FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
A year from today, the U.S. will elect its next president, along with a bunch of representatives, senators and governors. A lot can happen between now and then.
Politically we're just getting warmed up. Expect more open warfare among the Republican candidates for the White House once the primaries and caucuses start in January.
And, you never know... Herman Cain may not be the only candidate with a potential skeleton in his closet. Don't forget about those infamous October surprises.
But there's a whole lot more than politics at stake here... starting with the economy.
As the European economy sputters on fears of a Greek bailout not happening, remember we're all in this together. If Europe falls off a cliff, the U.S. could be quick to follow. Expect more dramatic swings in the stock market - and with it the retirement and college hopes of millions of Americans.
Also on the economic front: Unemployment remains above 9 percent... and the CBO expects it to stay there through the end of 2012. Very bad news for President Obama.
What about our skyrocketing national debt and deficits? Washington is waiting to hear the results from the debt super committee in the coming weeks. But it doesn't matter what they do. We will be deeper in debt a year from now than we are now.
Suddenly we're running short of wars. President Obama says all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year. But as that drawdown occurs, the U.S. is reportedly planning to build up its forces in other Persian gulf countries - like Kuwait. Who knows what that could bring.
And, there's Occupy Wall Street. Will the movement fade away with the first winter chill, or will it grow and spread? And to what end? If it has any staying power, voter discontent with income inequality and corporate greed might be a real factor when America votes in 2012.
Here's my question to you: The 2012 election is a year away from today. The 2012 election is a year from today. Where will we be in a year?
Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 5 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.
And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Think NASCAR. With the start of the primaries a few months away, the Republican race for president is on.
Here's the deal: Once Republicans started their engines, Rick Perry jumped out front and then promptly crashed going into the first turn. Michele Bachmann's car wouldn't start. Herman Cain blew a tire just as he grabbed the lead ... and now he says he's remembering why. Sure.
As for some of the others - such as Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul - they're in the back of the pack fighting for position. They’re long shots at best at this point.
All of which leaves Mitt Romney in the lead. After news of the harassment allegations against Cain, Romney becomes the prohibitive favorite to take the checkered flag, win the nomination and take on President Barack Obama next November. That’s at least for now.
Romney is the same guy the Republicans wanted no part of in 2008 when John McCain was the GOP nominee.
Polls show most Republicans think Romney has the best chance of beating Obama. But even if he does, so what? What difference does it really make? Given the bitter partisanship of Congress, how much does it even matter if Romney wins?
Unless Republicans win the Senate and retain control of the House of Representatives, Romney won't be able to get any more done than Obama has been able to do.
Our country hasn’t been this divided since the Civil War. There was a time long ago when politicians from both sides of the aisle were able to acknowledge their differences yet still work together. No more.
Here's my question to you: With the nation so badly divided, how much does it really matter who the president is?
Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
About Jack Cafferty
Subscribe | Send Feedback