Come Back Kid Syndrome: Beware Of 2012 Election Predictions

This election marks the 20 year anniversary of Bill Clinton’s historic 1992 campaign for President. It also marks the 20 year anniversary of my being permanently infected with the Political Junkie Virus. Ever since, I’ve been a little TOO excited by Presidential elections, going so far as to write blogs like this one!

What can we learn from the Bill Clinton experience? Guys like me make false predictions all the time. That is, elections rarely go the way people think they’re going to.

Political pundits love to declare winners and losers at every step along the way of an election campaign. I’m certainly not immune! The trouble is that pundits, reporters, and bloggers like myself are nearly always wrong.

 

 
As the fellow from Arkansas stopped and started, chatting with small children, fixing his gaze on all who shook his hand, the impatient husband tapped his wife on her shoulder. “C’mon,” he said, pointing to the clock. “You have to get to Boston. Anyway, there’s no point waiting for this guy. He’s not going anywhere.” 

 
 

That was a political reporter recounting what he said about Bill Clinton in 1992. He was hardly alone. Clinton’s now famous line claiming that he was the “come back kid” because he finished 2nd in the New Hamshire primary cut right to the heart of the issue.

The early primary states bare little resemblance to the rest of the nation in terms of electoral demographics. And, even if they did, the nature of the system is that there’s a feedback loop where the results of one primary influence how people make decisions in future primaries – each one compounding on the next. This can’t be discounted. Electoral Politics is a complex, dynamic system which makes prediction quite hard to say the least.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun exercise.  
So, my prediction for this election cycle is that Romney will eventually win the Republican race, and then lose the general to Obama. 
 
There are no Bill Clinton’s in this race. Certainly not on the Republican side. 

 
 


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