The 2012 Election was unpredictable, entertaining, and ultimately decisive, a two-year drama with a sprawling cast of characters and plot twists that kept even expert observers dazed and confused. In the end, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by a relatively comfortable margin, but the story of how they got to the finish line is one of the most compelling in modern American politics.
Collision 2012 tells the whole story in all its richness - Obama's political reawakening after the debt ceiling debacle in the summer of 2011; the long and often bizarre battle Romney survived to win the Republican nomination; the world of Big Data in Obama's Chicago headquarters, which produced the most sophisticated campaign in the history of presidential politics; and Romney's travails as a candidate often at odds with his own party.
Rarely has a presidential race involved two candidates who came from such divergent backgrounds and who had such different worldviews as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The book draws sharp portraits of the two nominees, as Obama sought to turn around his presidency after his party's midterm shellacking in 2010 and Romney overcame initial doubts about his ability to win over 'true' conservatives.
Dan Balz, one of the country's premier political reporters, takes readers inside both campaigns during the crucial moments of the general election, from the summer battle to define Romney to the fiasco of the Republican's '47 percent' comment and the president's disastrous performance in the Denver debate, which breathed life into Romney's struggling candidacy. Before all that, Romney faced serial challenges as he tried to prove that he was not a misfit in a party dominated by the Tea Party and other religious and social conservatives. Rick Perry seemed straight out of central casting for presidential candidates until he imploded on the debate stage. Newt Gingrich repeatedly rose from the dead to challenge Romney in a series of bitterly fought primaries. Rick Santorum managed to turn three meaningless victories into a rationale to become Romney's last notable challenger. Cameos by Donald Trump. Herman Cain, Michele Backmann, Tim Pawlenty, Paul Ryan, and Chris Christie provided both amusement and embarrassment for a party searching for its identity.
The 2012 campaign played out against the backdrop of an economy still struggling to revive itself and of a changing America, where shifting demographics and deep polarization shaped both the dialogue and the outcome. New forces, including super PACs and their billionaire contributors, the rise of Twitter, and the proliferation of polls and debates, set this election apart from any that had come before it.
In telling this story, The Washington Post's Dan Balz draws on sources deep inside all the campaigns as well as decades of experience covering American politics. His reporting includes lengthy and revealing interviews with many a of the candidates who sought the presidency. The reuslt is an insider's account of the decisions and strategies of the candidates combined with a historian's perspective on the underlying forces that are reshaping the country. As a record of political theater and as a window into the struggle between where America has been and where it may be going. Collision 2012 puts the race for the White House in much needed context and explores just what the election means for the future of the democratic process.
Praise for Dan Balz and The Battle for America 2008
'Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson . . . capture the momentous contest in a polished account refreshingly free of last year's breathless sound bits, pundit insta-reaction or fixationon trifling gaffes . . . . An evenhanded and comprehensive account of the race.' Randy James, Time
'Makes for engaging reading - for both polit