As the 2016 Presidential Election approaches, what do you think the average American will be thinking and wanting to hear his/her favorite candidate speak to? Will it be healthcare, national security, jobs, or what?
The economy has been narrowly the decider in the last two Presidential elections. There were several key secondary issues which swung the election to the Democrats. For example, thanks to the GOP’s platform (and primary rhetoric), Democrats could appeal to Hispanics (immigration), African Americans (voting rights), women (personal health choices), and gays (equal protection) and promise to do better. Foreign policy and its cousin national security were not deciders in people’s voting decisions (except for no votes over Iraq). What about this time.
If the GOP has learned anything from 2008 and 2012, they will tone down their “base” issues (those notions which appeal to their religious and strongly conservative members). If this is accomplished, then they can appeal to Americans to favor the GOP’s economic ideas, their national security positions, and potentially paint some glowing picture of the future. Democrats will try to talk about income inequality but will have a tougher time speaking positively about national security since recent events took place on their watch.
Adding to Democrats worries there are some indicators that the economy is slowing down. In one sense this should be expected as a normal characteristic of a free economy (x years of growth, y years of contraction, then growth again). If Democrats have managed the economy well, the slow down should be slight and relatively brief. The problem, however, is that a shrinking economy at election time will favor the GOP and its recovery will likely happen under a GOP President.
With respect to national security and foreign policy, world events have caused the Obama Administration to adjust to external stimuli rather than cause them. It is, however, difficult to think how the US could have altered Russia, China, or Iran’s behavior in a direct and decisive way. Voters can expect the GOP to say world events would be different if we were in power.
Voters don’t remember well and even fewer can grasp the connection of invading Iraq with the formation of ISIS.
At this point, Democrats had better be praying that the GOP goes off reservation again. With close to 20 GOP hopefuls, this is not a wild impossibility. in such an event the 2016 election may tip back towards Democrats.
Regrettably, neither party seems willing or able to step up to these more serious problems:
- Campaign financing which has lead directly to a special interest bound Congress and gridlock.
- Affordable Universal Healthcare which is as good as Europe’s and at half our current cost.
- Paying now for Government Services (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Military).
- Forming a multi-pole foreign policy (recognizing we must deal with Russia, China, Europe, and certain other countries as sovereign States).