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The Flexible Second Term

The presidential election of 2012 was no ordinary contest.  The University of Colorado’s political-science department had developed a model, based on the state of the U.S. economy, that had accurately predicted the outcome of every presidential election between 1980 and 2008.  This year, the model predicted a Romney victory.  The explanation for Obama’s victory lies not in the economy, but in the enormous changes America has undergone since the University of Colorado model began predicting elections.  According to a Pew poll, Mitt Romney won the white Protestant vote by a crushing 69-30 percent margin, and he won the white Catholic vote by a substantial 59-40 percent.  In 1980, these numbers would have translated into an enormous landslide.  Indeed, Romney received the same margin of victory among white voters that Ronald Reagan received in 1980.  But Romney lost among every other racial and religious group, except Mormons.  For years, Chronicles has warned that Republicans were ignoring mass immigration and the culture war at their peril; 2012 was the election that brought home the prescience of those warnings to even the dimmest members of the Stupid Party, as the consequences of mass immigration and secularization helped propel Obama into a second term.

It is true that second terms often become disappointments.  But Obama’s second term certainly threatens to...

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