Moderates and Independents

by Thomas Goldsmith Oppenheimer on May 19, 2012

I know that numbers crunchers are advising the candidates about the demographics which will determine the outcome of the November presidential election, and I won’t dispute whatever conclusions they draw. However, this one man’s observation is quite simple: two camps who won’t determine the outcome are on the far side of each aisle. Staunch Democrats see in Obama the embodiment of their principles of liberal government, even when his actions belie the platform. They will vote Obama no matter what. Staunch Republicans are just as incapable of seeing anything good in Obama. He could convince Al-Qaeda to denounce Islam and hand over all their guns and ammo, devise the means to make the US an economic juggernaut, and cure cancer, and those opponents would still vote Romney.

So the middlers and the independents are the ones whose votes are out there to be won. The question is which subgroup will be influenced by which issue. I think that Obama will begin now with solidifying the issues that liberals promote, such as gay marriage and environmental issues. I think Romney will do the same with staying firm on immigration and reducing the size of government. What I am wondering about are the other issues and the effects on the undecided or the still-to-be-influenced voters.

Will Obama relent and support the Keystone pipeline? Will he open up oil reserves to reduce gas prices and take the high price complaint off the table? Will Romney soften his stance on gay marriage, or make any and all tax increases a target for his stump speeches?

I have trouble with this component of the process because I don’t think the monor issues, like gay marriage, and abortion, and a number of others are critical issues. We have had more than 40 presidents, and they have had myriad opinions on those side issues, and we don’t evaluate them as effective or ineffective presidents on the basis of those issues.

The legacies of presidents are determined by some simple issues. Did they keep the American people safe? Did they promote the expansion of the economy and thereby foster a higher standard of living for the people? Did they support programs that allowed or encouraged individuals to improve themselves and their lot?

I did not like John McCain’s positions on a number of things, and momentarily considered voting Democrat in 2008. However, when Obama made larger government a natural effect of his vision, I ran in the right direction. Because Obama will be the left candidate, I am among those whose vote cannot be won. I am fascinated to see what each candidate will do to sway the swayable.

What do you think the issues of significance will be?

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