A recent and well-researched model concluded GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will defeat President Barack Obama.
The model also assumes a simplistic electorate that struggles to deal with the complex issues facing our nation.
The presidential race, the University of Colorado researchers determined, won’t even be very close.
The issue, according to their model, is fairly simple.
“The apparent advantage of being a Democratic candidate and holding the White House disappears,” said Prof. Michael Berry, ”when the national unemployment rate hits 5.6 percent. The incumbency advantage enjoyed by President Obama, though statistically significant, is not great enough to offset high rates of unemployment currently experienced in many of the states.”
Romney will win the electoral college by a 320-218 margin, based on the economic conditions of the various states, the model predicts. Romney will win 52.9 percent of the popular vote.
For Romney supporters and the many anti-Obama enthusiasts, the model is good news.
The description of the American people incorporated into the model, however, is disturbing.
We are politically incapable, the model suggests, of dealing with a recession that drags down an economy for more than four years. We lack the ability to examine the policies that contributed to the recession. We are incapable, it suggests, of understanding the legislative significance of a House more determined to defeat the president than to fix the economy.
The model suggests we base our political decisions on the most basic economic indicators, ignoring fundamental issues about the role of government in caring for the poor and even the significance of the deficit. If the model is correct, factors that do not directly and quickly impact the unemployment rate are irrelevant to America’s political destiny.
There are arguments that Romney’s strategy would improve the economy, just as there are arguments that Obama’s strategy would do so with more time or a cooperative Congress. If the model created by researchers is accurate, however, those arguments do not matter. All we are capable of is comparing two economic snapshots.
That raises concerns far more significant than the identity of the next occupant of the White House.