The President released a nice statement praising former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher upon the announcement of her passing today. Kudos to him for that.
There hasn’t been a tribute image posted on any White House or Organizing for America channels yet, though. Given his tribute to Neil Armstrong’s passing, expect something like this:
Resurgent Republic posted this infographic last week (which I swiped from an email from Pennsylvania political consultancy ColdSpark Media):
The full-size picture does it more justice. It charts various groups, how strong their turnout was in 2012 versus 2008, and how excited the said they were to vote.
In the last month and a week, it seems like no two Republicans can talk to each other without a discussion of What Went Wrong. It’s a great conversation because there’s no wrong answer. Every person who says, “I’ll tell you what Romney missed out on…” and then fills in a reason is usually right. So the tactical deficiency in that picture is a puzzle piece, but it isn’t the whole problem.
All that said, check out the bluest of the blue groups, staunch Obama demographics like single women, 18-29 year olds, and Hispanic voters. Isn’t it funny that the blue groups that were least excited about voting but voted more than the red groups that were more excited? Part of the vaunted Obama turnout operation was figuring out who needed to vote and doing what it took to drag them to the polls; this sure makes it look like the credit was well-deserved.
Much has been written in the past few weeks about the amazing things the Obama 2012 campaign did in identifying and turning out voters. Just as much has been written about the Romney campaign’s failure to do the same thing, but it isn’t quite as fair. There were many reasons Obama won, but the ability to take advantage of more channels of information to identify voters was a big part of it.
The private sector has been doing this for years. For advertisers like Google and Yahoo! and e-commerce sites like Amazon, knowing what you do and where you click online is their bread and butter. It helps them put products in front of you that you’re more likely to buy, because they don’t make money if you don’t click. Obama’s team was better at adapting those techniques to the campaign world.
What I didn’t get to talk about with Matt do to time constraints was the fact that Republicans can take a great deal of solace in the fact that these aren’t new magical spells being cast by technological wizards. These are old hat tactics that can (and probably will) help Republicans with in the next campaign cycle. For years, the advertising dollars have been moving toward personal advertising (like online ads) which can present content to an audience with much greater precision than mass advertising.
Romney adviser Stuart Stevens was ridiculed for saying that Mitt Romney ran less of a national campaign than Barack Obama, but he’s right, and Obama was right to do it.
President Obama is winning the majority of the American people with his rhetoric on the debt ceiling crisis. But polls also show that he’s losing some support among key demographics – namely liberal and black voters, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll reported by Politico.
If you’re looking for clues, stop right here Sherlock: the unemployment rate for black men is twice that of white men. Economic policies intended to elevate the less fortunate are failing, leaving certain demographics behind more than others.
The case for smaller government and personal empowerment has never been more clear. And the polls that show minority voters increasingly distrustful of the President demonstrate that, at least on some level, voters are also in a position to reject the big-government promises they have been sold for generations.
But only if the case is made to those voters, directly and on a person-to-person basis.
With the 2012 elections over a year away, it’s a good time for campaign organizations, party committees, and non-profits on the right to begin trying to make inroads into communities where they haven’t had much success. It may take the form of voter registration or straight party recruitment efforts.
Imagine if a candidate like Michelle Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, or Mitt Romney took the initiative to sat down with community leaders of black and/or Hispanic groups the way Herman Cain is doing with Muslim groups. It would likely be even more productive, since Cain is reaching out only after he seriously frayed his relations with that community. The same outreach by key leaders of the conservative movement would be equally valuable.
It will still be low-yield; the cost per registrant will be high in the early going. That’s the price of ignoring those communities for so long. This wouldn’t be about volumes of new party voters, though. Unlike many of the failing government programs that have been used to buy these communities’ votes in the past decades, this would be a legitimate investment in the future.
The Democrats may be knocking Republicans for being a party without new ideas, but the DNC’s strategy for exciting its base seems to be about a cult of personality. A message to activists over President Obama’s signature makes that very clear:
I come into this election with clear eyes.
I am proud of all we have achieved together, but I am mindful of all that remains to be done.
I know some out there are frustrated by the pace of our progress. I want you to know I’m frustrated, too.
But with so much riding on the outcome of this election, I need everyone to get in this game.
If you’re scoring at home, that’s six I’s in the first five sentences. And for a base that, much like George W. Bush’s in 2004, might be frustrated by the administration’s inability to deliver the ideologically pure achievements many had envisioned in the days after the 2008 election.
There’s no public option. Democrats themselves are divided on the Bush tax cuts, so a tax hike on the wealthy job creators is unlikely. There is no card check procedure to make it easier to organize unions. The financial reform bill lost a lot of teeth from where it started, and massive sums of money have been spent on corporate welfare. So what’s left to excite a liberal base that has to be excited if the Democrats are to maintain full control of Congress?
The answer is apparently a couple of pages from W’s playbook: 1) Make the election about resolve rather than results (recall Bush’s 2004 message, “You may not always agree with me, but you know where I stand”?) and 2) Remind your ardent supporters that the other side is much, much worse. In 2004 it inspired enough activists to pull a vulnerable incumbent President over the finish line against a poor opposition candidate, so it will likely resonate in some places. Since the hardcore activist in California is different from the hardcore activist in North Carolina or Virginia, it may not help universally, but at this point Democratic strategy is more about stopping losses than making gains.
The real question, though, is whether the 13 million activists on the Organizing for America list that received this email are still excited enough to volunteer their time for Barack Obama again.