2012 Commentary: The U.S. Presidential Election Could Be Upended by These Five Game Changers

Abstract: These five game changing events could radically alter the U.S. presidential landscape between now and Nov. 6 when Americans go to the polls.

The media is intensely focused on the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Many of the articles attempt to parse through current data to determine who will win in November. Other stories try to gauge how future changes in one potential issue, such as the economy, will impact the final vote. While this information is valuable, it is worth remembering that the presidential election is still almost six months away. Any of a number of future occurrences might significantly alter the election landscape. Few if any authors provide readers with a list of these issues. With that in mind, here are five potential game changers.

The Weather: Per Reuters, the hurricane season, which "officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30," kicked off a little early this year with the formation on Saturday of the season's first tropical storm, Alberto. It is possible that a large hurricane will hit the U.S. in the next few months. Such an event might radically alter President Obama's re-election chances for better or worse.

The Middle East: To say that the region is unsettled would be an understatement. There are a host of simmering disagreements between the U.S. and hardline regimes like Iran, between Israel and its neighbors, and amongst Sunni and Shiite Muslim sects, that could suddenly erupt into a full conflagration at any time in the next few months. Per a Log Cabin Democrat article, the Iranian nuclear issue may be close to reaching this tipping point.

Healthcare Legislation: The Supreme Court will soon render its verdict on President Obama's healthcare legislation. The Los Angeles Times notes that this decision will have a significant impact on the presidential election. However, it is unclear which candidate will benefit from the Supreme Court's decision.

The European Financial Crisis: Many Americans assumed that the Europeans had the crisis under control only to see it flame up again in recent weeks. As Yahoo Finance notes, if the situation deteriorates further, it would have obvious consequences for the American stock exchanges and perhaps for the economy as a whole. Per The Week, "[t]he White House views the crisis, and its potential impact on the U.S., as one of the biggest challenges facing Obama's re-election bid."

Immigration: According to USA Today, the Supreme Court will decide in June whether or not to uphold a controversial Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration. If the justices decide to keep most or all of the law in place, it will likely thrust the immigration issue onto the national stage.
Each of these events has the potential to impact the U.S. presidential election contest in significant yet unpredictable ways. To use an old cliché, it is still anybody's game.

-- Anthony Hopper

#politics #elections #opinion #Obama #Romney

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