As always I could be wrong and probably am but here is my take on American Presidential politics since IKE.
First, Nixon won in 1960 but due to corruption in Illinois and W. Virginia, JFK became President. He was not ready for the job.
Second, LBJ did in fact destroy the DEMS as a Presidential party through his expansion and conduct of the Viet Nam War! Humphrey’s failure to reject LBJ’s war cost him the election.
Third, Ford would have been elected President if he had postponed the Nixon pardon until after the election. He almost won as it was.
Fourth, Carter almost beat REAGAN despite his record as President. John Anderson hurt Carter’s campaign.
Fifth, Reagan Administration Iran-Contra activities were probably impeachable offenses! And he had AZ during his Presidency.
George H.W. Bush would have won in 1992 if no Ross Perot.
Clinton was never a majority president for many reasons.
George W. Bush was elected in 2000 because Gore was disliked and turnout was impacted by vote fraud.
Kerry lost because unlike a majority of the American people he could not decide even after 30 years whether Viet Nam was a Just War or not.
Barack H. Obama won in 2008 largely as a fluke of history.
So as to 2012–the stakes are enormous and the two major party candidates are hunkering down hoping that funding and voter turnout will allow their victory. Neither will be elected based on their policies or vision.
But the real kicker is whoever becomes President by the 2028 election neither Republicans or DEMS will exist as major parties. And perhaps long before.
Both Romney and Obama hoping events don’t turn against them precipitously which they might. Neither are agile politicians being able to turn events to their advantage.
And SCOTUS will again be a major factor in the Presidential race.