Is Anybody Going to Run?

One thing non-political people always complain about is elections. They happen too often, are talked about for too long and are just plain annoying before, during, and after. For someone like me, (a politically minded individual) the opposite is true. Elections are exciting, should get 24/7 coverage and should be shoved down everybody’s throats. Alright, maybe not that extreme, but for me election coverage is exciting. So imagine my sadness at the fact that here we are in 2011, less than two years from the next presidential contest, and there are literally NO declared candidates. What gives?

Chris Cillizza with the Washington Post has a feature called “The Fix” where he provides political news and analysis. He provided the inspiration for today’s post with a video he posted yesterday entitled “Where have all the 2012 presidential candidates gone?” The video can be accessed here, and I suggest giving it a watch. It’s not long, and gives a (humorous) little account of why nobody has declared yet. For all intents and purposes, I tried to directly put the video in this post, but with my little technical knowledge, I could not do it.

I am currently reading The Audacity to Win by David Plouffe, and it struck me that Clinton and Obama, for example, had declared their intentions in early 2006, a full two years before the election. Additionally, Cillizza notes that for the 2008 election, there was around thirteen declared candidates at this same point. That means that any candidates would have had to declare in early 2010, if they wanted to match their compadres from the 2008 cycle. So why has the same not occurred for 2012?

Well Cillizza makes note of several reasons in the video, which I will not repeat. But the two I will make note of (and which I think have the biggest influence) are the following. First, it is difficult to judge at this point whether Obama has a chance of winning a second term. There is a lot of conversation right now stating that he will not, but I still think it’s too early to officially determine that, especially ahead of tonight’s State of the Union. If I was a candidate who was considering a run, I would want to know what the chances are that my boat is going to float, before I put it in the water. Or in plain terms, can I beat Obama? Obviously in 2008, there was no incumbent to beat.

The second reason is a gun loving, reality show doing, headline grabbing lady by the name of Sarah Palin. Her candidacy would throw the entire race upside down. It would suck to be the person who declares their intent to run, only to have Palin announce one week later. It would be a death sentence. Not because Palin is bound to win, but because the media frenzy surrounding her campaign, would leave little room for the previously declared candidate. So if she holds out until early 2012 to make a declaration either way, we might be without any election fodder for quite some time.

But hey, that just leaves more time for speculation and crazy rumours to start, right?

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About Chris James

A student of political science at a Canadian University sharing stories of interest on Canadian and American political and social issues.

Posted on January 25, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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