As a result of the Midterm Elections of 2010, it is becoming clear that the 2012 Presidential Election will be ultimately decided in the Midwest, an area of the country suffering more heavily from the Great Recession, and also an area that is losing a significant number of seats in the House of Representatives reapportionment that will take place, as a result of the Census of 2010!
Even though the Midwest is losing electoral votes because of a smaller relative population as compared to the growing Sun Belt, it still contains states that are among the top ten states in population plus others that are in the next ten states in population!
It is also an area that can presently be described as “purple”, rather than “blue” or “red”, but has moved in the direction of the Republican party in the midterm elections due to the economic hard times and the tendency to blame the party in the White House for the poor economic conditions!
With all of the key Midwestern states electing Republican governors except for Illinois, and many state legislatures and House seats going over to the GOP, it poses a massive problem for the Democrats and President Barack Obama as they look at the electoral scene for 2012!
However, two of those states historically are particularly crucial in a Presidential election–Ohio and Missouri!
Ohio has been the decisive state for the Republican Party, as every Republican President since the first one, Abraham Lincoln, to the last one, George W. Bush, has won Ohio! At the same time, it means that if Ohio goes to the Democrats, as say Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Barack Obama in 2008, the chances of Gerald Ford and John McCain were therefore dashed!
Missouri, if anything, has been the true bellwether state, as every single time since 1900, except 1956 and 2008, the winner of Missouri has become President! And even Dwight D. Eisenhower came close to defeating Adlai Stevenson in Missouri in 1956, and Barack Obama came extremely close to defeating John McCain in Missouri in 2008!
Since the Atlantic Coast of the nation–New England and the Middle Atlantic–is seen as solidly Democratic except maybe for New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and the Pacific Coast also seen as solidly Democratic, while most of the South, maybe all of it including Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, are seen as solidly Republican next time, and much of the Mountain West and Great Plains also solidly “red”, it will be the Midwest which will decide the electoral winner again next time!
So the Democrats and Barack Obama will have to make inordinate efforts to appeal for support in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and cannot afford to lose much of this area if the party and Obama are to win in 2012!
That is one of the reasons why the Democratic Party is planning its national convention in the Midwest in 2012, with St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis as the key competitors for that honor!
So despite declining population percentages, the heartland of the nation again will be the central focus in the upcoming national elections in 2012!