There was an article in the Post today titled, "Thirteen reasons why the Republicans will likely lose". It's by a professor of political science named Clifford Orwin, who probably follows this stuff better than I do. Still, I think his piece is mostly a lot of wishful thinking -- Bush holds all the cards right now. Right off the top of my head I can list a bunch of reasons why:
1) The Incumbent Advantage - Being the incumbent brings many benefits. He can use Air Force One to campaign, he will get press coverage for any policy announcements, and the type of administration he will run is known.
2) Foreign Policy Achievements - Let Victor Hanson describe it:
In less than 3 years we took out the world's 2 worst regimes--and fostered consensual government, not dictators in their place. Al Qaeda is on the run.
Libya is coming clean. Pakistan is helping hunt down OBL and revealing its nuclear roguery, a far cry from its pre-911 behavior. Iran is worried about a revolution and an unpredictable US. Soon no more troops in Saudi Arabia. Arafat is lord of his rubble heap, not in the Lincoln bedroom each month.
So what if the French were annoyed by this? I don't expect the American people to care.
3) Optimism - Bush's message is optimistic. He feels Iraq can become a prosperous and democratic nation and America can compete in international trade. Kerry is pessimistic and wants the UN to lead in Iraq and feels there should be laws to protect American workers. Positive messages sell.
4) The Economy - Not great, but not that bad either. Though I personally feel there's a lot of ugliness buried away to resurface someday, that someday will be after the election. The economy will not be that big an issue.
5) John Kerry's Past - Kerry came up from behind quickly in the primary race and avoided the close scrutiny that front runners get. Now he's getting that scrutiny and he's starting to look shaky. He's been in the Senate a long time, giving his opponents a rich source for finding boneheaded statements and low-level sleaze. He's also been back and forth on the big issues of the day, adopting whatever posture seems appropriate at the time. He's a classic weathervane politician. How many times will he spin during the long, long election campaign?
6) John Kerry's Frenchness - This one may be a little unfair, but I think it'll have an effect nonetheless. The French love Kerry. If I had the HTML skill and the time, the word love in the previous sentence would have little red hearts bubbling out of it. They just adore the guy. He speaks French, vacations there regularly, and has family living there. Too bad for Kerry he's running in a country that is still not too fond of the French...
7) Charm - Bush has it, Kerry doesn't.
8) The Republican Convention - This year it will be in New York City. Expect huge crowds of America's wackiest fringe groups to show up to protest. Expect them to compete with each other at being utterly outrageous to get the most media coverage. Expect Mr. and Mrs. Average American to associate these fringe groups (perhaps unfairly) with Kerry's campaign.
9) Demographics - Many of the states Bush won in 2000 have grown and gained electoral votes, while many Gore states (with the exception of California) have shrunk and lost them. It's an uphill battle for Kerry.
10) Ralph - Ralph's running. Though the Democrats are trying to say he won't be a factor, they also practically got down on their knees and begged him not to run. They know he affects their numbers. One recent poll put him at 7%. I think he's a factor.
11-13) Others - As this blog is interactive, the reader is invited to add three reasons of his or her own portending a Republican victory. (Hey, I'm not the lame one here. The article I'm imitating closed this way. If you have a problem with it, take it up with Cliff.)
UPDATE: Mark Steyn has a good column up looking at just one week in the long, slow collapse of John Kerry.