Prediction: America will elect a Mormon president in 2012

Mitt Romney is not my favorite candidate. I find his foreign policy dangerous and foolhardy from a financial perspective. I think his budget proposals do not provide the budget cuts we need. I am a Ron Paul supporter.

But discussing the future is always fun, and I think Mitt Romney will win in 2012, so I thought I should explain why I am making such a prediction.

Here are the reasons:

1)The worldwide economy is about to tank. You may have heard that JP Morgan is reporting a $2 billion trading loss. This sounds a lot like 2008 to me. I predict chaos as the entire banking system, which is a house of cards, begins another collapse. Meanwhile, Europe is falling to pieces and even India and China reported slowing growth today. There is no real job growth in the U.S. economy, which is on life support and addicted to Fed money-printing. Sorry to report: things are about to get even worse.

2)Any polls you read now should be taken with a grain of salt. Things will change rapidly in the months ahead. Obama will be blamed for the coming economic mess, just as Bush was blamed in 2007-2008. His poll numbers will tank.

3)Unfortunately, politics is about analyzing how different voting blocks are likely to turn out and for whom they will vote. This is why you hear (admittedly racist) phrases like “the black vote” and the “Latino vote.” It is impossible these days to analyze politics without using these phrases. Sorry. With that in mind, it is important to note that certain voting blocks, the black vote, the Latino vote, the youth vote and the suburban vote, were essential to Obama’s 2008 victory. With that in mind, black and Hispanic voter registration is down. The youth vote is apathetic. Suburban voters find Mitt Romney more appealing than McCain. Jewish and Catholic voters are less enthusiastic for the president.

4)The usual Democratic tactic of portraying every Republican candidate as either a)stupid or b)a wild-eyed radical intent on taking away your birth control, is less likely to work with Romney, who, like it or not, has a moderate, technocratic image. Romney, unlike many other recent Republican candidates, is not stupid. It is easy for the swing voter to imagine Romney as a competent manager of the republic, which is why he is polling better with independents.

5)To be clear: as of today, May 11, the electoral map doesn’t look great for Romney. The Realclearpolitics map shows Obama way ahead.

However, I simply don’t believe things will turn out that way. I think the final vote will be closer to this: Romney will get more than 300 electoral college votes. He will take at least 52 percent of the popular vote. He will take Wisconsin, Michigan, NH, Florida, Ohio, VA, NC, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado and Arizona, as well as his usual base in the South and West. That is my prediction as of today.

Note number one: I could be wrong. Even though I correctly predicted the 2010 election with eerie accuracy (I said the Republicans would pick up at least 60 seats in the House, and they did), and I correctly predicted Romney would win the nomination when other writers on this blog said it would be Newt Gingrich (ahem!!!), I have made my share of bad predictions. I also predicted Romney would beat McCain in 2008, and I predicted the Republicans would take the Senate in 2010. So, my record is spotty at best. The prediction game is fun because you can always point to your amazing analytical skills when your prediction comes true and then ignore your incorrect predictions.

Note number two: I am not convinced a Romney presidency is a good thing for the Church. Presidents tend to be vilified. Romney is likely to disappoint a lot of people. Did Bush’s presidency help the Methodist church? I think not. I worry about negative effects for the temple and other sacred institutions. Just sayin’.

Note number three: I will be unenthusiastically voting for Romney in Colorado in 2012. I hate his foreign policy, and he doesn’t come nearly close enough to cutting the amount that is needed (if he cuts anything at all). Depending on how bad the coming crisis is, we may even get another TARP and stimulus with a Romney presidency. So, to be clear: I think he will make a lot of very, very bad decisions. Still, I can name three policy issues where he will be significantly better than Obama: 1)he will appoint better federal judges 2)his energy policy will be much, much better (it would be impossible to be worse) and 3)he will appoint better bureaucrats of the federal agencies. Weak tea, I know, but this is where we are in 2012. There is one additional point that is an intangible: his image of competence, compared to the incredible failure of the Obama presidency, may help in the years ahead. Sometimes such an image can help.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

33 thoughts on “Prediction: America will elect a Mormon president in 2012

  1. America will have a Mormon president in 2012

    I don’t know. Obama is nice enough and attentive during the missionary visits, but he’s not completing his Book of Mormon reading assignments or accepting the invitations.

  2. Adam G, it’s too bad you’re not on Facebook. There was a funny graphic going around saying how America would have a Mormon president because Obama was taking the discussions and preparing for baptism.

  3. If it makes you feel better Geoff, I think Ron Paul is mayor of Crazy Town, so your dislike of Romney’s foreign policy will be cancelled out by my disklike of Ron Paul’s foreign policy.

    I think we can all agree though, there is no perfect candidate, and you are right Romney is better than most the GOP has run in the recent past. I lived in Utah when he turned around the Olymipcs, and that was a major miracle. I’m really hoping he can do the same with the economy — untill that is fixed nothing else matters.

  4. Here is my counter-prediction:

    Mitt Romney will not be the Republican candidate for President of the United States in November 2012.

    I don’t know how that is going to happen- in fact, I cannot see how it is going to happen- but so many republicans of all stripes are so disillusioned with the man that I cannot see but that it will happen.

  5. John Roberts,

    Your prediction amounts to a prediction that Obama will win.

    You realize that, don’t you? Whatever Romney’s strengths or weaknesses, and regardless of whether there were better choices three months ago, at this point he is the only Republican who can beat Obama. Because enough Republicans have thrown in their lot with Romney that there is now no way for him to fail to be nominated, short of assassination, that will not blow the Republican Party to pieces.

    And I would not count on assassination.

  6. I think (for better or worse) the state of the economy is by far the most important consideration of those you mentioned. The rest of the factors you listed off will certainly contribute to a Romney victory if the economy is doing much worse than it is now, but I don’t think they will contribute enough if the economy is still basically limping along.

  7. Geoff,

    If the economy tanks then Romney will be president. Also, if Israel attacks Iran and gas prices go through the roof, Romney will be president.

    I think both of those scenarios are possible. However it is more likely that the economy will sputter along with mild improvements, two steps forward, one back, and the race will be close, but Obama will win.

    I agree that Americans will see Romney as a competent technocrat. I think that for both candidates turnout is going to be a huge issue. Obama because even outside of the economy many see failures on key issues such as civil liberties. Romney because he is almost nobody’s first choice, as your post makes very clear from the libertarian perspective. I think that given the choice between Romney and Obama many religious conservatives will sit on their hands rather than vote or encourage others to vote. From left to right, and in the middle, few are excited about the choices available.

  8. Since the United States will have the same president until at least Jan 2013, the only way this prediction could come true is if it occurs in the way Adam G. suggests.

    I think I get what you intended though, which has around a 50% chance of occurring.

  9. “Note number two: I am not convinced a Romney presidency is a good thing for the Church. Presidents tend to be vilified. Romney is likely to disappoint a lot of people. Did Bush’s presidency help the Methodist church? I think not. I worry about negative effects for the temple and other sacred institutions. Just sayin’.”

    I totally agree. I think the church is going to be put under the microscope and every wart is going to get looked at. There is just so much fodder for late night talk hosts and others to use as a way of indirectly poking in Romney in the eye. Some members are going to learn things about the church they didn’t know in unfortunate and embarrassing ways

  10. Geoff, if you are right, and the economy does tank, and Romney becomes president, Romney will be in the same predicament as Obama was in 2008, but worse.

    This time, there will be no bailouts, just austerity leading to a chronic recession or depression for years, which will cause deficits to spiral even more out of control, leaving Romney with one option: default and devaluation.

    This scenario has to happen sometime. Would you rather have it happen on Obama’s watch, or Romney’s? Whenever it happens, whoever is in charge is going to unwittingly get the blame, even though there is nothing either could have done, either through austerity, or intervention. It’s either Romney’s failed austerity that goes down in the history books as the chronic harbinger of decades of depression, or it’s Obama’s failed government interventions. The reality is that there will be no alternative to default regardless of what the government does. These are global forces way out of anyone’s reach. I suppose I feel sorry for both of them, and the blame they are going to get for something that is completely beyond their control.

  11. Nate, I basically agree except that there was something Obama could have done, and it was to cut government spending rather than increase it. In 2007, the federal budget was $2.7 trillion a year in spending. In 2011, it was $3.7 trillion. If Obama had cut back to 2007 levels, we would be in an incredible economic boom with capital from around the world flowing to the U.S. My problem with Romney is that he will basically cut around the edges but probably continue to increase spending, so, yes, the crash will come either later this year or on Romney’s watch.

  12. 1. I would not recommend using the word “assasination” when referring to a president or a presidential candidate, even when joking.
    2. When, historically, has the kind of economic austerity cited above every produced wonderous benefits without a prolonged recession or depression?
    3. To have a reasonably honest discussion of the economy, one would at least need to cite the huge deficit run up under George Bush. The head of the tea party in my state says the only reason the tea party exists is because of George Bush. Remember the unnecessary and unproductive tax cuts, the unfunded prescription drug plan, the two wars — we are talking trillions here. Obama was not exactly handed a clean plate. (Remember Dick Cheney: deficits don’t matter)
    4. The figure of 2.8 billion in federal spending for 2007 must be a typo. I don’t know what is so special about 2007 anyway. That’s when the economy started going off the cliff.

  13. I’d ask Q2 as well. Few (no?) Reputable economists urged the approach of cutting government spending drastically in hopes that laying off thousands of employees and govt contrctor employees would result in a thriving economy 2-3 years later.

    But my real question is the basis for your prediction that Romney would appoint better judges. Then again, I have no idea how you judge judges. And without knowing that, I have no way to know whether to agree or disagree.

  14. I have posted on this several times, but it there is a serious disagreement between economists on government spending. Saying “few or no” reputable economists urge cutting govt spending is simply not true, although I will admit the prevailing (Keynesian) economic theory is that you need to goose the demand side to get the economy to grow. There are literally hundreds of economists who disagree with this approach, everywhere from Chicago-school types, to monetarists to classical liberals to the Austrian school. We have seen the complete failure of the Keynesian approach, so I will predict more and more people will be rejecting it in the years ahead.

    As for judges, I am hoping Romney will appoint more judges in the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas model. A great choice for the next Supreme Court opening would be Janice Rogers Brown, but racist liberals are certain to oppose her.

  15. I also predicted, early on, that Romney would win the primaries, although my prediction for the presidential election is that Obama will win another term.

    I also believe that the moderate Matheson, an LDS Democrat, who has been a Congressman a long time, will be replaced by Republican Mia Love.

    And “racist liberals are certain to oppose her”? Really? Because, you know, so many racist liberals voted for McCain instead of voting for a black man…

  16. Tim, you might want to revisit the federal judgeship battles of the last 10 years. Hispanic and black conservative judges are uniformly opposed by liberals in the Senate because of their race. Liberals are terrified of losing the near uniformity of support of the Democratic party as the “party of color” and therefore do their best to demonize anybody of color who doesn’t toe the liberal line. Harry Reid’s opposition to Clarence Thomas is the best example — he said he hated Clarence Thomas (as a justice) but when asked he couldn’t name a single decision that Thomas had written. This is racism. The same principle has applied to Janice Rogers Brown throughout her career. And actually, a lot of racist liberals in West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri, just to name a few states, did vote for McCain in 2008. They also voted for a prison inmate in the West VA Democratic primary rather than Obama. You may say this is all hick voting — the typical refrain — but the reality is that (racist) southern Democrats have long been the backbone of the Democratic party and were one of the main reasons Clinton and Carter got elected. This uneasy coalition of minorities, academic liberals and blue collar southern Democrats is what the Democratic party is all about. And appeals to race are a central part of this coalition. You may not like the description, but it is apt nonetheless: liberals will oppose Janice Rogers Brown primarily because she is black and threatens their political coalition, just as they demonize Clarence Thomas.

    If it makes you feel better, racist politics is part of the Republican party as well. Why do you think everybody is talking about Marco Rubio or Susana Martinez or Bobby Jindal for the VP?

  17. “As for judges, I am hoping Romney will appoint more judges in the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas model.”

    Assuming that you can derive a single “model” from those four justices (which I can’t but although an appellate expert, I am not a US Supreme Court expert specifically), then what you’re really saying is that Romney is more likely than Obama to appoint Supreme Court justices who fit that “model.” I agree with that.

    I thought you were saying something more general, perhaps based on your review of the qualifications of or decisions made by Obama appointees to all federal courts. Certainly a review of their decisions is premature; none of them has been in their current position long enough to have both matured in that role and created a body of work that makes such a study very useful. Qualifications upon nomination are somewhat (or perhaps very) subjective, but again, it looks like you are only considering Sotomayor and Kagan, and I don’t see how their objective qualifications are significantly different, qualitatively, upon appointment, from the four justices you named.

  18. Spot on. Exactly what I’ve been thinking. I might have written this article myself if I had a spare moment to sit down and put it all into words.

    I also worry about how our sacred institutions will be treated, but in the end, I’ve come to realize that (of course) God is in control and they will never be able to destroy our temples. Defacing, maybe, but legions of angels are gathered to protect our holy spaces from complete desecration and destruction.

    And, of course, we know Christ wins in the end.

  19. “We have seen the complete failure of the Keynesian approach”

    This is strange statement to make in a paragraph that begins with the very reasonable admission that most economists are Keynesians.

  20. If there is one thing that should be obvious with the various crises happening around the world, it is that the prevailing Keynesian proscription – endless debt and govt stimulus – is not working.

  21. And in the meantime austerity has worked wonders in the places trying that? Oh wait, it was the “wrong” austerity. I’m sure economists the world over are convinced by this argument.

  22. Arj, go do a little research and come back to me with any examples of any countries that have actually cut govt spending. Not announced plans to do it in the future – which is what we and many european countries have done while we raise taxes – but instead countries that have actually made signicant cuts in spending. Just to be clear, an acceptable example would be a country that spent 200 billion in 2010 and then spent 190 billion in 2011 in actual spending. All of the “austerity” has involved tax increases. In the UK, for example, the top tax rate was raised to 50 percent, and the British govt announced it got less revenue, not more, and they are lowering the tax rate again. In France, they announced a tax increase and said the retirement age would go up to 62 – in a few years. This is not austerity in the real sense. So no real austerity is taking place – just higher taxes without any real spending cuts. In contrast, there were two times in the last 100 years when the US had true austerity – after both world wars we cut govt spending in half and of course had massive economic booms. Spending was also held down in the prosperous 1990s, as well. Canada cut spending in the 1990s and had an economic boom. The lesson is clear: cut spending and have prosperity. Raise taxes and institute fake austerity, and your economy will stagnate.

  23. There was a mild 7-month recession starting in 1918 immediately following the drop in WWI production, and then a significant one from Jan. 1920 to July 1921.

  24. John M, the economic situation in 1918 to 1921 was complex. First, we measured things differently then than we do today. Second, the recession in 1918 was directly related to the fact that the government took over nearly all means of production and overproduced and then stop producing. This is not the market. Most fighting men came home in 1919 and even 1920 (remember, they were taking boats then). 2 million people in a much smaller workforce came looking for jobs. And the Fed policy completely messed up interest rates. The result was massive deflation (worse than in 1930-1933). In any case, the government, rather than adopting a “stimulus” policy, cut spending immediately, and the economy boomed. Here is a chart of government spending. You’ll notice no increase in the early 1920s (during the depression of 1920) and a very, very slow increase the rest of the 1920s.

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1920_1940USb_13s1li011mcn_F0t

    Now, keep in mind that the economy boomed from 1922-1929, so spending as a percentage of GDP was kept small. Please see this chart here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gdp20-40.jpg

  25. John M, you know that Monty Python skit were Cleese goes into an office and asks for an argument? And the guy there starts arguing with him by just saying, “not it isn’t?” And a frustrated Cleese says, “that’s not an argument, that’s just contradiction.” My recent interactions with you have been a bit like that. If you want to have a discussion, let’s have a discussion. The easiest and most annoying thing in the world is to just pick away at little points you disagree with. If that is what you want to do, I will simply ignore your comments.

    To return to the original point: there are three broad theories for dealing with our current malaise. 1)The neo-Keynesian big-government solution, favor by most left-leaners. This says we must spend even more money priming the pumps, stimulating demand, etc, etc. 2)The center-right Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan solution, which says we can cut a few things here and there and throw in the occasional stimulus and slow the rate of spending growth, and things will work out OK and 3)The massive cut government now solution.

    Even if Obama wins, which I doubt more every day, he will face a hostile Congress, so number 1 will not be adopted in the future. What we are likely to get is some flavor of number 2.

    My points are the following: number 1 was tried in 2009 and it failed pitifully. The claims that there was “austerity” in Europe is complete bunk — nothing significant was ever cut. If you look at history, the only thing that actually brings lasting prosperity is cutting the size of government because it a)takes less money from the private sector, stimulating private investment b)lays out a pathway to a balanced budget and a strong currency and c)avoids inflation and d)creates an environment where entrepreneurs are willing to take risk, thereby creating growth and employment. Strategy 2 may create some of that in the short run (which is why ultimately Romney’s presidency will be better than Obama’s), but the massive deficit will have to be dealt with eventually, and Romney has no real plan to deal with that in the long run.

    So, when you look at these three general strategies, and how they have been applied throughout history, you do indeed find times when strategies 1, 2 and 3 have been tried. During the 1920s and the late 1940s, strategy 3 (my strategy) was tried, and it was successful. I would argue that strategy 2 was tried in the 1980s and 1990s, and it temporarily worked but was not a long-term solution. Strategy 1, massive deficit spending, always fails.

  26. I was wrong.

    I am frankly astounded that the GOP Powers-That-Be did not pull some obscure rule out of a hat to come up with some way of making Paul Ryan (or anyone but Romney) the candidate.

    He has actually been nominated.

    Inconceivable.

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