In some presidential cycles, an incumbent's reelection strategy doesn't matter all that much. When the economy is very strong (1984), the incumbent wins big; when it's very weak (1932), he loses even bigger. And when a party chooses a nominee seen as outside the mainstream (1964, 1972), it suffers a crushing defeat. It's possible that one or more of these circumstances could prevail next year. The economy could over- or under-perform current projections; the Republicans could choose a nominee who's too conservative or lacks credibility as a potential president. But it's more likely that both the economy and the presidential nomination contest will yield results in the zone where strategic choices could prove decisive. In that context, two recent events are alarming, because they offer clues to what may well become President Obama's reelection strategy.
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