How are you feeling about the 2012 election? What's your dream team for 2012? Who do you think could beat Obama?
I think a winning GOP ticket would be Romney/Christie, or Romney/Paul Ryan, or Huckabee/Romney. You put either of those two combos as the GOP ticket and you win. You need one candidate who captures the conservative voting block and another who can get those centrist and swing voter types. The economy of course will be the decisive factor barring any national catastrophe, and if the economy is even slightly improved, Obama could win re-election. If he wins re-election, it could be either a 1996 win, or a 2004 sort of win. Trump, if he really runs, is the wildcard. If he goes Republican, you might have a very divided convention, and I'm not sure who he should even pick as his VP if he got the nod.
If he goes independent, Obama wins in a slim 1992 style victory with the nation split between three major characters. I have a feeling he'll go independent. Trump doesn't support either liberal or conservative causes; He supports the cause of Trump, nation be damned. He seriously harmed his chances with the whole Birther issue, and if he gets the GOP nomination, the GOP will be smeared as the party of conspiracy theorists.
I don't predict any landslide like '64, '72, or '84, but a small landslide like 1956 is possible on either side. I do believe that unless some wild card like Trump is thrown into the mix, whoever wins will win in a small landslide ala 1956 or 1980. Again, as Clinton said, "It's the economy, stupid." It all, at present, depends on the state of the economy come election time.
Like I've said though--If you guys run someone like a Palin, or a Bachmann as the leading ticket, without a phenomenal VP candidate, you'll lose. You can't just expect the Republican conservative wing alone to win the election; you need to capture the swing voters, the independents, the centrists--I don't think Bachmann or Palin can do that. They have a cult following--a devoted following of the conservative base. But unless some sort of horrible tragedy happens under Obama's watch, or the economy melts down, they won't beat him. I know plenty here love those two, but I don't think they'd win against Obama as the top side of a GOP candidate.
There is also potential for the Tea Party and Establishment Republicans to clash come election time, splintering the party. Not as badly as the Dems were splintered in 1968, but more like 1980. A big reason why Reagan won in 1980 or got the nomination was because he made peace with the "Establishment" Republicans during the campaign, by bringing in quite a few of the Nixon/Ford people. This was also done because in large measure, Reagan still greatly respected Nixon, even post Watergate. Quite a few of Reagan's cabinet picks were made on the private advise of Nixon. This compromise helped, because it got a lot of good people like George Schultz into his administration (Nixon had, in a long letter, suggested Schultz be brought on and listed his reasons why). He also picked a centrist VP who captured cross over votes and moderate Republican votes. Most importantly, Reagan had incredible charisma and made Carter look bland and boring in the 1980 debates. Plus you had the economic and social ills of the time.
I don't see any candidate out there today who has neither the charisma, nor the willingness to compromise that Reagan had. I disagree with a lot of Reagan's policies, but I also recognize that Reagan WAS NOT a blind, rabid ideologue. He knew compromise worked when done properly. I don't see any major candidate outside of Romney who shares these qualities. Don't go by Romney's gubernatorial record; Remember, as a governor, Reagan was pretty damn liberal himself.
Also, Paul Ryan I think has seriously harmed himself with his budget plans. It will easily be painted as him intending to kill Medicare, and frankly, a large majority of older voters want Medicare in it's present form. So do a lot of my generation--My generation, IMO, is much more liberal than the Baby Boomers. We swing very much to the left.