The presidential election results are barely in and some Senate seats are still undecided. Americans have voted for “change,” even if all of those who did so may not quite understand the full consequences of “change.” But many are already looking ahead to 2012. We can now begin to consider those names that might appear on our 2012 ballots — and offer some advice to improve their prospects.
The contest for 2012 really began before the 2008 contest was completed. On the Democratic side it was clear that, despite her comments to the contrary, Senator Hillary Clinton almost assuredly would have considered another run in ’12 if Barack Obama had been unsuccessful.
With his success and the likelihood that Obama will not have a cataclysmic first term with a Democratic Congress, it is likely that the political left who put him in the White House will, with a wave of adulation and applause, ensure that Obama is once again the Democrat nominee in 2012.
Republicans have shown a tendency to go back to the bench looking for the next star player after the team captain retires or ends up in the infirmary. It is with an understanding of history from the contenders that we saw the 2012 race for the White House on the Republican side begin almost before the dust settled on this year’s primary.
Mike Huckabee, who continued his quest for the nomination long after it appeared dead, not only started a PAC but signed a contract with Fox News that has allowed him to hold mini presidential-style town hall meetings right over the air.
To be successful in a potential 2012 nomination fight Huckabee will need to keep himself in front of the faithful, mainly using the airways as he did in the primaries. Still, that may not be enough for Huckabee to outrun what many in the GOP found to be a liberal economic record as governor, when he raised some taxes and offered education benefits to the children of non-citizens. He will need to more clearly articulate a conservative economic agenda and improve his national security credentials.
Mitt Romney has been a constant presence on the campaign trail this fall, talking up John McCain’s positive traits while appearing knowledgeable and presidential on the screen. Looking back, it is easy to see reasons why Romney may have stumbled in the nomination contest. Romney ran away from his governorship in Massachusetts, assailing the state as liberal. What he did not do was spend as much time pointing out his accomplishments in the state. He appeared stiff on the trail, rarely showing a personal side.