steps to the Republican nomination: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. It's a chess game for Mitt and Newt to try to emerge from those three as the leader.

There are four basic components of the Republican Party. To win the nomination, a candidate needs to obtain the support of at least two out of four:[21]

  1. social conservatives (pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Republican Party platform)
  2. libertarians (lower taxes, less government, pro-business, anti-union)
  3. religious voters (Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, evangelicals, Mormons)
  4. neoconservatives (foreign intervention, "better" government)

In 2008, John McCain won the nomination by capturing the support of 1 and 4 above. Ron Paul had the support of 2. Mitt Romney enjoyed support by 2 and part of 3. Mike Huckabee had support of 1 and part of 3. The division of 3 by Romney and Huckabee caused them to block each other: Huckabee blocked Romney in Iowa, and Romney returned the favor in New Hampshire. This dynamic prevented either from winning the nomination.

In 2000, George Bush won with the support of 1 and 3. But John McCain enjoyed the support from 2 and 4 and this enabled him to win the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, giving Bush a close contest. Some felt McCain mishandled his victory in Michigan.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan had the support of 1 and 2.

Potential Democratic Candidates

McClatchy-Marist survey after the 2010 Midterm elections revealed 46% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independent voters said they don't want President Obama to face a Democratic primary challenge, with 45% saying they do want such a challenge to occur. 40% of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democrats say they prefer a more conservative challenger, while 39% say they want a challenger who is more liberal. The Marist poll says,

Interestingly, a plurality of Democrats – 42 percent – would like to see a more liberal challenger while half of Democratic leaning independents – 50 percent – would like to see a more conservative one.

The McClatchy-Marist poll indicates that 48 percent of registered voters nationwide plan to vote against the president in 2012, with 36 percent saying they'll vote to re-elect Obama.

A Quinnipiac University survey released after the 2010 Midterm elections indicated that a plurality of Americans don't think Obama deserves to be re-elected to a second term, and an Associated Press-GfK survey in the same time span indicates that 54% believe Obama should be voted out of office in 2012.[22] Former DNC chairman Ed Rendell suggested on MSNBC, liberal anger over Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan could lead to a primary challenge.[23]

The New York Times reported many liberals are so upset over recommendations by the Deficit Reduction Commission which President Obama himself created after the Democratic controlled Congress voted the idea down,[24] "if Mr. Obama were to embrace its major parts, he would invite a primary challenge in 2012."[25] Clarence B. Jones, who was a personal advisor, legal counsel, and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has called for a primary challenge to President Obama.[26]

Candidate Pros Cons MSNBC exposure
Barack Obama Ability to compromise and act in a spirit of bi-partisanship when his back's against the wall and career on the line; he's not Hillary Clinton, and he receives endearing support from the media. He depends on a teleprompter to speak, and has run the nation into the ground. Numerous broken[27] and unfulfilled[28] campaign promises, implementation of socialist Obamacare program. Maybe uphill without help from ACORN. Heavily promoted on MSNBC.
Hillary Clinton Her criticism of Obama's massive deficits hinted at a possible run against him in 2012, and Ted Kennedy cannot interfere with her nomination this time; moreover, waiting until 2016 is unattractive because she will be 71 then. She has the highest approval ratings of any potential challenger.[29] Tested the waters with Bill backing a challenger to Obama's Colorado Senate candidate (who then lost), and by Hillary saying she won't serve a second term as Obama's Secretary of State. The chances of Hillary running and winning the nomination increase with every decline in Obama's approval ratings. Her feminism is not wanted and she'd lose the general election as Martha Coakley did. Disfavored on MSNBC.
Russ Feingold His dedication to progressive causes rivals that of Obama, Feingold now has the time to run since his defeat in the 2010 midterms.[30] Considered a maverick and reformer within the Democratic party. Disfavored on MSNBC.
Howard Dean Liberal media personality, politician with physicians license and a former Vermont governor. Opposed Obamacare in its current form, and declared that government cannot force people to buy health insurance. Progressive/Socialist/Marxist philosophy combined with numerous public gaffes. Dean ran in the 2004 presidential elections. Heavily promoted on MSNBC.
Bernie Sanders Has pledged to "do whatever I can" to thwart compromise and thinks the President's legislative proposals are "an absolute disaster and an insult to the vast majority of the American people." Genuine out-of-the-closet Socialist, will need to formally register as a Democrat. Has appeared on MSNBC.[31]
Ralph Nader An experienced community organizer, Nader has not foreclosed the possibility of a challenge. [2] Accuses Obama of betraying progressive liberals and being "a con man." [3] Could mount Third Party challenge if liberals continue to loose ground in the Democratic party. Promoted on MSNBC.
Evan Bayh Democratic base sees Bayh's retirement from the Senate as "a symbol of what's wrong with the party" as moderates are increasingly marginalized. [32] Lags behind Obama in fundraising. [4] Has appeared on MSNBC.
Dennis Kucinich Outspoken critic of Obama's escalation of the War in Afghanistan, sellout of the public option and tax cuts for the rich. Perennial favorite of special interests, particularly AFSCME, lacks popular support and a wider appeal. Promoted on MSNBC.
Alan Grayson Could do well to rally the progressive base in the anti-war early primary and caucus states of Iowa and New Hampshire.[33] Ethical concerns over his 2010 failed reelection bid for the House. Heavily favored on MSNBC.
Mike Gravel Former Alaska Senator who attacks his own party. Controversial liberal that supports socialist healthcare, gay marriage and called the war in Iraq lost. [34] Has appeared on MSNBC.

Independent Candidacy by Mike Bloomberg

The man who spent $185 per vote to garner 51% of the vote to remain as Mayor of New York City in 2009, Mike Bloomberg, is increasingly looking like an independent, self-funded candidate for president in 2012.

$185 per vote times 50 million voters equals $9.25 billion, which he can easily afford as one of the richest men in the world! The catch is that 50 million Americans are not as likely to be persuaded by self-funded campaign ads as 51% of New Yorkers were. The more likely result is the he would split the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda vote with the Democratic nominee.


  1. The order of the early primaries is not yet finally determined as of the end of 2010. For estimated dates, see
  2. As of April 22, 2011.
  3. Trump 'Seriously Considering' 2012 Presidential Bid, FOXNews, October 5, 2010
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. 5.0 5.1
  6. In a Newsmax interview in February 2010, Jeb criticized Palin by saying, "my belief is in 2010 and 2012, public leaders need to have intellectual curiosity." [1]
  14. Herman Cain: 2012 exploratory committee could come soon, DailyCaller, December 6, 2010
  15. CBS: Signs mount that Huckabee won't enter 2012 race
  16. Jim Demint has the best favorable-unfavorable rating of anyone at CPAC 2010.
  18. POLITICAL INSIDER: John Bolton weighs a WH run, Breitbart, September 10, 2010
  21. Traditionally commentators have referred to the three legs of the Republican Party: the values voters, the small businessmen, and the national security supporters. While that model still has support, it fails to account for recent shifts (such as the Tea Party Movement) and the impact of new media (such as FoxNews).
  29. 58% View Hillary Clinton Favorably, January 19, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  32. Evan Bayh For President? Senator May Be Eyeing White House Run, Ryan Grim, Huffington Post, 02-15-10.
  33. "An Anti-War Challenge to Obama in 2012: The Case for Alan Grayson", Politics Daily, 12-28-2010.
  34. Gravel considering Obama primary challenge, calls for new 9/11 investigation, The Daily Caller, December 9, 2010

See also