As has often been pointed out, most voters would prefer a Republican to Obama. However, most voters would prefer Obama over any of the current Republican candidates. Perhaps because of this, the Republicans have been eagerly trying to recruit more candidates. For example, there seems to have been a desperate attempt to get Chris Christie to run (an attempt the media seemed intent on supporting by willfully disregarding his litany of “no”).
In the case of Christie, I think he was wise not to run. As he noted, he wants to get more experience. Also, while his conservative credentials are excellent in regards to financial matters, he lacks the extremism in other areas that seem so essential to appealing to the base Republicans. I think Christie would have done well with the main stream voters, but I think he was well aware that he would not have gotten through the nomination process. Christie also seems like a very sensible person and hence probably wants to avoid the hostility and extremism of the current process. However, I think we can expect to see him running at a future point-hopefully when politics is a bit less deranged.
Getting back to the main focus, I suspect that the Republicans might end up handing Obama the win by making him seem the lesser of two evils. First, the Republican candidates have been somewhat unusually harsh with each other, thus doing some of Obama’s work for him. When the campaign gets going, Obama’s supporters will probably have plenty of ammunition against the Republican-ammunition forged by the other Republicans. Second, the Republican candidates have been pandering to the more extreme elements of their base and their supporters. While this is necessary to get the nomination, it also tends to scare and alienate moderates and independents. For example, I suspect that most moderates think that the EPA could use some fine tuning, but that it is probably a good idea to have an agency that protects the environment. Third, the Republican candidates seem rather good at lowering their appeal to mainstream voters and also losing the votes of certain blocks. For example, I suspect that if Cain gets the nod, many folks who are unemployed will not be voting for him. Fourth, more people are beginning to realize that the Republicans are mainly devoted to the corporations and not to the general population and this will cost them a few voters. While people do think the same of Democrats, the Democrats do seem more concerned about the people.
Interestingly, Obama’s best hope of getting re-elected lies with the Republicans snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Given the economy, the election is currently theirs to lose. However, if they cannot convince enough voters that they can do a better job for them than Obama, then he will get his second term. Ironically, the Republicans would beat Obama, if it were not for their actual candidates.