Can Iran Influence the U.S. Presidential Election in 2012 ?
The simple answer is yes.
As time moves ever closer to the US Presidential election of 2012 in November, what happens in the Middle East and with Iran will have a huge impact on voters and how they will cast their vote. Iran probably knows this as well, but how they play this influence game is key. Do they want Obama to remain and string along as they get the bomb or do they act more rash and confrontational with either real or idle threats about choking the Straits of Hormuz that already have oil speculators forcing the cost of gas at the local pump high and higher. Even the CNN camera crew who filled their van up bitched about spending $100 to do so. Even if the US or Israeli does attack and knock some of the nuke sites, what happens afterward will be very long term and the price of fuel will never be even $4 a gallon again.
The impact of the oil cutoff or sinking of oil tankers or terrorist attacks on oil producing facilities will make Americans feel it at the pump. Look, nothing has happened yet, the fuel has jumped to its highest because of the prospect of what may happen soon. As the prices rise at the pump, the American economy will be hurt, its wimpy recovery will falter more and everything relying on transportation will increase. The economy could easily head downwards again as it has in the past.
The foreign policy over the Iranian nuclear weapons is a wild card in the elections and sort of depends on what happens between March and November. If a conflict occurs, how Obama handles it will be decisive if he will be elected. The economy will stumble, regardless of its outcome. if fuel prices continue to record highs, this only makes it less likely Obama will be re-elected.
Iran's nuclear ambitions and fuel prices are the Democrats greatest worries. Both will impact the American economy indirectly and directly. The Republican candidates only will appeal more and more to those independent voters as their rhetoric grows louder and Obama does little. If the Obama Iranian sanctions do nothing, this is mud on Obama's face. If Iran does get the bomb, it is mud on Obama's face. If the gas prices hit $5.50-6 a gallon by June, and nothing else has happen in the Middle East or with Iran, it is mud on Obama's face.
So, what Iran does have influence on the 2012 election indirectly. The trouble with this is for them, having a Republican in the White House is the worse of two evils.