Wednesday, November 07, 2012

On The Ground

Barack Obama has learned a lot in the last four years. During the first two years of his presidency, many of his supporters grumbled that he didn't understand who he was dealing with. When Republicans said that their first priority was to make him a one term president, they were serious.

But the 2010 elections got his attention. And the debt ceiling debacle convinced him that the old admonition, "Early to bed and early to rise. Work like hell and organize" was the only way to deal with his opposition.

And that's why Obama and the Democrats won the White House yesterday.

True, the war on the air waves was relentless. As a Canadian living  just north of New York State, I 'm happy to see it end. But, in the end, it was the ground game that made the difference. Driving voters to voting stations and offering them bottled water as they stood in line, the Democrats got out the votes and they got them out where it counted.

The question now is, what has this election taught the Republicans? There are at least two clues that, if they're smart, they won't miss. The first is that Obama won 70% of the Latino vote. The second is that Romney's electoral fortunes improved markedly when the person  Bill Clinton called "ol' moderate Mitt" showed up.

And the most important lesson of all is that elections are still won on the ground.

This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The Republicans are up against the demographics. Their constituency is becoming a smaller percentage of the electorate. They need to find a way to connect with African Americans and Latino as well as other groups that make up the Democratic's rainbow constituency such as women, Jews, Muslims, sexual minorities etc. The next time out they may not even be close unless they develop policies that serve these groups. They may think that the United States is a White, Protestant, Christian, male dominated society BUT it is not so any more.

On the other hand the Democrats have an opportunity to shift a little left in order to better serve those Progressives who held their nose and strongly supported Obama. The tactic of shifting right as the Republicans went extreme right has not worked. Obama is right of center, not too much different from Harper, who suppresses his most conservative inclinations.

The American Republicans might do well to come and study Canada's Conservatives, who deliberately went after the immigrant vote and left all those social moral issues (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, death penalty, off the table.

I am glad Obama has another chance to do more of a liberal agenda.

Owen Gray said...

Your analysis is spot on, Philip. Despite Republican attempts to paint Obama as a Marxist-Socialist, he really is what -- once upon a time -- used to be considered a moderate Republican, like Edward Brooke, Charles Percy or Mark Hatfield.

It's the Republican Party which has gone off the cliff. The United Sates is no longer White Anglo-Saxon and Protestant.
Until they accept that fact -- even in a tight race -- the Republicans will come up short.

ChrisJ said...

It will be interesting to see whether the Republicans will learn anything. The rich white bullies like Trump won't get it, and it's entirely possible that the response will be to go even more zealously right (a tack the religious right seems prone to).

The blinders are still on, even at the Globe and Mail. In an analysis column, the writer stated that Obama has a hard time working with the Republicans; he is seemingly ignorant of (or utterly biased about) the fact that the GOP has publicly announced that they won't work with him.

Owen Gray said...

The Right has a hard time dealing with facts, Chris. I caught a clip this morning of Karl Rove refusing to believe the statisticians on FOX News, when they called Ohio for Obama.

But, then, perhaps he was thinking of the rich white bullies from whom he had solicited donations. They surely can't be happy that Mr. Rove did not deliver.