by Nick Stone of Drawnlines Politics:
Imagine this scenario: Americans are weary from four years of disarray both at home and abroad. A complicated war has left the President’s base alienated. A culture war at home has left the Party divided. A massive new federal program has incensed the opposition and exploded the deficit. As an election looms, nervous Democrats turn on one another and descend into political meltdown. Even the most loyal journalists eventually turn on the once popular President and the headlines aren’t pretty. A second term once seemed inevitable, but now appears impossible.
If this scenario seems implausible in 2012, would you be surprised to learn it has already happened?
|1968: Johnson stuns the world by announcing he won’t run for re-election.|
The year was 1968. As bad news piled up for President Johnson, members of his own Party found themselves unable to hold their tongues. The base fractured and revolted. Despite an intense effort to drown a primary challenge from Eugene McCarthy in New Hampshire, Johnson clung to a surprisingly narrow victory. Against the possibility of an embarrassing defeat, LBJ announced to America that he would not seek, nor would he accept his Party’s nomination for President in the following election.
Rather than LBJ, President Obama’s campaign team has attempted to draw parallels to Harry Truman’s 1948 comeback. Of course, no parallel would be perfect. Both Truman and Johnson took office because of the death of their predecessors, while Obama was elected during the death of our economy. The base voters of the Democratic Party have also changed over time. Obama was elected with 53% of the vote by an uncommon coalition of youth, blacks, Latinos and cross-over Obamicans. Support from these groups has steadily declined, leaving Obama below 50% today. If that math seems unspinnably bad, the history is even worse. Only one Democrat in modern history has won re-election.
Speaking of Bill Clinton…
If President Obama truly believes in Democratic causes and wants to keep the White House away from the GOP, he may have no choice but to step aside. Last week, the Chicago Tribune ran an opinion suggesting that Obama clear the way for Hillary Clinton to take the nomination next year. More recently, Clinton strategist Dick Morris wondered aloud, What is Bill Clinton Up To?, suggesting that he was laying the foundation for Hillary’s nomination. According to Morris, a senior Democratic strategist recently told him that if the metrics don’t improve before January, Obama may consider doing just that.