Monday, November 5, 2012

The Swing Voter

I am the typical swing voter. If I was American and if I had a vote I believe I would be categorised as a conservative Democrat or a moderate Republican. I can go either way. So, given that this election will be decided by the swing voter in Ohio, Florida and Virginia I thought it would be appropriate for me to lay it out in the clearest possible way what exactly is in my head one day before the Presidential election.

Reasons to vote for Obama
President Obama seems likable and honest. He is good for Americas image. He appears calm and in control during a crisis as we have seen with Sandy and in Egypt and Libya. On international affairs he has been aggressive on the war on terror whilst leaving a small military footprint. On the economy Obama has done several things which can reasonably be argued have helped the situation. His critics constantly point out that this is the slowest economic recovery since the great depression which seems to me to be a strange point to make since we are living through the greatest recession since the great depression. Obama regularly points out that America is doing its best when everybody gets a shot referring to the 1944 GI Bill which helped drag millions into the middle class and contributed significantly to the greatest economic boom in history. This resonates with people and has some logic. It is clear to me that many Americans do see Obama as an FDR of sorts who does not want poorer Americans to bear the brunt of a brutal recession that was caused by less than 1000 people at the top. This is appealing. If you are not economically idealistic then the Obama claim that the stimulus circulated enough money to prevent a recession becoming a depression strikes a cord. The downward unemployment trajectory backs this up. Obama believes correctly in my view that the financial sector should be regulated, many Americans agree. For all the talk about health care reform over the decades President Obama is the only President to actually pass a bill which in theory makes health care more affordable and results in 30 million Americans becoming insured. Finally, the sheer unmitigated hatred that many have for President Obama leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me want to see him reelected, just so I can tune into Sean Hannity the following day to watch him squirm. I accept this is not very logical, but it is how I feel and lets face it, many people will vote based on their perceptions and feelings.

Reasons to vote against Obama
There is a strong perception backed up by evidence that Barack Obama is hostile toward the private sector. That he believes that the main engine of the economy should be the public sector. In such a scenario one can only envision a second Obama term with more government "investment" in industries that will be costly, inefficient and act as a drag on economic recovery. American debt now stands at 16$ trillion. One thing I have learned over the years is that some things that you think could never happen actually can happen. The 9/11 attacks and the global financial crisis thought be that. I fear that if Obama spends in his second term in any way similarly to how he did in his first then one day America could wake up and find itself with so much debt that it cannot pay its bills. I am not convinced that Obama takes this threat seriously. In addition I believe that in a time of great recession Obamas liberal agenda, some of which I agree with, should have taken a back seat to economic recovery. Obamas priorities have been wrong.

Reasons to vote for Romney.
I believe, as most Americans do that a robust private sector is what drives economic growth. Mitt Romney clearly believes this too. You cannot beat the knowledge and experience of a successful business man to turn deficit into surplus. A successful business man understands how to get rid of waste because he would not tolerate it in his own enterprises. I have also come to think of Romney as likable and think he has a pleasant manner. The Obama efforts to portray him as a cruel capitalist have not worked on me. His foreign policy is ideologically similar to Obamas and while I have no way of knowing what his judgement in a crisis would be like I have no reason to think it would be bad.

Reasons to vote against Romney.
There is a valid perception out there that the Mitt Meister is trying to please everybody. I was not impressed at his constant criticism of Obamas foreign policy only for him to virtually endorse it during the final Presidential debate. It makes me wonder if he wants to be President a little too badly, possibly to fulfill an ambition
that his father was unable to achieve. Furthermore I think his promise to roll back regulations on the financial sector is a mistake as is his position that he would repeal Obamacare. The former makes it look like he is in bed with wall street and the latter ignores the reality that affordable heath care is a massive problem. Perhaps he would have been better advised to argue that he would reform Obamacare. His wider economic programme also concerns many voters. His plan to close the gap in spending is not exactly foolproof. It seems to be to be based on economic growth forecasts. But if these fall short he will have to reevaluate his tax versus cuts ratio in a major way that will likely end up hitting the middle class hardest. He has not been forthcoming in this regard which has made many Americans feel very uneasy about him. He has given them reason.

Relax America, there are two decent competent guys running for President. You'll do ok whoever wins. However my prediction is as follows. I believe that that as the swing voters enter the polling booth they will ask themselves one crucial question, is the American economy more likely to come roaring back under a Romney Presidency or a second Obama term. I believe most will choose Romney and am therefore predicting that despite the polls giving Obama a slight edge I think that Governor Romney will take it by a nose.

Now lets have some fun at the expense of the undecided voter.


Bernard Sheridan said...

Here's another reason:

Anonymous said...

What a good analysis. Right up to the last sentence. And I am so glad you were just a tiny bit wrong. JEnny

Anonymous said...

We vote every day, not in some meaningless election, but in who we choose to associate with, what we choose to spend our money on, what we choose to invest our time and energy doing. This is the essence of freedom.