It used to be that there were certain universal truths which political prognosticators used to tout in order to sound suitably sage and seerlike. The winner of the New Hampshire and Iowa Caucumaries is no longer a shoe-in to win the nomination, the taller candidate is no longer guaranteed to win the election, and even being the black guy in the race is no longer a deal-breaker. Like a modern age Moses, Jewdar is offering a new set of divine truths to help politically interested readers dazzle their friends with their electoral savvy. The Republican primary race is too crazy to call (really, 8 votes?), but here are some things to consider regarding the general election.
1. The Candidate Without Sons Wins–Presidential candidates may want to exude a certain manliness (consider the most recent Bush clearing scrub on his ranch, or John Kerry going hunting), but since Clinton, Americans have chosen presidents who can’t produce boy-babies. Clinton (no sons) beat the elder Bush (four sons) and Bob Dole (no sons); Bush (no sons) beat Gore (one son) and Kerry (three stepsons); and Obama (no sons) beat McCain (four sons). Predictions: Obama has an advantage over Romney, Santorum, and Paul, but splits with Gingrich.
2. Candidate With Least Honorable Military Record Wins: Americans may talk about honoring the troops, but in every elections since 1992, the candidate with the least honorable military record won. Clinton beat two WWII vets, Bush beat two Vietnam vets, and Obama beat McCain, who was not only a Vietnam vet himself, but from a distinguished military family. Predictions: Obama splits with Romney and Santorum and beats Paul. Gingrich is a tougher call–he also didn’t serve in the military, but since he was actually of age during the draft, and the Vietnam War, we can give the advantage to Obama (furthermore, Jewdar would argue that chickenhawks are, by default, less honorable than chickens, and thus almost any Republican is therefore at a disadvantage).
3. Ivy League Graduate Wins: For all that American political culture may pretend to contempt for Ivy League pedigrees, you’d never know it from the last few decades of presidential elections. Between 1944 and 1980, there was one president who was an Ivy League grad; since 1980, there’s been one president who wasn’t. Since 1988, every president has been an Ivy League grad. Before you fill out that Harvard application, however, keep this in mind–Not only did we have 30 years of Yalies between ’88 and ’08, but in Yale and Harvard matchups, Bush the Younger beat both Gore and Kerry (though it should be noted that Bush did get his MBA from Harvard). Predictions: Obama beats Paul, Santorum, and Gingrich, hands down. He and Romney both went to Harvard Law (Romney also got an MBA there), but because of his undergrad degree from Columbia, we’ll give it to Obama.
4. The Blackest Candidate Wins: This one is the most uncertain. Obama’s win in ’08 overturned centuries of conventional wisdom that the black guy would always lose (we don’t give much credence to those rumors about Warren Harding). It’s a bit early to decide if this is a fluke or the beginning of a new trend, but certainly, an Obama win next year would be compelling evidence that the blacker candidate may be at an advantage. Predictions: We’ll presume that Herman Cain isn’t jumping back into the race, so we’ll have to give this one to Obama, hands down.
To be sure, there’s a lot that can go on between now and and election day, but based on our fairly scientific research, we’re looking at another four years of a boyless, Ivy League grad, civilian, mixed-race Commander-in-Chief.