With only nine days remaining before voting day, Mother Nature has injected herself into the American Election.
If Hurricane Sandy merges with a wintry system from the west and Frigid air coming south from Canada it will become powerful super storm that will hit the Eastern Seaboard as the harvest full moon means creates unusually high tides. It is a recipe for a catastrophe impacting 60 million Americans.
The intersection of the physical and the social/policy dimensions will impact how people feel about government. Depending on the extent of the damage, the government’s reaction and the desire of those impacted to vent, the results could change the political landscape!
If were the involved with the campaigns, I would be encouraging advance voting. Making sure votes are in the bank may be critical if this storm knocks out electricity to wide swaths of the Eastern United States. The E-Day strategy could be thrown back to pre-Edison days. No iPads, computers or cell phones.
President Obama will have to take time off from stumping to be the Commander and Chief in case Sandy does become a disaster. States are already declaring emergencies in advance of the storm. If this is a National Emergency, Obama will be in the thick of it. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House will be front and center. How Obama handles the evolving situation will impact his numbers, for the better or the worst.
Romney is just not going to be able to compete. He will be squeezed off the main stage, a bit player at best. It would be un-American to attack the president in the midst of a crisis but this is an all or nothing game. The stakes are too high to sit out the final stretch of the campaign and hope the President collapses under the pressure. One can only expect that the GOP is combining through engineering and disaster response reports looking for requests to beef up preparations for an event like this. Every far flung predication that comes true will be used as bait to anger voters.
Sandy is going to have very unpredictable impacts on the social framework of the country.
The greater the impact, the greater the stress and pressures on those charged with the responsibility of dealing with the emergencies.
How the political actors adapt, might well determine the outcome of the 2012 race.