America is known as the land of opportunity, but the land of the free doesn’t usually come free to many….
For the 28th consecutive season, political scientist David Kozak will give his lecture on the American political climate. He’s decided…
I am often asked, is the West red or blue? Republican or Democrat? The answer is neither. Even as the rest of the nation aligns by region into red, Republican South and blue, Democratic North, western states continue their maverick ways, switching from one color to the other.
Akhil Reed Amar thinks that Americans need to be cognizant of two constitutions. At his 4 p.m. lecture today in the Hall of Philosophy, he’ll explain just what he means by that.
The world’s preeminent scholar on the American Revolution is visiting Chautauqua Institution to offer context for the current political climate in Egypt.
Jim Lehrer will moderate a conversation between nationally syndicated columnists Michael Gerson and Mark Shields at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater, closing Week Two’s morning lecture series, “The Lehrer Report: What Informed Voters Need to Know.”
Gerson, whose columns appear twice weekly in The Washington Post, writes a right-leaning column on issues that include politics, global health, development, religion and foreign policy.He was a top aide to President George W. Bush, a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report and a speechwriter for Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential campaign.
Shields, who has worked in Washington during the administrations of nine U.S. presidents, started writing his left-leaning column, now distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate, in 1979. In 1968, he worked for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. He also held leadership positions in three other presidential campaigns and wrote a book about the 1984 presidential campaign, On the Campaign Trail.
Both long-term and short-term forces determine the outcome of U.S. presidential elections. Long-term forces include the state of the economy, voters’ satisfaction with the direction of the country and the level of stability in world affairs. Short-term forces include candidate speeches, political ads and presidential debates.
In 2008, the long-term forces — overwhelming dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, fatigue with eight years of a Republican president, fear over the financial meltdown — created an enormous tailwind for Barack Obama. He and his team ran a superb campaign, but the effect of that campaign was far more evident during his Democratic primary win over Hillary Clinton than during the general election. In the general, a mediocre campaign would have defeated John McCain given the forces at Obama’s back.
In 2012, the long-term forces are reversed for President Obama. Three-fourths of voters are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, unemployment remains a full percentage point higher than the highest a post-Depression president running for reelection has ever survived, and a majority of the country still thinks we are in a recession. Those forces create a strong headwind for the president’s campaign.
In continuing this week’s theme, “The Lehrer Report: What Informed Voters Need to Know,” GOP pollster and strategist Whit Ayres and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile will join Jim Lehrer at 10:45 a.m. today in the Amphitheater.
“Long-term forces are at work in this presidential election,” Ayres said about the upcoming showdown between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
The major variables include the economy, the nation’s satisfaction with the country’s direction, world affairs and the job market.