We have a political system that works with people in groups ~ and those groups affiliate with one or the other of the two great political parties.
In numerous European countries they work it the other way around so you end up with dozens of political parties representing broad general interests or socio-economic classes, and they do their coalitions AFTER the elections.
Our system works to deliver us a fairly evenly divided electorate ~ so that you get a landslide if you get as much as 53% of the vote.
Outside of the two coalition parties there is a thin fringe of unaffiliated people. It's not a broad middle ~ more like a desert.
LBJ used that model in mind to win in a landslide against the first guy who'd proposed it ~ Goldwater! Nixon used it to win twice. Ronald Reagan used it to win three times (two times for himself and once for GHWBush). Bill Clinton won with that model ~ twice, while crushing a third party attempt. George Bush pulled it off as well.
All Obama has to do is hold the Democrats together while Romney himself delivers up the equivalent of a faction to the Democrats ~ in the body of people who simply aren't going to show up if Romney is on the ticket.
You can run anybody but Romney and beat Obama, particularly if he can attract that 53% of recent (Last 5 years) college graduates who are UNEMPLOYED.
I disagree. We have a huge segment of the population who are swing voters. They don't care about politics, don't post on political forums and don't really invest any time learning about the issues at hand. They vote only because it has been drummed into their heads that they have a civic obligation to do so. And when they vote, they vote superficially for the guy they'd most like to have a beer with or have as their neighbor.
Their votes count the same as yours or mine and this is the group of voters who decide elections.
“Outside of the two coalition parties there is a thin fringe of unaffiliated people. It’s not a broad middle ~ more like a desert.”
I tend to (reluctantly) agree, but I can’t accept the premise that even a majority of the people in the “two coalition parties” have made a considered decision to buy in to the tenets of their party. It seems to me that if there were a way to get people to look past the R or D and see the truth - that they really ARE conservative, that they believe, deep down, in the values on which this nation was founded - that “desert middle” you so aptly describe would be much more densely populated and people would make REAL election-day decisions.