Why the 2012 election is so important

I was actually thinking basically the idea I read in Ezra’s post yesterday morning.  Either, I need to start putting these things down myself, or, actually, this is great because really smart, excellent writers keep thinking the same things as me, just more eloquently, and I can simply copy and paste.  So, before I paste from Ezra, really, give me credit for thinking this on my own:

Because a recovery is likely within five years, whichever party wins the White House in 2012 is likely to get the credit, and so too will its policy agenda.

You can see how this will work. If Romney wins the presidency and the economy begins to rebound, Republicans will argue, and America’s experience will seem to show, that they were right all along: The stimulus was useless and the regulatory uncertainty the Obama administration created with its health-care plan and its talk of cap-and-trade and all the rest kept businesses from investing.

Yep.  Ezra also cites a lot of great evidence from political scientist extraordinaire, Larry Bartels, to help make this point:

“In the U.S.,” wrote Bartels, “voters replaced Republicans with Democrats and the economy improved. In Britain and Australia, voters replaced Labor governments with conservatives and the economy improved. In Sweden, voters replaced Conservatives with Liberals, then with Social Democrats, and the economy improved.

“In the Canadian agricultural province of Saskatchewan, voters replaced Conservatives with Socialists and the economy improved. In the adjacent agricultural province of Alberta, voters replaced a socialist party with a right-leaning funny-money party created from scratch by a charismatic radio preacher … and the economy improved.

And there’s even more!  The economy will very likely due quite well over the next presidential term absolutely regardless of who wins the election.  Yet, that person and that party will get the lion’s share of the credit and their policies will be credited and may become ascendant for far longer that the recovery itself.  Not that all presidential elections aren’t important, but I do think we are in a situation where the results from what promise to be a close election are going to have a particularly long-lasting and important impact.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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