To win, Obama needs to get white voters to stay home
posted at 1:41 pm on August 3, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
President Obama has met the enemy, and they are us (us, that is, if you are Caucasian). So reads the handwriting on the wall, according to BuzzFeed, which reports:
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has spent more than $100 million on advertising over the last 3 months. Much, if not most, of it has been produced to shred Mitt Romney’s reputation and suppress turnout among white voters who might vote for Romney.
He is running a two-track campaign. One track of his re-election drive seeks to boost turnout among core liberal groups; the other aims to suppress turnout and minimize his margin of defeat in the most hostile segment of the electorate, whites without college degrees.
It’s a simple matter of arithmetic, the BuzzFeed article goes on to note. In 2008, black voter turnout reached its highest level ever. Hispanic and “youth” voters (ages 18 to 29) also turned out in record numbers. Obama captured 43% of the white vote, cinching a victory.
By most analysts’ lights, Obama needs to capture 40% of that voting bloc to win a second term. But a Quinnipiac poll released on July 12 shows him attracting just 29% of non-college-educated white males. Taken together with other recent polls, Obama’s share of the white vote as a whole is well shy of the 40% threshold.
The BuzzFeed piece predicts a “chemical warfare campaign, the war to end all wars” but doesn’t offer specifics on what that might translate to.
In the meantime, one might wonder how Obama supporters countenance speaking in such matter-of-fact terms about voter suppression, which Democrats consider the ultimate sin. The answer is provided in the Times op-ed by Thomas Edsall, who asserts that Obama is merely taking a page out of the Republican handbook. “Over the past two years,” he writes, “Republican-controlled state legislatures have been conducting an aggressive vote-suppression strategy of their own through the passage of voter identification laws and laws imposing harsh restrictions on voter registration drives.”
It is a fascinating admission. He imputes the basest possible motive to supporters of voter IDs laws, and one that is unprovable, to justify behavior that can’t rationalized as anything other cynical and anti-American. Just imagine the reaction if the tables were turned.
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