Yes, Democrats, Obama Can Lose in 2012 ... If economy stays down and GOP avoids a fringe candidate: Steve Kornacki By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Apr 20, 2011 1:27 PM CDT 48 comments Comments President Obama waves as he returns to the White House on April 15. His political fate hinges on the economy. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Newser) – Democrats could easily get complacent looking at the lackluster GOP candidates for 2012 or, better yet, the fringe contenders such as Donald Trump. At Salon, Steve Kornacki provides a sobering antidote to that complacency: "Under economic conditions like those that now exist, Obama is likely to be defeated in 2012," he writes. To take advantage, however, Republicans would have to avoid a "fringe candidate." (Peggy Noonan made a similar case.) The conservative establishment seems well aware of this, judging by how many prominent members have stepped up to "marginalize" Trump. Expect the same treatment for any "unelectable" candidate who emerges. "In other words, it still seems likely—for all of the zaniness in the air—that the GOP will end up nominating a candidate like Romney or Pawlenty next year, someone generic enough to take advantage of a lousy economy (if the economy remains lousy)." Democrats better hope the unemployment rate starts dropping faster. Click to read the full column.