Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Presidential Candidates for 2012

There are generally two strategies in voting for a presidential candidate for a party:
1. Who can beat the opposing candidate?
2. Who do we want to be the president?

The first concern often relegates the second concern to a footnote, and sometimes results in choosing the strongest campaigner rather than the person who would be the best president.

In 2012, President Obama will almost certainly be the Democratic candidate for president. The 3rd-party candidates aren't likely to be significant in any way. That leaves the Republican candidate as the next big choice.

I suggest that the campaign ability of the Republican candidate won't matter a great deal, because I think President Obama will win or lose based primarily on how the economy is doing. If the economy is doing well, Obama is likely to win no matter who the Republican candidate is. If the economy is doing poorly, Obama is likely to lose no matter who the Republican candidate is. If the economy is muddling along, then it might be closely contested and the campaigning skills of the Republican candidate might be important, but I project that our economy will be doing quite poorly in the months leading up to the next election a year and a half from now. The long-term economic factors are headed in that direction, and has too much momentum to turn around before then.

If I'm right, then Republicans (and Independents who vote in Republican primaries) should focus their attention on which candidates would make the best president, because no matter who it is, that person is likely to become the next president rather than a footnote in history.

My favorite for the Republican candidacy at this point? Mike Huckabee. Not because he used to be a preacher, which is irrelevant in my view. The leading reasons I prefer Huckabee are because he's knowledgeable on both domestic and foreign issues, I agree with his big-picture positions (the ones I'm aware of), he has a little more humility than most presidential candidates, he's optimistic, he knows how to build consensuses well enough to manage large organizations such as the State of Arkansas, he has personal integrity, and he's cordial even with his opponents. Does he have flaws and past failures? Sure -- but as long as we're electing humans, that will be the case, and I think Huckabee's flaws are less serious and less numerous than most other contenders. So I hope Republicans and Independents give him serious consideration.

One last thought, just for Democrats who live in States with open primaries (anyone can vote in any party's primary). You don't need to vote in the Democratic primary, because no one is going to beat Obama in the primary anyway. So you could vote in the Republican primary and try to vote for whoever you think Obama could beat most easily in the general election. Well, I'd like to ask you to consider the reasoning I provided above, because we may have a Republican president next time no matter who it is. So if you vote in the Republican primary next year, don't vote for who you think would be most likely to lose, vote for whoever you would like as president the most. Or at least the person you would hate the least! And right now I hope that's Huckabee.

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