Deadline Now: Melissa Miller and Fletcher Word
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Deadline Now: Melissa Miller and Fletcher Word

Friday, January 20, 2012

Melissa Miller, associate professor of political science at Bowling Green State University, and Fletcher Word, editor and publisher of The Sojourner's Truth, discuss the campaign for the White House, as well as politics a little closer to home, media coverage of the campaign, and make a few predictions.

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Here are JackLessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of Deadline Now:

As of today, it looks like Michigan native and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is probably going to be the Republican nominee for President -- and is likely to give President Obama a stiff battle in November.

That’s what we think may happen. But forty years ago today, it was clear that the certain Democratic nominee would be Senator Ed Muskie of Maine, who was actually leading President Richard Nixon in the polls. Twenty years ago today, there was a battle for the Democratic nomination, but the early leader was Paul Tsongas.

True, some thought Bill Clinton, the young governor of Arkansas had a shot -- but it didn’t really matter. That’s because the experts all figured that the first President George Bush would be reelected easily. After all, he presided over both the collapse of the Soviet Union and led an international coalition to a tremendous victory in the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein.

Well, what a difference a few months can make. Even if the presidential nominating contest turns out the way we think it might right now, there are going to be a vast amount of twists and turns along the way. And there are thousands of other elections this year, many of which may be as important to us as the presidency.

Ohio will be watching to see whether Marcy Kaptur ends Dennis Kucinich’s long career in Congress, for example -- or the other way around.  The entire nation will be watching to see if Democrats  Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Sherrod Brown of Ohio hang on to their seats in the U.S. Senate. If they don‘t, that‘s likely to mean Republicans will take control of the upper house.

On the other hand, a sizable Obama victory could allow Democrats to take back  the House. And there will be more local elections and ballot questions than you can shake a punch card at.

This is all bound to be fascinating. Personally, there are two outcomes I am hoping for this year. I hope that as many people as possible pay attention, get informed, and vote. But even more than that, I hope we can get back to something like a consensus on both sides that the other party is the opponent, not the enemy.

In recent years, especially perhaps among Republicans, there has been a tendency to demonize the opposition. That’s not good for our nation, or for democracy. We can do better, no matter who wins.