Blazing the Trail: Campaign 2012

By Allison Schoenauer
Elm Staff Writer

As the 2012 election approaches, the nominees begin to stand in the national spotlight, notable names and faces are beginning to emerge. Through the rumors and speculations that pundits and politicians are throwing around, four names have risen above the rest to become the most convincing politicians to look out for during the election.

The most obvious nominee is the current president. President Barack Obama officially announced his intention to keep his job last February, and he has started rolling down the campaign trail, which is a good thing because he needs to remind people why they voted for him in the first place. Obama had promised a lot during his first campaign, which is normal. Those promises, coupled with other factors, created an expectation that was never reached during his presidency. Obama is more reasonable than he is assertive, which has resulted in more compromises and more complacency than any of the actual change he talked about four years ago.

With an increasingly more partisan government, a frustrated populace, and other strong candidates vying for the presidency, Obama needs to re-charm the people of the U.S., because he is the Democratic Party’s best—and only—bet.

If you were following the last election, Mitt Romney was the guy you thought was going to be the Republican candidate but fell a bit short. This time around, he is prepared, he is experienced, and he is a big enough threat that the Obama campaign is already planning to focus portions of his campaign on personally attacking him.

On paper, Romney is a perfect candidate. He has charm, reason, and (more importantly) knows enough about business that he could theoretically turn the country’s economy around, due to his background as a businessman.

Romney has the same problem as Obama, though. He is a reasonable man running during a time of frustration and growing, extremely partisan margins. Those in the margins want a person who will work for their party, not work towards unifying a fractionalized political system. A man who was once popular enough to win last election year’s Iowa straw poll is now ending in seventh place.

And who could forget the winner of last Iowa straw poll, a largely inconsequential polling of the popularity of Republican candidates based in Ames, Iowa? Michele Bachmann, a representative from Minnesota and a major figure in the Tea Party Movement. She is a nominee whose policies lean considerably to the right. If you think of a version of Sarah Palin that still likes politics, then you know Michele Bachmann.

Another Tea Party-backed nominee who is making a mainstream name of himself is Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas. He was the most popular write-in candidate, ranking at number six overall. He is also extremely conservative, but during his term Perry did manage to create more job opportunities in Texas and lower the unemployment rate. Bachmann and Perry may not become popular with the mainstream voter, but their followings are strong and they will be worth watching as their campaigns roll on.

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