Thursday, March 08, 2012

Wishfully-thinking Democrats

The spot on NPR that I heard this morning echoes coverage for the past few months: supposedly, Romney's inability to garner votes from blue-collar and socially conservative GOP voters is a weakness that will hinder him in November. E.g., Erik Loomis:
Of course, Romney has another problem that is clear from Republican primaries: working-class voters don’t like him. Santorum is killing Romney among non-college educated whites, an absolutely crucial demographic for Republicans this fall. I’m certainly not saying Santorum voters are going to choose Obama over Romney, but they could very well stay home.
Uh-huh. This requires us to believe that the voters most antipathetic to Obama are going to stay home rather than pull a lever (or, increasingly, tap a touch-screen) against the Kenyan socialist enemy of America's very existence.

Santorum's Super-Tuesday speech to his supporters made scarcely-veiled references to Obama's being (1) black and (2) raised in part overseas, as an argument that only someone raised in a "real" American community can understand that community's problems. Anyone not immediately offended by that speech is not somebody who's going to miss a chance to vote against Obama, even if he has to vote for Romney to do it.

... Jon Chait agrees: "the best group of voters not to be getting are voters who are certain to support you in the fall."


  1. There is so much dissatisfaction with both parties now that I wonder why a 3rd party has not emerged. It has happened before at times esp. when times were tough. I can only surmise that the pain level is not there yet or people are just numb to the pain and don't care.JL

  2. One problem with a 3d party or candidate is that, at least in the short term, it tends to hurt whichever established party it leans towards. Wilson-Taft-TR in 1912; Clinton-Bush-Perot in 1992; and let's not forget Nader's throwing the election to Bush in 2000 with a handful of Florida votes for the Green Party.

    More abstractly, a 3d party's glamour would arise chiefly because it wasn't actually in power. A successful 3d party would quickly disenchant many of its supporters.

    I tend to suspect the Thomas Friedman types who call for a 3d party are just echoing the perennial whine for a party "above politics," which is a contradiction in terms. There's no escape from politics, because we don't all agree on what we want or how to get it.

  3. You are very correct about 3rd parties that stay 3rd parties. But I am thinking more along the lines of how the Republican party started in the 1850s. The Whig and Democratic parties were not willing to face the facts on the issue of slavery and so a 3rd party became a political powerhouse. Now we don't seem to have the hot button issue that slavery was today but who knows what might happen tomorrow?

  4. Well, the unpredictable is difficult to predict.

    If the notion is correct that the GOP has painted itself into a demographic corner, then the Republicans could fragment, perhaps into a Santorum-Bachmann wing and a more moderate one. But Democrats have been hoping for that for a long time.

  5. Maybe another party hasn't emerged because most people think their lot in life won't change (regardless of which party is in office) because our elected officials are really just interchangeable "fall guys" for the corporations that really run our country.

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