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Wh 5( 7h 5llenge' w dll f 5 7e (he new p&e' dden( 5( h d' in 5ugu& 5( d#n #n J 5nu 5&y 20? and wh 5( d' (he fu(u&e #f ch& ... more. less.
d'( d 5n 7#n'e&v 5( d'!? in (h d' 5&( d 7le, (h&ee #f regen( 9' !#'( d d'( dngu d'hed p&#fe''#&' g dve u' (he d& dn' dgh('.<br><br> tHe Next PreSiDeNt FAceS DAUNtiNG cHAlleNGeS Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D. A m ericans tend to look up to their presidents as agenda-setters, but whoever wins the upcoming presidential election will inevitably con+ront an array o+ +oreign and domestic challenges not o+ his own choosing.<br><br> Regarding national security, the new president 9s attention will likely turn +rom Iraq toward emerging threats elsewhere. Iranian nuclear ambitions, +or example, are something no president can ignore. Barack Obama has said he would be willing to meet unconditionally with Iran 9s head-o+- state, while John McCain advocates a more assertive stance with economic sanctions and military options on the table.<br><br> Either way, such threats will be high on the +oreign policy agenda. Te state o+ the economy will also command the president 9s attention. Current indicators point toward a modest short- term recovery, but longer-term risks such as the U.S.<br><br> trade imbalance, the troubled housing market, and historically high global commodity and energy prices threaten not just the American economy but also the world economy. Obama 9s consistent progressivism suggests more aggressive government intervention and regulation in an attempt to sure up economic uncertainties. McCain, +or his part, is not a typical +ree-market conservative, and is unlikely to provide the kind o+ strong anti- interventionist leadership conservatives are hoping +or, especially i+ con+ronted by a Democratic majority in Congress.<br><br> Tat is not all. Health care costs, +or example, currently consume one sixth o+ the GDP and are rising considerably +aster than infation. Social Security, too, is on an unsustainable trajectory.<br><br> On both issues the status quo is untenable, and we are likely to reach the political tipping point in the next administration. And none o+ this addresses the social issues that so deeply divide America. Recently such issues have been driven more by the state governments and the courts than by presidential politics, but one can generally expect support +or liberal social causes +rom the le+t- leaning Obama.<br><br> McCain, however, is something o+ a wild card. While his abortion record is consistently pro- li+e, he +avors +etal tissue research and state discretion on gay marriage. So +orget the care+ully cra+ted stump speeches.<br><br> Circumstances have a way o+ setting agendas. Some things are even out o+ the president 9s hands. tHe FUtUre OF cHriStiAN cONSerVAtiSM Gerson Moreno-Riano, Ph.D.<br><br> # he hallmark o+ political science, we are o+ten told, is its ability to predict the political +uture. As any astute observer o+ politics knows, this is a di++icult endeavor. #here simply is no crystal ball +or politics.<br><br> #hinking about the +uture o+ the Christian conservative movement in America should be less about predicting speci+ic events and more about considering the continual development o+ the movement in the years ahead. #o do this, we must have a sense o+ what Christian conservatism is in the here and now. #o many, the Christian conservative movement is readily identi+iable, yet its current state is one that lacks any clear and de+ining characteristic.<br><br> #he term cChristian d no longer exhibits a uni+ied and distinct theological vision. Rather, it is an amalgam o+ di++erent theological traditions and impulses, all with competing values and visions o+ the world. Such pluralism +ragments Christendom and impairs its ability to advance a uni+ied vision o+ the relationship between the city o+ man and the City o+ God.<br><br> American conservatism is in no better 36 regent university christian leader fall|winter 2008 37 condition. #here is a deep ambivalence among conservatives as to what it is that they should be preserving. What political principles should provide the +oundation +or American political li+e?<br><br> Conservatives are not united in their answers to this question. #here are vigorous debates among them concerning the role o+ religion, partisanship, science, natural rights and history as the +oundational ideas o+ the American republic. Uniting the terms cChristian d and cConservative d thus results in a social movement that contains a generic understanding o+ Christianity and conservatism but that lacks a clear articulation o+ what this means in the 21st century.<br><br> #his lack o+ identity is exacerbated with the movement 9s absence o+ leadership and purpose. #he era o+ great Christian conservative statesmanship is coming to an end. What we have today is a vast market o+ purveyors o+ trendy ideas and principles clothed in Christian jargon but empty o+ substance.<br><br> #he +uture o+ American Christian conservatism, regardless o+ the 2008 presidential election outcome, is a bleak one. Unless the movement recaptures a statesmanship that is principled and relevant, it +lirts with being relegated to the corners o+ American political li+e. WHO Will WiN: ObAMA Or MccAiN?<br><br> Charles W. Dunn, Ph.D. W ho will win: Obama or McCain?<br><br> Historians, political scientists, pollsters and psychologists have devised many models to predict the winner o+ presidential elections. #o develop your own model, you may draw +rom theirs, which +ocus on the economy, optimism in speeches, charisma, party records, third-party participation, intra-party contests, win-streak analysis, public opinion polls, voter turnout and changing circumstances. The Economy .<br><br> Economists have discovered that when economic growth is signi+icantly up, in+lation down and disposable income up, the party in the White House usually wins. Public perception, however, may alter this outcome as it did in 1992, when based upon economic data, President George H.W. Bush should have beaten Bill Clinton, but the public 9s perception o+ the economy was not good.<br><br> Clinton advisor James Carville understood that when he said, cIt 9s the economy, stupid. d Optimism in Speeches . Some psychologists believe that optimism in candidate speeches holds the key to predicting the winner. For example, in 1980 Ronald Reagan used the theme cIt 9s morning in America d to beat Jimmy Carter, who spoke about cmalaise in America. d Charisma .<br><br> In 1960 John F. Kennedy 9s charisma enabled him to beat Richard Nixon in one o+ America 9s closest presidential elections. Kennedy 9s charisma became evident in his interactions with crowds and notably in the +irst televised debate.<br><br> #elevision viewers picked Kennedy as the winner o+ the debate, but those who heard the debate on radio picked Nixon. Party Record . I+ the incumbent party in the White House has a good per+ormance record on major issues, that party 9s candidate will likely win.<br><br> #his is something we have seen many times as in the multiple victories o+ Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.<br><br> O+ course, Reagan 9s record signi+icantly helped George H.W. Bush win in 1988. Third-Party Participation .<br><br> In 1912 the incumbent William Howard #a+t lost in a three-way race against Woodrow Wilson and #heodore Roosevelt. In 1992 President George H.W. Bush lost in a three-way race against Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.<br><br> Democrats believe that Ralph Nader 9s third-party candidacy may have cost Al Gore and John Kerry their elections in 2000 and 2004. In 2008 Ralph Nader is running again, but Libertarians have tapped a +ormer Republican, +ormer Georgia Congressman Bill Barr as their candidate. Will either Nader or Barr adversely a++ect the outcome o+ this year 9s election?<br><br> Intra-Party Contests . In 1980 Senator #ed Kennedy challenged Jimmy Carter 9s renomination, and in 1992 Pat Buchanan contested George Bush 9s renomination. Bush and Carter lost, in part because o+ intra-party wounds, which did not heal by the General Election.<br><br> In 2008 will Senator Clinton 9s aggressive campaign against Senator Obama damage his prospects +or election, and will conservative Republicans disenchanted with Senator McCain +ail to rally behind him? Consecutive Elections Won . Based upon data +rom the Civil War through 2004, the incumbent party in the White House normally wins reelection a+ter the +irst term and also has a marginal advantage in an election +or a third term.<br><br> #his should give Senator McCain a slight advantage but, as shown above, other +actors could preclude his winning. Public Opinion Polls . Head-to-head polling data usually predicts the winner, but not always as in 1948 when Gallup predicted #homas E.<br><br> Dewey over Harry S. #ruman. Another type o+ poll may also reveal the winner, namely +avorability ratings.<br><br> Candidates with chigh negatives d are less likely to win. In 1980 Jimmy Carter 9s chigh negatives d pointed to trouble in his reelection bid. Voter Turnout .<br><br> #he rule o+ thumb is this: a higher voter turnout +avors Democrats, while a lower voter turnout +avors Republicans. In 1976, with good weather in all 50 states, voters turned out in droves, which in part accounted +or Carter 9s narrow victory over Gerald R. Ford.<br><br> Lower-income and less well-educated voters, who normally identi+y with the Democratic Party, are not as likely to vote as higher-income and better-educated voters, who are more likely to +avor the Republican Party. Changing Circumstances . In 1960 Richard Nixon was the odds-on +avorite to beat John F.<br><br> Kennedy, but the +irst televised debate changed that. In 2008 what happens in Iraq and with the economy may turn the election one way or another. By early +all, i+ American policy in Iraq shows signi+icant improvement and the economy recovers, Senator McCain could bene+it.<br><br> Now, who do you think will win, Obama or McCain? Recommended Political Blogs for Further Reading: No Left Turns: http://noleftturns.ashbrook.org Real Clear Politics blog: http://www.time-blog.com/real_clear_politics The Chuck Dunn Report: www.thechuckdunnreport.blogspot.com Left to right: Robert D. Stacey, Ph.D.; Gerson Moreno- Riano, Ph.D; Charles W. Dunn, Ph.D. <br><br>