Most politicians would like to believe that loyalty to their political party is what governs most voters in America. However, that is not the case. What drives most elections is the national emotion of the time.
When Ronald Reagan ran against President Jimmy Carter in 1980, the national emotional was one of disgust and fear. They were disgusted with Carter’s failure in dealing with the Iran hostage situation and they feared the struggling economy. Reagan told the American people that he would deal with Iran and fix the economy. A large factor in his victory over Carter was that he targeted the emotions of the time and offered what the people needed to sooth those emotions.
In 2004, the national emotion was one of anger and vengeance for the 9-11 attacks in 2001. President George W Bush took action against those who attacked America and in the eyes of many, was a national hero for doing so. His 2004 campaign played to those emotions and helped him to narrowly beat out Sen John Kerry.
In 2008, the economy was sliding because of the collapse of the housing market due to the mortgage practices set in place by former President Bill Clinton. The national emotion was one of uncertainty and skepticism. Sen John McCain failed to address those emotions while Sen Barack Obama went straight for them. He promised change and hope, something the American people desperately wanted so they flocked to him and his promises when they went to the polls.
Four years later, the prevailing emotion is fear. Americans are afraid of losing their jobs, their homes and their country. They fear that America is on the verge of a financial collapse far worse than the Great Depression. Many fear the extremely liberal ideology that is permeating out of the White House.
Barack Obama has not held to his promises made four years ago. The American people are placing the blame on him for many of their fears. This is being reflected by some Democrats switching to the Republican Party and other Dems backing away from openly supporting Obama. Many black pastors and their congregations are also turning away from Obama after his announcement to support same-sex marriage. Various polls are showing a downward slide in his popularity.
If Mitt Romney wants to win in November, he needs to capitalize on the nation’s fears and address them like Obama did four years ago. He needs to offer hope and solutions to each of those fears and assure the people that he won’t make the same mistakes that Obama has made. He also needs to repeatedly point the finger of blame on Obama so that the people truly see him as the source of their fear and that only Romney can offer them hope. If Romney and his campaign can do this, they will have a much better chance of winning back the White House and saving the country.