With the recent CNN report that the Electoral College could be tied after the November election, could the Obamacare ruling show a hint to how Supreme Court intervention in November would impact who’s president in 2013?
Ironically, just a few months ago, more conservatives probably felt pretty darn good about the possibility of the 2012 presidential election coming down to the Supreme Court. With the 5-4 split between conservatives and liberals on the nation’s highest Court, there once was the feeling that if the Court had to play a role in the outcome of the national election akin to the circumstances surrounding Bush v. Gore, Republicans would have the upper hand – and, perhaps, the presidency starting in 2013.
Likely, conservatives don’t feel so confident about that now. Moreso, they are probably dutifully aware that anything resembling a close race probably looks like a forecast for a narrow Obama victory in the fall.
Thank the Affordable Care Act for that shift in sentiments.
Although the feelings of betrayal and mistrust for Chief Justice John Roberts (and, indirectly, President George W. Bush) have not been on high display as they were during the immediate aftermath of the ACA ruling earlier this summer, thoughts on how the Court could play a detrimental for Republicans in the presidential election will simmer to a slow boil as the summer finishes up.
The positive impact that upholding the controversial law has had on President Obama’s re-election momentum has already been seen in some polls, with the president up by as many as 6 points despite bad jobs numbers and low GDP growth. The looming possibility of some court case being kicked up to the Supreme Court – heightened by the notion that the Electoral College could actually deadlock in an election filled with negative campaigning against Romney and dissatisfaction with the economy over the past 4 years – seems to work in President Obama’s favor at this point as both incumbent candidate and ACA victor.
The apparent loss of conservative advantage on the Supreme Court by way of recent rulings including the Obamacare decision could continue through the rest of the year. Should an election controversy play out, the disadvantage is only a symptom of the overall problem that conservatives are facing as we move towards the conventions. Every advantage that Republicans felt that they might have had going into November 2012 – whether it was a bad economy, controversial flip-flops of positions by President Obama, or the build-up to big Supreme Court decisions this summer – seems to have fizzled out without the blow to the Obama campaign that conservatives expected.
Although some of this could be attributed to classic campaign processes or some flubs by the Republican nominee, some of it also must be attributed to the momentum lost by conservatives when both the immigration case between Arizona and the Department of Justice and the Obamacare case rulings failed to have provide the stinging losses for the Obama Administration some had predicted in the spring. Despite the controversies of Obama-led legal maneuvers by this Administration, the conservative-leaning court has yet to affirm through rulings the inferences of Obama-led socialism with some of its high-profile decisions. Because of this, if there is a close race that comes down to the wire – and perhaps the Supreme Court – later this year, conservatives cannot feel as cozy about the outcome as a result of how 2012 has played out so far with the Roberts-led court. Previous wins during 2012 in front of the Supreme Court could make it more likely that representatives of President Obama would continue that winning trend should the election come down to a legal challenge. That makes what was considered a conservative advantage in 2000 a toss-up at best for conservatives – if necessary – in 2012.
The message for conservatives this fall is this: with a bad economy and inconsistencies in Mr. Obama’s presidential record in tow, Republicans must ensure that any defeat of President Obama in November is one that is decisive in the Electoral College. Anything less that sparks a controversy could lead to a Bush Redux – and lead to a second Obama term if the Supreme Court’s 2012 leanings are any indication.
LENNY MCALLISTER is a senior contributor to Politic 365 featured on outlets including CNN Newsroom, CNN’s “Early Start”, Current TV “The Young Turks”, and XM Radio. His new book, “Spoken Thoughts of an Amalgamated Advocate in Today’s America” is now available electronically on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com . Catch Lenny’s “The McAllister Minute” on The American Urban Radio Network this week and other latest via the new LennyMcAllister.com website.