Election all about Florida, Ohio

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Most of our modern presidents have been given two terms. The mindset of not changing horses mid-stream prevails. One of the glaring exceptions was the 1992 upset of George Bush Sr. by Bill Clinton. It was the economy that caused Bush’s demise, not his underachievement. The economic state of the nation drives the vote of most Americans for the presidency.

When Bill Clinton set sail to derail Bush’s quest for a second term it was well known that he had two pronounced problems. First of all, it was common knowledge in political circles that he had a bimbo problem. As governor of Arkansas he had innumerable extramarital affairs. Most of these dalliances were with unsavory women who were likely to kiss and tell.

Clinton’s second proclivity was his inability to stop talking. His verbosity made him expound on every conceivable subject and issue. It was on this problem that his campaign focused. Thereby, the well-known admonition employed by Clinton’s campaign guru James Carville is often mimicked today. Every day Carville would implore Clinton to not deviate from the script and message. Carville would make Clinton stand and repeat 100 times, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

You can bet your bottom dollar that Obama’s handlers, and especially Mitt Romney’s managers, will take the Carville page from the 1998 playbook. If that election was about the economy, this 2012 election will definitely be about the economy. The economy is not just the pervasive issue this year. It is the only issue. Obama won because of the economy in 2008 and if he loses this year it will be because of the economy.

The economy is picking up in Alabama. Our unemployment rate has dropped to 7.5 percent. However, it could go to zero and Barack Obama would still not win in the Heart of Dixie. The Republican candidate will carry Alabama regardless.

Speaking of the Republican candidate, Romney will be coronated the GOP standard-bearer at the National Republican Convention in Tampa next month. Our delegation will be split. The results of our March 13th primary will have our state casting votes for three candidates. Rick Santorum will get 22 votes. Newt Gingrich will receive 13 and the ultimate nominee, Romney, will be awarded 12 delegate votes from Alabama.

Romney should carry Alabama overwhelmingly, probably by as much as 60 percent or better. It will be the ninth straight presidential win for the GOP candidate in Alabama. It has been 36 years since a Democrat has carried Alabama. In fact, Georgia neighbor Jimmy Carter’s 1976 victory is the only Democratic win in Alabama since 1960. In other words, in the past 52 years the scoreboard reads: Republicans – 11, Democrats – 1, George Wallace as an Independent – 1, and nine straight Republican wins since 1976.

Under our antiquated Electoral College System of selecting a president, the election will be held and decided in six pivotal swing states, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia.

If there is a secondary factor in this year’s presidential race, it is the enormous significance of the Hispanic vote. Hispanic voters are now the largest ethnic voting bloc in our nation. Approximately 13 percent to 15 percent of all votes cast on Nov. 6th will be by voters of Hispanic origin.

Hispanic voters will be critical to victory in the battleground state of Florida. It appears obvious that the key to a Romney victory is for him to choose the popular, freshman, conservative, Hispanic, Republican senator from Florida, Marc Rubio. Rubio would give Romney the edge in Florida. If Romney carries Florida and Ohio, lights are out for Obama’s days in the White House.

Current polling indicates Romney may be able to carry Florida without Rubio on the ticket. Therefore, look for him to probably pick Ohio Sen. Rob Portman to be his running mate.

Ohio has 27 electoral votes. Florida has 29 electoral votes.