The 2012 Election and its historical relationships

October 22, 2012

 

The 2012 Election and its historical relationships

Oct.  2012                                                      Kenneth Bickers

 

Does the context of this election look familiar?  Historically, yes, according to Ken Bickers, a professor of political science at CU-Boulder, although the election involves a re-election of an incumbent. Historically, the possible outcomes, as well as the election itself, could closely relate to past elections. 

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The 2012 Election and its historical relationships

Oct.  2012                                                      Kenneth Bickers

 

Does the context of this election look familiar?  Historically, yes, according to Ken Bickers, a professor of political science at CU-Boulder, although the election involves a re-election of an incumbent. Historically, the possible outcomes, as well as the election itself, could closely relate to past elections. 

CUT 1This is an election where we have an incumbent running for re-election and so to me it’s more like 1980 when Carter was running for re-election.  If Mitt Romney wins I think that’s how we will probably think of this election -- is as a parallel to the 1980 election.  1980 brought out a grassroots movement that helped Ronald Reagan over an incumbent that was seeking re-election in a time when the economy was really, really bad.  On the other hand, it may be more like 1936 when Franklin Roosevelt was running for his first re-election.  That election was significant because it allowed for the institution of The New Deal – of the measures that Roosevelt had pushed through Congress to get us out of a deep, deep recession called The Great Depression.”

Although 2008 may have been the historical election, like many other historical elections, the 2012 election could make or break many policies. 

CUT 22008 was the big historical election, the first election of an African American.  But 2012 would see the institutionalization of ObamaCare and of a theory of using government to stimulate the economy.  If he gets re-elected he will be able to preserve ObamaCare, he will be able to get it institutionalized, work through some of the kinks in its initial unrolling.  If he is not re-elected, it will give the Republicans the opportunity to dismantle at least some aspects of it, and presumably, put through something different.  I don’t know what that would be, but there are enough of the pieces that are popular that it looks like they couldn’t completely undo, particularly the popular parts of that measure.  If the president is not re-elected we will see a change, and we’ll see a change in which the government tries to stimulate the economy and get people employed again."  

Bickers says the political divisiveness the country has experienced over the last 12 years is likely to continue.

CUT 3I think the 2000 election helped stimulate that.  The closeness of the election, the bitterness of the post-election battles in the court system.  The way in which George Bush ended up winning that election was certainly divisive.  And we’ve seen divisive elections, very close elections, ever since.  Particularly in 2004, which was a squeaker, and 2008, which took place in the midst of a free fall in the economy.  So, we’re still part of a pattern of the last decade of terribly divisive politics."

Regardless of a possible incumbent re-election, Bickers says this is an election that could be historically influential and shouldn’t be taken for granted.  

 

-CU-

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