To the editor:

Mitt Romney's historical primary election marks the first time in our modern elections system (and first over-all since Gerald Ford) that a candidate has won both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary; both the first, respectively, in the nation on the road to the White House.

This politico thinks Mitt, with a huge lead in South Carolina, will be a more formidable force for President Obama to reckon with than he anticipated, and that is not just Republican-optimism speaking. Admittedly, I have been very pessimistic about a Republican win in 2012 since the last election. The power of the incumbency and imagery that is associated with the presidency is a powerful component in elections. That is one of the principal reasons why less a quarter of all our presidents were "one-termers."

For those who think primaries and caucuses can portend who will win, consider that New Hampshire has a less consistent record for producing winners as opposed to Iowa. The trend in the Granite State is actually that it will often elect a candidate who will become his or her party's nominee; whereas Iowa delegates have a tendency to choose the actual winner.

If this primary/caucus data actually do tell us anything about who might become the nominee or win the election, then Mitt Romney's unprecedented election by both Iowa and New Hampshire might eclipse any successes the Obama campaign will tout in the general election. Nevertheless, I stayed awake in Poli-Sci 101 and am therefore skeptical of the ability to challenge an incumbent. Yet that doesn't mean it can't happen, and if anyone has a realistic shot, it just might be the former governor of Massachusetts.

Perhaps an equally important factor in elections is the strength of the economy. Primaries are one thing, but the almighty dollar still reigns supreme. This election is certain to tell us which is a more important piece to the puzzle.

Justin Thompson

Haverhill

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