The 'electability' lie, static analysis at its worst
Electability is the most-important characteristic of any candidate in the 2012 presidential elections – or so those with the highest electability would tell you.
Rasmussen Reports released a poll this last week that asked how nation-wide voters felt the candidates would fare against the current occupant of the White House. Mitt Romney did best and Ron Paul the worst – so what.
Electability is a highly-subjective, unquantifiable measure of the chance a candidate has to become elected. The problem is that it assumes that nothing changes between now and the general election – the same type of static analysis used by democrats to push through terrible spending bills, justify flawed savings in Obamacare, fight against real tax reform and so much more. Why are Republicans/Libertarians/Independents – Conservatives by any other name – falling for it now?
Static analysis has been used to show how a tax cut would drastically cut revenues to the government (not a bad thing in my opinion), but it doesn’t consider the dynamics of cutting such taxes. Less taxation would allow businesses to hire/spend which would invigorate the economy and end up with higher receipts up to a certain point (see: Laffer curve). Electability assumes that only the people who currently see a candidate as electable would vote for him in the general election – a terrible assumption.
One of the questions in the same Rasmussen poll was “Suppose your favorite candidate does not win the nomination. When the general election is held, would you be most likely to vote for the Republican candidate, President Barack Obama, or a third party candidate?” 78% said they would vote for the Republican nominee – and that’s just the ones that were being honest.
No one is going to go from considering Rick Santorum, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney to thinking that Obama is the right choice (ok, 8% said they would, but they just weren’t thinking).
As a thought-experiment only (this is not an endorsement or expected outcome so please hold the hate-mail/comments) let’s consider that Rick Perry wins the nomination. Although he did poorly in Rasmussen’s electability question, do you really think that so many would choose Obama over him?
Static analysis assumes that no other factors change – in this case that at the time of the general, all of us would still have our favorite candidate to choose from. That’s not how it will be. We will have a choice between four more years of a dangerous, freedom-killing, near dictatorial Obama -or- a candidate to be named later. While you would rate the other candidates low on electability, when it comes down to it, could you ever pull the lever for Obama.. ever? Of course not – or you’d be over reading the rants at the Huffington Post, New York Times or Media Matters.
Drop the electability garbage and consider the issues. Vote for who most lines up with you. Spend less time finding reasons not to vote for someone and more time considering who will get your vote.
In the primaries, vote for who you want – not who everyone tells you is electable. Using a flawed premise, they are misleading you into voting against your own better sense.