Political Strategy Notes
All of Romney's glaring weaknesses notwithstanding, his Ohio win feeds an image of a competent winner, which can only grow as he clinches the nomination. As Greg Sargent notes at the Plum Line: "Dems have not undermined impressions of Romney's competence at all -- which may loom larger in the general election than anything else."
Yet more indications of Romney's weakness with working class voters continue to surface: Tom Curry reports at MSNBC.com that "On Tuesday in Ohio, early exit poll data indicated that Romney won 34 percent of those without a college degree, lagging behind former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won 38 percent of those voters. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas won 12 percent of those voters and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won 14 percent...When exit poll interviewers asked voters which candidate best understands the problems of average Americans, Santorum led by 33 percent to 22 percent for Romney."
There was no possibiity of a happy outcome for Dems in the Kaptur-Kucinich House race, which had to result in a net loss of a Democratic House seat. Progressive Dems lost an eloquent voice in the House with the defeat of Kucinich to the more moderate Kaptur, who reportedly brought home the bacon. The outcome provides a regrettable, but instructive lesson in the importance of redistricting as a political weapon to divide and disempower the opposition. Kucinich joins Barney Frank as a leading progressive House member undone by redistricting, though in Frank's case it was Democrats who did the damage.
NPR has that handy chart you've probably been looking for, classifying the GOP primaries and caucuses ahead by winner-take-all vs. proportional delegate selection. Hint: It's hard to see how Romney can blow it.
Jonathan Merrittt writes in The Monitor that "Religious pollsters and demographers have long warned that young people were leaving churches in alarming numbers...according to Notre Dame professor David Campbell and Harvard professor Robert Putnam, the fusion of faith and partisan politics - particularly the conservative type - is at least partly to blame..."The best evidence indicates that this dramatic generational shift is primarily in reaction to the religious right," they wrote in the latest Foreign Affairs in an essay titled "God and Caesar in America: Why Mixing Religion and Politics is Bad for Both." They explain: "And Millennials are even more sensitive to it, partly because many of them are liberal (especially on the touchstone issue of gay rights) and partly because they have only known a world in which religion and the right are intertwined...In effect, Americans (especially young Americans) who might otherwise attend religious services are saying, 'Well, if religion is just about conservative politics, then I'm outta here..."
TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira has a post, "Can Obama Recapture the Hispanic Vote?" at The New York Times, as part of a forum on "The last gasp of the GOP?" Says Teixeira: "...It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the current anti-immigrant tilt of the Republican Party, especially as displayed in the primaries, has decisively turned off Hispanic voters and thrown them into the arms of the Democrats."
At The Daily Beast, Wayne Barrett makes a strong case that Romney's limp critique of Rush Limbaugh's misogynist meltdown was likely attributed to Clear Channel's generous support (over $726K) of Romney's campaigns. In addition, "Romney's former company, Bain Capital, acquired Clear Channel in 2008 with another Boston-based investment firm, Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL)...The $26 billion merger, which was launched simultaneously with Romney's first presidential candidacy in late 2006...placed Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and much of the talk-show right under Bain/Lee control..."
Guess who is paying for the broadcast of Limbaugh's daily bile-fest to the American Forces Network? That would be you.
Limbaugh may have given a hot-foot to a sleeping giant as Steve Kornacki argues at Salon.com: "It's also worth noting that single women tend to participate in elections at a lower rate than married women. The Voter Participation Center estimates that if turnout levels were equalized at the married rate, roughly 6 million new unmarried women would head to the polls. In demeaning an intelligent, well-spoken 30-year-old single woman, Limbaugh is doing his part to wake these nonvoters up."
Gerald F. Seib of the Wall St. Journal flags some interesting stats from a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicating that President Obama loses the male vote by 6 and 4 percent against Romney and Paul, respectively. But Obama wins the male vote by 6 and 5 points against Gingrich and Santorum respectively.
George Monbiot of Guardian UK has a post "How Ayn Rand Became the New Right's Version of Marx" at Reader Supported News. Monbiot observes "...The belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential...Ignoring Rand's evangelical atheism, the Tea Party movement has taken her to its heart...She is the guiding spirit of the Republicans in Congress...I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security. She had railed furiously against both programmes, as they represented everything she despised about the intrusive state. Her belief system was no match for the realities of age and ill health."