History's lesson for the presidential election
What can the past tell us about Tuesday’s outcome?
- Duration 16:02
- Date Nov 6, 2012
What can the past tell us about Tuesday’s outcome?
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Get some perspective from two brilliant political minds.
Joining us from Vanderbilt University downing Nashville Tennessee professor Thomas -- professor of political science.
And history and from -- now.
Richard F pencil to Gary S Davis professor of government up that in -- great to see you gentlemen what an exciting day.
That's all right let me start when you professor -- I would only look back on base election.
What do you think we will where will it be placed in history as the meanest election we've ever seen the most expensive.
The -- -- -- by the end of tonight have you seen his playing at.
Well I think it -- dependent on on the outcome if President Obama is reelected.
I think the election will be seen as part of an.
A legitimizing of the social welfare reform particularly the affordable health care act obamacare.
And the that the changing you might say the changing.
America's health care system of 15 of the economy I think it will.
Be affected by the perception that that issue worthy that the significance of the Obama.
Legislative record was then -- -- or.
Approved by the voters I think that would be probably the key thing that would be remembered.
And professor vessel if governor wrong any -- to win.
A -- would be the historical significance of that annual mind and the political significance.
To they're not always a look at this we will -- One is that the economy's been very very bad and so you look at.
Political science models most political science models have been predicting for a year or more.
That Romney -- -- the Republican nominee didn't know what's gonna be wrong is that what it would would have a there.
Clean sweep in the election.
If they if if Obama were to win that would negate those models and would -- Would -- -- inject.
A certain amount of reality.
And texture to hit to the ways the -- the American nation makes it makes decisions.
Because a political science models that are really really spare they just say.
People look at they're there they're in goma over the last year and the growth in the economy and that's how they vote.
And by those models Obama should lose so if Romney wins it's a confirmation of very simple models of voters' decision making.
And -- didn't the professor Schwartz if the President Obama does hang on nor does winning comfortably gets a second term.
And given given walk up -- a pencil just said.
Does that imply that the Republicans lost this because all of their candidate.
-- it implies that it implies that.
Governor Romney wasn't able to make a strong enough case.
That his election would change economic realities for Americans -- that they decided to stay with.
The president that they knew it also may imply that the president's campaign which is focused on presenting governor Romney is someone who would drastically cut.
Programs that help the middle class.
That would return us to the economic policies of George W.
Bush that that campaign was effective in that that in effect.
Created the impression of going backwards in time in that sense the president's campaign slogan for what would be reconfirmed.
As -- -- as we look across the landscape of the polls and have looked across the landscape of the polls.
Over the past few weeks I think a lot of people just looking on a lot of our -- -- Have just been downright confused.
There's a lot of polls pointing in this direction and then that direction and a lot of people saying that the polls don't make sense anymore.
Have the half the polls lost some relevance is the is the advent of the real advent this time random people not having so many land lines people have being more committed to social media has not made a real difference so do you still believe that ultimately.
The the majority of the polls will be proven to be quite.
I think I think -- that the majority the polls are gonna be accurate.
One of the things that's -- most interesting this election has been a breakdown.
Between electoral college and the popular vote projections.
And one of the things we've seen over the last couple months is a deepening I think it in in Republican strength in the states that they already.
Have one remains in effect they've they've been written off by the Democrats.
So that the red states have been deepening redder the Blue States have -- getting marginally Biller but it's the -- battleground states that it.
That have been decisive.
But this means that there is a real chance that it -- that Romney could -- win the popular vote.
And lose the Electoral College this is this is this bit then went to my mind -- in terms of party competition in the future of American democracy.
This is really important.
Because -- the polarization.
Of the American electorate into two halves into the red states in the blue.
Blue States that that is really significant but I think that's what's been confusing the poll.
And I'd fix itself is a point that several people have made -- professor Schwartz that.
There is this -- that governor Romney could win the popular vote.
Let yet lose the Electoral College if that would happen -- would be the second time in twelve years.
Do you think we shouldn't look again at how we elect a president.
I think that will happen I mean in this case the other party will be the one that's -- this case the Republicans who took advantage of that in 2000 with the election George Bush against Al Gore.
So there might -- comes on some bipartisan attempt perhaps to perform the Electoral College to set up ways to make.
To to break away from the the winner take all.
Manner in which electoral votes are -- only now only Maine and Nebraska.
Have any sort of alternative to simply awarding all their votes to that to the winner.
So and I think that might bring -- sort of -- -- change to the system but it's it's hard to say.
That reforming the constitution.
Is very difficult thing but I think.
-- the effect of a Romney victory in the popular vote and losing the Electoral College maybe just the straw that broke the camel's back.
-- presidential if we want to ever look at reform all of -- system.
Won't be the best way do what is it wouldn't just be better if the states.
What proportional frenzy win Pennsylvania are if you get 50% of pennsylvanians vote you get ten of their Electoral College votes and the other person gets added 50% to.
-- that that might be better and it may be the only way to get it through it as a constitutional amendment.
That debt then -- Electoral College as it.
-- almost any scenario for reforming Electoral College.
Has to have thicket the consent of the states.
And the states are going to do this and I mean that this small states are going to do this -- so so thinking about reform is thinking about some ways in which you can.
You you can.
-- you can utilize the existing system.
And at this stage can do this now they can have -- -- -- they're they're -- electoral votes.
According the proportion of the popular vote.
And I don't think they're going to do that.
I want to talk to you both you first professor Schwartz about.
The -- hobbies -- go.
In the in -- it given the scenario that they lose.
The White House and I think the Republicans have probably the most interesting night you could make an argument probably on two sides -- if they lose this.
The right wing of the party could say it's because we didn't choose a candidate who was conservative enough.
The more moderate rain in the body could argue that they chose a candidate who was the right Canada but they pushed him to -- to the right.
So what do you think will happen within the Republican -- ifs and obviously -- -- a big -- right at governor Romney loses.
You know my own sons might be that the party you'll move to the right that the activists who.
Opposed Romney is as not being sufficiently conservative enough.
May gain a certain advantage.
It would partly depend of course on what the margin is and what it looks like.
In terms of the election but I I have a feeling that just -- elections losing an election sometimes radicalized as a part of your moves it to the right.
And I would think that you might see because governor Romney in some senses represented a moderate alternative.
I think you may see the Republicans move toward a more conservative candidate next time the parallel to hear.
Might be -- Gerald Ford's loss tonight and 76.
To Jimmy Carter.
And the Republican Party then moved more to the right with Ronald Reagan in 1980 now they were able to prevail in 1980.
But many thought the time that that was going to be electoral disaster.
I -- a -- -- what where do you see there are Republicans going gay if they lose today because.
Most of the almost the bigger name.
I candidates potential Canada's lining up -- 2016.
Seem to be from the slightly more moderate wing of the party the rubio is the -- that got Chris Christie's.
-- the -- I think that it there's a nerd near term question which is where he headed towards the fiscal cliff.
And if you're -- -- are going to avoid that there's going to have to be a compromise.
I think a Romney loses the election I think there are moderates are a lot of them but there are there are moderates and in congress the Republican Party.
And that -- are sufficient to attitude to.
To forge this compromise some day they will raise taxes.
And is this -- -- on the position that day.
-- that more bankers and corporate leaders are beginning to adopt as well and I think we're gonna see more of a split between economic and -- That what -- economic its corporate -- -- our economists and corporate.
National economy people and did -- really into it that.
The moral right wing economists and the social the social issues they're -- real problem for the Republican Party so I my own feeling.
Is that is in the near term we'll look at a look at this fiscal cliff.
When -- see all the Republicans react to it whether the moderates do split off for a compromise and then.
And then go from there but I did that the -- is the Republican Party gonna develop deep fissures that are going to be enduring out of this election and are quite hard.
Professor Schwartz that Tea Party not done by any means of the Republican Party would you site.
Well I don't think so I think some of the issues we'll certainly be there depending on how the party has to react.
-- -- fiscal cliff issue and what types of compromises that -- to make.
I think it fuels continue to see some activism along that line -- -- -- if governor Romney does lose and President Obama comes and and and done obamacare comes in his activated.
I think you will see gut reactions.
Continuing reactions to this idea of government.
Intrusion into health care system.
And you'll have on the on the other issue for the Tea Party to be.
Acting against -- -- professor let us.
-- and let's look at the other side the Democrats.
If President Obama would to lose.
Does this have any great political impact will it lead to a lot of internal wrangling within the Democratic Party or is it just OK we move -- win.
Hillary Clinton all whomever.
I I think that the Democratic Party comes out of this if it was Obama defeat comes out of this.
Pretty good shape.
One at one of the things that it that it again it did.
That expectation at the beginning of the year looking at the economic conditions and so forth was that good of the Democratic Party is gonna have.
Are a lot of problems on the winning this election that Obama has done as well as he could get this it isn't -- surprising.
Now what has happened is -- major weighing them in the majors are weighing would have been they Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton.
Part of the party and they've come in and and campaigned hard for further for Obama.
I find this -- it didn't remarkably unifying and I think dictated that Hillary Clinton -- if she chooses to run.
Is almost -- heir apparent to it to the nomination.
I don't think they have a problem.
And it's -- professor Schwartz it vein it doesn't look as though at the moment on the face of it that we will get any change in the balance of power.
In congress but -- adjustment anecdotally talking to -- -- I I find -- sort of their desire on this on the part of some of -- to actually go back to a position where in some one party controls everything because they've all decided that's the only way anything ever gets done anymore do you think there is that -- It's sort of mood within the country now.
We now know Ryan all right but I certainly think both Republicans and Democrats would both like to control both houses of congress and be able want to do -- -- that.
Clearly is there.
The thing is that that often tends to leave you the parties to -- reach and then produce a reaction against as happened in the 2010.
Elections when the Republicans were able to take -- manager of what were -- sort of very partisan.
Pieces of legislation and then to campaign against them and then and then to win control the house.
So certainly I think that the voters may feel that way but then they often react when when the parties actually do get that control -- are able to move in one direction.
You often see them reacting against him professor -- I do you think that what ever the outcome of the presidential race.
We will see a congress that feels a duty and all obligation and I actually.
And tell us work together more or do we just don't give up right now apple.
I I they should give up right now that I got excited.
I think he.
It -- for the economic issues.
And there's going to be no compromise I think what's going to happen.
I think Obama's going to win today.
But I think in two years the Republicans are going to come back very very strong in the congressional elections.
And they're gonna have large majorities.
A lot of large majority in the house and they may be able to take the senate then -- there won't take it this time I don't think.
That you're looking you're looking at that home almost classic historical pattern here.
And that second mid term election -- pretty.
For -- two term president is usually disastrous first party.
All right gentlemen you're gonna hate me for this but I'm gonna put you on the spot anyway professor -- you first give me a prediction for tonight.
Not timing Electoral College numbers who wins.
I think right now that's going to be something like 290 to 248.
Obama winning in the Electoral College it'll be close.
And some of those states won't come in until fairly late -- so and then there's always a possibility that it'll come down.
As it did in 2004 to Ohio again and we'll be waiting for those final results professor Basil you'll predictions.
I had -- I think those are pretty good pretty good numbers I I would I would -- me 300 didn't and 238.
But it's it's certainly ballpark for me.
And now and I've been telling my name I -- my students here Cornell yet it's that it's 2 o'clock in the morning I I think.
By and then the networks are going to be tired we're going to be tired and they're just gonna call it.
But they're -- know sometime before that that are gonna be so careful and Ohio.
That even the that you know we're going to be watching Ohio the numbers are going to be there.
Ed that there -- a bit -- -- a long time they don't wanna be wrong this time.
That's -- shall we -- gonna right wing in a wait until we know for shawl and get it right always more important although with.
The media has always followed that rule of being not right rather than being first.
-- is both -- soul and Schwartz said professor Thomas -- Professor of political science at -- history at Vanderbilt University.
And professor -- professor of government at Cornell.
How wonderful to get your perspective that I really eliminating thank you both very much enjoy this election night and I -- would gladly say.
We all done by 2 AM Wednesday morning good luck to you gentlemen.
Thank you thank you.