The 2012 campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney provides an excellent window into contemporary American electoral politics. In this lecture, I discuss the dynamics and key dimensions of the Obama-Romney race with an emphasis on three themes: change, continuity, and controversy. I argue that while many elements of the election represent change from traditional patterns there is also a great deal of continuity from previous electoral cycles, as well. Points of continuity include the emphasis on Electoral College strategy, the composition of each major party candidate’s support coalition, and the ever-present threat of controversy and scandal that could change the outcome of the election. The role of controversy marks an intriguing intersection in that while controversies always occur, they are also always new and different and (usually) unpredictable. By focusing on these three themes, this discussion provides a way to understand this election in light of both the contextual elements pertinent to 2012 as well as the ongoing pattern of American presidential selection.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/justin_vaughn/16/