Finally the day has come! The US Presidential Election 2012 opens with the Iowa caucus tonight. As I have written earlier, I am very interested in US politics and have looked forward to this year's campaign for a long time.
The former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, has more or less been campaigning ever since he lost the GOP nomination in 2008 to John McCain, and many consider him to be «the next in line» to front the party in this year's election. He is supported by the majority of the Republican establishment, he is in the lead among the Republican candidates concerning fundraising, he has solid business experience which surely will be helpful and the polls show that he has the greatest chance to beat President Barack Obama.
It is of course far too early to predict who will win the election in November, but as of now I think the chances of Mitt Romney becoming the next US President is greater than that Obama will be re-elected. The economy is the main reason for this. According to Cafferty File no president since Roosevelt has won re-election with unemployment over 7.2% The current rate is today 8.6%, and no-one seriously expects that it will be anywhere near 7.2% in November. But if the economy shows signs of improvement in the fall, Obama might surprise us after all.
The GOP campaign has been interesting to watch the last few months. Romney is obviously one of the Republican candidates closest to the political center, and for the Republican (Christian-Conservative) right he is just not conservative enough. The «anyone but Mitt» slogan has dominated in the GOP campaign so far, where more conservative politicians, supported by the Tea Party, have give given Romney a true challenge for a while but then slipped behind again – Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Cain and Gingrich have all come and gone. Romney's position has not weakened. Tonight only Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum have a chance to win the Iowa caucus, and to keep some excitement a few more weeks I almost hope that Santorum will win the majority of delegates!
Romney doesn't need to win tonight, he is certain to win in New Hampshire and will probably take South Carolina unless Santorum's campaign should catch more wind if he does well tonight. Gingrich shouldn't be ruled out completely, but as I have already hinted I would be really surprised if Romney doesn't win the nomination in the end. It will be more exciting to see who he will choose as his VP candidate. He might have to pick a more conservative partner in order to please the right wing of his party, but the VP can't be too conservative either as it would surely scare off too many of the independent, centrist votes. I will come back to this later on.
The results of the Iowa caucus is expected to be ready around 3 a.m. Norwegian time. I would love to stay up to follow the news as the results come in, but as my 17 months old daughter has not given me the best sleep the last couple of nights, I will have to wait until tomorrow to get the latest news of the campaign. I plan to visit the United States in the summer and really hope that I will be able to follow the election campaign more closely then.
I have to include some genealogy in this article as well. It is after all one of my main interests. Fortunately the website of the genealogist William A. Reitwiesner, who died in 2010, is still in existence. At his website Wargs.com you can find the ancestry tables of Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich. Rick Santorum is not listed, but you can find some details here and here. I have blogged about Michele Bachmann, née Amble, earlier. I haven't had the time yet to do more research on her Norwegian ancestry, but you will find some details here, here and here. One of Rick Perry's great-great grandfathers was a Choctaw (Native American) according to this page. Yet another page with information on his ancestry can be found here. And finally, go here for a collection of the presidential candidates' ancestries. I can of course not speak for the accuracy of information given at the various websites I have provided links to.
Updated on Thursday 5 January 2012 at 15.45 (subject title).