As the final week before Election Tuesday begins, nobody seems to have any answers as to just who or who may not hold the lead in this year’s presidential election. As more and more politicos seem to agree that the House may yet again remain in control of the Republicans, the White House race seems just too close to call. In fact, the word “chaos” seems as apt as a descriptor as any. Charlie Cook, of the highly respected Cook Political Report has suggested that for the second time since the 2000 election, the winner of the popular vote might not be the winner of the Electoral College vote. This scenario was of course thought to be highly improbable, and had been a rare occurrence in American presidential politics. Then came the presidential election of 2000, an election still studied as an anomaly, a once in a thousand years occurrence. The idea that it could happen again, as improbable as it may seem now, is not impossible.
If there is one thing that this election cycle has proven, it is that there are still plenty of factors that could turn this race at any moment. Before Denver, there were few that thought much could hurt the Democratic incumbent in the race. Since his lackluster debate and the Republican candidate’s stellar performance in that first encounter, the race has tightened considerable, despite two other debates since then.
It would be foolish to downplay the possibility that something could, even at this late stage in the race, upset the race in favor of one candidate or the other. One wild card that could have an influence might be the recently passed Hurricane Sandy, which is even now continuing to cause problems up and down the Eastern seaboard. From New York to North Carolina, millions have been devastated. The next few days will be crucial for the current incumbent. All eyes will be on the White House to gauge his response to the latest natural disaster to strike the U.S., and the President is acutely aware of this.
But when it’s all said and done, will Sandy really have an impact on the race? It’s too early to tell, but with Katrina still on the minds of many around the country, a repeat of 2005 would almost certainly spell disaster for the President. Mr. Romney, on the other hands, has had to answer to some inquiries of his own, as many have taken a second look at his stances on disaster relief, which include giving more autonomy to the states or the private sector in times of crises. Rhetoric or not, it has raised questions about how the challenger would respond to a crisis of this scale. For anyone still undecided this late in the race, there is certainly no shortage of information of advertisements coming from both sides of the aisle, but ultimately what could decide this race could be out of the hands of either party.