Why John Kerry will win this year's election
But this isn’t about what should happen, or what the Oracle wants to happen. This is about what will really happen, and as a practical matter, one of them is going to win. While pollsters still claim the contest is too close to call, the Oracle sees Kerry winning decisively in November.
Incumbency is usually a big advantage for a U.S. President. The American people are ordinarily loyal to their president, and willing to forgive many things. They forgave President Ronald Reagan for Iran-Contra, and they forgave Bill Clinton for Whitewater and a series of sex scandals. In the off-year election of 1998, they even punished the Republicans who impeached Clinton for the perjury and obstruction of justice that even Ralph Nader admitted were justifiable grounds for removal from office.
But these same American people have also unseated three of the past five incumbent presidents seeking second terms. All three losing presidents (Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republicans Gerald Ford and George Bush) had something in common with each other, the one trait about which the American people are unforgiving. Each was perceived by the public as being inept.
As the campaign winds its way through the so-called debates, the public is beginning to conclude that there is some substance to the comedic caricatures of George W. Bush that have appeared regularly on late-night television and elsewhere for the past four years. (The parallel comedic caricatures of Kerry as a stiff, flip-flopping, money-marrying gigolo will not harm him, because those perceptions only matter to voters who already favor Bush.) The Kerry campaign and its well funded “527" allies will drive home the “inept president” point as best they can without risking voter backlash. As voters make their final decisions, a majority will end up perceiving that Bush too is inept. Having come to the same conclusion about his father just 12 years earlier will help seal the deal.