In my column for CNN this week, I argue that German politics weigh heavier on the 2012 presidential election than any U.S. state does:
You could say there is only one swing state that really matters in 2012: Germany.
Whether (and how and when) Germany acts to save the euro will exert huge influence over the U.S. economy, too, and thus over the outcome of the presidential election.
Next question: How much influence?
Everybody agrees that the troubles in the eurozone hurt the U.S. economy. When your trading partners slump, you slump with them. Everybody agrees that the uncertainty over the future of the euro currency worries U.S. financial markets. If the currency fails, European banks plunge into a crisis that would be a replay of the shock of 2008.
But what remains deeply uncertain is the upside of the equation: how much benefit would the U.S. gain if Europe did somehow find a solution to the euro problem.
It's clear that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has the power by saying "no" to lose the presidency for Barack Obama. Could she win it for him with a "yes"?
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