Monday, June 25, 2012

Firing Up The Bases, Part 1

We are in a phase of the presidential campaigns where it's easy to see each party trying to energize its key constituencies. At this point, each party seems focused more on firing up the faithful than on winning fence sitters. 

On the left, you can see the deliberate mobilization of several key groups over the last few months:

Women - Remember the birth control debate in the early Spring? Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut because she supported mandating insurance coverage of birth control? Granted, Republicans walked right into this one. But that's just who they are. They say crazy stuff so frequently, you can take your pick of which outrage to organize against. And sure enough, Democrats used the moment to mobilize support and remind women that Republicans want to dial back gender equality to at least the 1950s. It wasn't long before the polls started to confirm Obama's big advantage over Romney with women voters.

LGBT Community - Obama's endorsement of gay marriage may have been the single biggest thing he could have done to energize LGBT activists before the election. On some level, it had to be a calculated decision by the White House: energize our supporters at the cost of energizing our opponents. The difference was that the ardent opponents of gay marriage were already excited to vote against Obama, whereas many of the supporters were growing disillusioned with the president. This was a big net win for Democrats. Add to that the repeal of DADT, and this election has become a stark choice for LGBT activists. 

Latinos - Obama's new policy halting deportation of undocumented young people who were brought to America before they were 16 comes with perfect political timing. He's right when he says it's the right thing to do period, but it's also the right thing to do when you're trying to ride the country's shifting demographics to reelection. Romney and the Republicans have no answer for this. They can't appeal to Latino voters without depressing the racist core of the GOP, the source of much of their grassroots energy.

In a follow-up post, I will talk about why it's more challenging in 2012 than in past elections for the Republicans to fire up their own base. For now, check out this graphic that has been making the rounds in conservative circles on Facebook: 

You know, basic Republican stuff! Equating poor people with wild animals. Anything to make the hard-pressed middle class turn its ire against the poor instead of the rich, against the powerless instead of the powerful.


delaine said...

Please not the following from The Atlantic:

" But here are a few facts to keep in mind. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the food stamp program's growth "has been driven primarily by the weak economy." About 65 percent of the increased spending was the result of people simply getting poorer. Another 20 percent was due to the stimulus act, which boosted the maximum benefit at a time when the recession was absolutely grinding up vulnerable families. As the CBO notes, there have been no -- I repeat no -- significant legislative changes to who is eligible since Obama took office. 

Meanwhile, the average household receiving food stamps had an average income of $731 dollars, including other welfare payments. Around 85 percent of recipients were below the poverty line, which amounts to a measly $18,500 a year for a family of three. The vast majority are elderly, disabled, or have children. Among single, young, and healthy recipients, the average income is $268 a month.

The mean-spiritedness of the poster is hurtful. It's divisive. It's based on fallacious thinking about who receives food stamps. And that kind of thinking does not move our country forward. But, maybe some folks don't want to know the truth. Perhaps it's more satisfying to cling to misconceptions.

Camp Papa said...

So, "Big City Cops," this this a serious effort at expressing an actual public policy position? Really?

Anonymous said...

The poster is also just factually in error in its bones: Park Service is Dept of the Interior. Forest Service is USDA. It pisses me off these so-called "patriots" don't know the first g.d. thing about our great nation.

jack said...

The mean-spiritedness of the poster is hurtful. It's divisive. It's based on fallacious thinking

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