Why are so many people these days praying for bad things to happen to good people?
And what does the answer to that question have to do with the Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare?
Here is a short answer to the first question.
Whenever things are going bad for our country, it hurts the political party trying to retain control of the presidency.
And it helps those out of power who seek to turn out those in power.
Back in 2008 some Democrats secretly rejoiced at the economic disaster plaguing the country. Although George W. Bush was not running for reelection, the Republican candidate, John McCain, represented the party that controlled the presidency.
Both Republicans and Democrats knew that the worse things got for the country, the better chance Barack Obama and the Democrats had to win.
Can you blame some Democrats for wishing for the worst in 2008? They thought a bad economy was a small price to pay for the changes an Obama victory would, they hoped, bring about.
Were they actually praying for bad things?
I do not know for sure, but I would not be surprised.
This year the shoe is on the other foot. The economy is still struggling to recover from the 2008 downturn that helped get Obama elected. Republicans have been licking their chops at a chance to turn the tables and take advantage of the down economy. They think they can take away the presidency from Obama the same way he took it from them. They will blame the bad economy on the president and his party.
Their greatest fear in the next few months is that the uptick in the economy will continue or that people will begin to think things are finally getting a lot better.
So, are some Republicans praying that the recovery will slow down or even reverse?
I would not be surprised.
Even those not praying for a bad economy are preaching one, describing the condition of America’s economy in more frightening terms than an old-time revival preacher’s most vivid portrayal of a fiery Hell.
With all this political posturing about the economy, we need to ask if it’s condition, real or perceived, really does determine the outcome of our presidential elections.
For answers to such a question, North Carolinians turn to N.C. State’s wise economist and columnist, Mike Walden. In a recent column he explained how factors in the economy were part of a model developed by Ray Fair of Yale University to predict correctly the outcome of every presidential election since 1916, except three (Kennedy-Nixon, Clinton-Bush I, and Bush II-Gore).
Fair’s model has lots of factors, but according to Walden, “The real wild card is economic growth,” which has been slow under Obama, “as a result of the deep recession and slow recovery. But growth appears to be picking up in 2012, and if it accelerates, voters could enter the election booth with more optimism about their economic future…pointing to a close election!”
Meanwhile, some Democrats might be beginning to pray for something that they think would be bad for the country, but good for Obama’s reelection chances, even if the economy is in trouble this fall.
These Democrats hope the Supreme Court will strike down Obamacare. Why would they want to lose their crowning achievement, something they still believe is critical for our county?
Overturning Obamacare would, they say, take away one of the big emotional issues that would otherwise motivate Republican workers to get out the vote in November.
And, they think, that the loss to many people of their benefits from Obamacare will drive those people to action this fall and put Obama back in office.
Do these prayers for bad things make any difference?
I hope not. Surely a good God pays no attention to such politically motivated appeals.