The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Preference Cascade

For the past few months, even when the polls showed Mitt Romney behind Barack Obama by double digits, I suggested that a "preference cascade" was coming and that Barack Obama would lose his presidency as a consequence. The reasons were both obvious and compelling. Obama presents the American people with a four year record that is so bad that it is difficult to ignore. High Unemployment, high indebtedness, unconstrained spending, growing government dependency, intrusive government regulations, extreme partisanship, divisiveness, out of control federal agencies (e.g., the EPA) ... the list is long.

In a whimsical piece dedicated to the subject, Jim Geraghty conjures the image of a group of young Obama campaign operatives, sitting around a campfire listening to ghost stories about a "preference cascade" that could ruin their candidate. A wizened campaign veteran speaks:
“It [the preference cascade] sniffs out weakness and vulnerability in a well-known candidate’s job approval numbers,” he said, pointing his finger. “Sometimes voters avert their eyes from an incumbent’s flaws — he’s in there, they hope he does well. Sometimes they won’t like what he’s doing, but they’ll avert their eyes. They’ll come up with all kinds of excuses. But the Preference Cascade’s catalyst triggers this change, and suddenly all of that repressed disapproval comes tumbling out. It’s not that the candidate has suddenly irked these voters so much; it’s that they’ve been irked for a while and they suddenly feel okay expressing it. And once they see more people expressing it, they express it louder themselves — swaying the people around them. It’s like a feedback group that gets louder and more intense and faster as time goes on.”

By now the young [Obama] campaign consultants around the campfire were wide-eyed.

The youngest found his voice, just loud enough to whisper, “Once the Preference Cascade starts hunting your candidate, how do you stop it?”

The old timer looked the young consultant in the eye with a grim, haunted look.

“Nobody knows.”
I do — have a record that shows real, not imaginary, accomplishment and run on that record, rather than trying to demonize your opponent.

Oh, that's not possible in Barack Obama's case? Then don't look into the darkness beyond the campfire because the preference cascade is lurking in the darkness and getting stronger with every passing hour.


The Tennessean is a Nashville Newspaper with a long Liberal tradition. In fact, it once employed Al Gore early in his career. Yesterday, the Editorial Board of The Tennessean surprised readers with their endorsement for President of the United States:
"The next president must be the one with the best chance to get the crushing, $16 trillion national debt under control, coupled with the more immediate need of enabling a vibrant job market.

It is because the economy is paramount that The Tennessean endorses Gov. Mitt Romney for president."

Today, the NYT reports:
Four years after The Sentinel, central Florida’s largest newspaper, endorsed Barack Obama’s candidacy for president, the newspaper’s editorial page said Mr. Romney is the better choice this time.

“We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years,” the editorial in Friday’s edition said. “For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.”

... the preference cascade is lurking in the darkness and getting stronger with every passing hour.