August 22nd, 2012 // 7:43 am @ Oliver DeMille
Governor Romney would have to carry every other battleground state if he loses Florida.
Similarly, if Romney wins Florida, he’ll take the election.
We’ve always known that the election would be determined by a few battleground states, but it has now come down to two states: Ohio and Florida.
And Ohio only counts if the candidate who loses Florida is able to win all the other battleground states.
It appears that as goes Florida, so goes the election.
Let’s consider a few thoughts about this.
First, while the 2012 Democratic Convention will be held in North Carolina, the Republican Convention will be in Tampa, Florida.
“All politics is local,” Tip O’Neill said, and the energy of the national convention in Florida is an advantage for Romney.
The popularity of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in the state also benefits the Republicans.
Second, however, Florida is a swing state precisely because it is too close to call.
There are at least three contested voting groups that both sides are courting: the Latino vote, seniors, and transplants from New York and New England.
All three have natural leanings toward the Democratic Party, and President Obama is a talented politician who knows how to effectively appeal to targeted constituencies.
Expect him to actively attract all three in the weeks ahead, and for the Romney-Ryan ticket to attempt the same.
Third, Israel could be a tipping point in this vote.
There is significant support for Israel in Florida, not only among conservatives but also from seniors and Northern transplants.
Washington insiders during the past week have been floating the rumor that Israel may be planning a military action against Iran—timed close to or during one of the 2012 conventions in order to give pro-Israel Romney a chance to speak directly in support of Israel and simultaneously make it more difficult for Obama to take a strong stance against the Netanyahu government.
Fourth, Obama handily won Florida in 2008, carrying a majority of the female vote and a large majority of minority voters.
The Romney-Ryan ticket is playing from behind in both Florida and Ohio, and the election may well be determined by which party organization generates the biggest voter turnout on November 6.
People typically have a sense about an upcoming election, based on the views and thoughts of those around them.
In red states, the overwhelming support for the Republican candidate convinces most that the election results are all but determined in their favor.
People in blue states are persuaded that the Democratic contender has a huge lead.
In reality, the election of 2012 could well come down to a few votes in a few Florida counties.
But before we have recurring dreams of hanging chads and the Supreme Court joining the election, we should remember that the one sure rule of presidential politics is to expect the unexpected.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.