Normally diverging on just about every issue, there’s one topic President Barack Obama and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh agree on: the Republican Party may implode if Obama wins reelection.
There was Limbaugh in September, sweating profusely and predicting the end of the world immediately following an Obama victory. But, he didn’t stop there, lambasting GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney for “not running a conservative campaign.”
And it wasn’t just Romney. “There's gonna be a new Republican Party if that happens,” growled the red-faced commentator. Limbaugh believes that the “new GOP” is “… gonna be led by Tea Party people.”
“There's no ‘if’ about this. It's gonna be ugly, it's gonna be gut wrenching, but it will happen.”
Two months later, while battling for re-election, President Obama chimed in on the subject, momentarily digressing from his campaign speech. "The question’s going to be: How do Republicans react post-election? Because there’s going to be a war going on inside that party. It just hasn’t broken up. It’s been unified in its opposition to me."
Each statement, and the tension in between, seems to validate the other on the surface. Limbaugh may have been channeling Tea Party rank-and-file frustration at the time, a need to openly whine about a deliberate and carefully orchestrated isolation game played by “Establishment Republicans” during their convention in Tampa, Fla. Many Tea Party faithful were telling the Tribune at the time that they knew what was up, didn’t appreciate it and would find some way to make those responsible pay. Many pointed to “country club” GOP icons like Crossroads GPS Super PAC king Karl Rove as a culprit. Rove, not mincing words over his clear distaste for upstarts like Sarah Palin — and others like Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin who wore down the GOP brand, seemed impervious to the threats while raising loads of money.
Yet, other GOP insiders are clearly trembling at the thought of a party in disarray, unlike anything seen since its founding in 1854. At that time, it was a fragmented coalition of Whigs, Democrats, Free Soilers and Know Nothings.
Some predict a similar situation in the event President Obama, a reviled and supremely hated target of the ideological right, gets his second term.
“There are a number of Republicans who are not and have not been happy with the Republican Party for a while,” said Timothy F. Johnson, founder of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, and a former vice chair of the North Carolina Republican Party. Talking to the Tribune, Johnson predicted an implosion within the party when either candidate wins the White House. “[Black Republican conservatives] are tired of having to speak for candidates who are unwilling to go into our communities or speak directly to the citizens. And while the overall objective of this election cycles is to remove President Obama from office, repeal Obamacare and get the economy back on track, regardless of who is elected there will be a revolt.”
Of course, it’s not just Black Republicans. Polls have remained tight for some time, and Republican strategists seem to have a nervous edge about them. Early voting returns favor the president, prompting Romney to recalibrate. Worried about a loss of advantage in critical battleground states like Ohio and Florida, Team Romney shifts to battle Team Obama on its left flank, engaging in an expanded map strategy as resources are being dumped into last minute campaign ad barrages in light blue states like Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
Many experts agree that there is a rising fear among poll-number crunching Republicans that Obama could win. A recent endorsement of the president from the traditionally right-leaning and pro-big business magazine The Economist jarred many conservatives into disbelief. That was in the wake of a surprise endorsement from former-Republican-turned-centrist-independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who suddenly became an Obama fan after what was perceived as an effective federal emergency response to Superstorm Sandy’s devastation.
And there was widespread disbelief from partisans on both sides of the aisle when an emotional New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie openly bear-hugged the president in multiple press conferences and interviews for his “personal attention” to the Sandy destruction on the Jersey shore. That was only days following a loud Christie on the pro-Romney trail blasting Obama as clueless and inept.
Still, Republican strategist and Potomac Strategy Group CEO Matt Mackowiak appears cautious on the GOP-implosion scenario. While conventional wisdom will blame conservatives, “the loss will not be seen as a rebuke to conservatism,” Mackowiak says, “but rather to a moderate candidate.”
“Party elders will seek to solve the immigration issue within the party, to ensure we not continue to lose such a large percentage of the growing Hispanic population. More broadly, the effect of a grand bargain, which could include tax increases, will threaten to split the party, but also potentially allow space for a true conservative candidate to be our nominee in 2016,” Mackowiak adds.
“Parties that lose back-to-back presidential elections often go through a period of change,” says former 2008 Obama co-chair and Colorado Senate President Peter Groff, who believes it won’t be as bad for the GOP as it seems. “The Democrats went more moderate after losing twice to Ronald Reagan and built the Democratic Leadership Council and ‘created’ Bill Clinton and leaned more left after going down twice to George W. Bush. So it makes perfect sense that the GOP will look inward after back-to-back wins by President Obama.”
“I don't buy the fact the party will be ‘ripped apart’ by the internal conversation, political parties are living entities and morph and change to better reflect their principals in modern times,” said Groff.
Washington Times columnist Jeneba Ghatt rejects the notion of an implosion, but definitely sees a need for change within the GOP in terms of demographics. “I’ve been under the presumption that if Barack Obama is re-elected, the Establishment Republicans would perhaps regain the reigns of their party, having realized that pandering to the extreme is a losing game.”
Author and radio personality Michael Baisden, host of the syndicated "Michael Baisden Show," airing weekdays, 3-7 p.m. on 105.3 WDAS-FM, did a superb job of covering the 2008 Presidential Election, and is equally committed to getting out the vote in 2012.
As President Obama prepares for his second debate with Republican candidate Mitt Romney, Baisden will host an exclusive Presidential Debate watch party tonight. The free event will be held 7-11 p.m. in the new "state-of-the-art" auditorium at Universal Audenried Charter High School, 3301 Tasker St.. Access is first come, first served but 30 WDAS listeners will be granted VIP seating by listening to 105.3 WDAS-FM for a chance to win. During Friday's broadcast, Baisden said that guests will receive copies of his books "The Maintenance Man" and "Men Cry in the Dark."
Baisden, who held a watch party for the first Presidential Debate on Oct. 3 at the Hippodrome in Richmond, Va., later said to CNN, "in short, this was a better debate for Romney than for Obama. Let's hope that by the time Round 2 rolls around, the candidates will have gotten beyond their opening night jitters, beyond the mysteries of the format and being overprogrammed by their coaches."
As America goes to the polls on November 6, Baisden will host an Election 2012 watch party at Morgan State University — Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive in Baltimore, Md. Doors open at 6 p.m.
For more information on the Philadelphia Presidential Debate watch party, visit www.wdasfm.com.
Democrats are giddy with joy this week, popping champagne corks while circle dancing around what they believe is the flaming wreckage of Mitt Romney’s doomed presidential campaign.
I still see plenty of daylight left for Romney to right the ship and give President Barack Obama a run for his money on Election Day. And that word — money — is the reason why. Behind badly in the polls and losing more ground every day, Romney’s staff knows they can’t rely on the gullible American electorate to push them over the finish line. So instead, they rely on the millions contributed by a few very wealthy donors to counter the millions of voters they continue to alienate every day.
Even though the gaffes are coming at a such a furious pace from the Romney camp it’s hard to keep up, and the past ten days have been among the worst in campaign history, there remains among the GOP the reasonable hope that there are enough brain dead knuckle-draggers left out there who can hate a Black president enough to vote against their own best interests.
First there was the GOP convention in Tampa, where racist delegates threw peanuts at a Black CNN camerawoman, and Clint Eastwood turned out to be an incoherent old man who holds lengthy, babbling conversations with an empty chair.
Romney and running mate Paul Ryan had to run away from their own party’s platform, or risk having to answer uncomfortable questions about no-exception abortion bans, and “legitimate” rape. Having just thrown Senate candidate Todd Akin under the bus for expressing the same sentiments, the top of the ticket was forced to remain silent.
The plastic candidate was then chastised by his own party when his nomination speech failed to mention the war in Afghanistan, and failed to thank the troops for their service.
Then Romney shot from the hip in his condemnation of the Obama administration’s response to the spreading riots in the Middle East — one of which resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador. Romney’s rebuke was early and off the mark, and introduced naked political pandering into a situation that called for cooler heads and critical thinking.
Then the tape came out.
Surely you’ve seen it by now, since the whole country has been obsessed with the YouTube video for almost a week. Romney, at a $50,000 a plate fundraising dinner held last spring at the ritzy Boca Raton mansion of hedge fund manager and Sixers co-owner Marc Leder, said that 47 percent of the country are lazy, entitlement moochers who aren’t going to vote for him anyway, so he’s not going to concern himself with them.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said smugly. “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. And the government should give it to them. . . . These are people who pay no income tax."
As a side note, if you haven’t read the transcript of the videotape, available online, I recommend you do so, if only to amaze yourself at the shocking stupidity of the questions Romney fielded from the fat cat partygoers. Their utter lack of insight, political knowledge, and understanding of the world is dizzying, especially when you consider these are the folks who believe they are entitled to rule over the rest of us simply because of the size of their wallets.
But back to the 47 percent.
I wonder if Romney knows that included in his 47 percent of lazy, unworthy moochers is every wounded soldier who goes to the VA hospital for an artificial limb. It’s every grandmother who relies on Medicare for her prescription drugs. It’s the working mom with two jobs who still has to feed her kids ramen noodles and hot dogs for supper. It’s every hardworking student who needs a Pell grant in order to afford college.
They are the people we care for because they need our help, because helping them is the decent thing to do, and because to refuse that help would make us callous, soulless, self-important plutocrats — like the dimwits who pay $50,000 to listen to an empty suit.
Rather than rejoice in his implosion, in the end, I almost feel sorry for Romney. Almost.
Daryl Gale is the Philadelphia Tribune's city editor.
TAMPA, Fla. — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney finished the GOP’s 40th Republican National Convention yesterday by giving his vision for America to the American public and the more than 5,000 delegates in Tampa.
Dr. Jason Johnson is an African-American professor of political science and communications at Hiram College in Ohio. Johnson, who also is a contributing writer for the Politics365 website, attended this year’s GOP convention and said Romney and Ryan’s speeches played well to the GOP party faithful, but he’s not sure if it swayed independents and African-Americans enough to swing the election for Romney.
“I don’t think Mitt Romney is going to do any better with Black people than [Arizona U.S. Sen.] John McCain [in the 2008 general election],” Johnson said. “He [Romney] may go up another percentage point, but he will not break five [percent of the nationwide African-American vote] and that is what he is looking at. He is looking at a situation where he would need to depress turnout for Obama, keep his turnout high, and keep a lot of people from registering to vote if Romney actually has a chance to win the election. Those are three clearly complicated things. They can be accomplished — but they would sort of require a perfect storm for Mitt Romney.”
Finding African-American voting delegates and alternative delegates at this year’s convention was difficult.
The Republican National Convention Press Office tells The Tribune the party does not breakdown delegates by race, so they are not able to provide racial breakdown numbers. This year, 2,286 voting delegates and 2,125 alternative delegates attended the Convention.
Time Magazine’s Swampland website reports that just 46 African-American delegates were at this year’s convention, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The number of African-American delegates was at its highest at 167 in 2004, 16.7 percent of the overall total.
In the delegations representing the Delaware Valley (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware), New Jersey had the largest number of African-American and minority delegates with five. N.J. GOP Party spokesman Douglass Mayer said they are voting delegates Aubrey Fenton, Mt. Laurel; Keith Walker, Camden; Ronald Perry, Rahway; Harold Edwards Sr,, Newark; and alternate delegate Evern Ford, Woodstown.
Pennsylvania’s delegation has two African-Americans and one Asian as part of the delegation. Philadelphians Lewis Harris, chairman of the Philadelphia Republicans of Color, and Calvin Tucker, Republican 22nd Ward leader, were elected delegates and had a vote on the floor.
Long-time Pennsylvania Republican Renee Amoore attended the convention in her role as party vice chairwoman. City Councilman David Oh attended as a non-voting alternative delegate appointed by Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason.
Delaware GOP Chairman John Sigler said grassroots activist Mark Parks of Bear, Del. is the lone African-American in his delegation. Parks is an alternate delegate. Delaware had 17 voting delegates and 14 alternate delegates.
The African-American delegates interviewed say they share a deep pride in the 2008 historic election of the nation’s first African-American president but they feel the Romney/Ryan ticket is the best shot for future economic prosperity for everyone.
“Historically, I was proud that Barack Obama became the president [in 2008],” said Tucker, who is also co-chair of the Philadelphia Black Republican Council. “I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t support him…Just like a lot of presidents they make significant missteps and they do good things. On the average, (Obama’s) missteps have been things that haven’t advanced our cause as an African-American group.
Dr. C.T. Wright, who was president of Cheyney University from 1982-85, attended the convention along with his wife, Mary. Wright was an elected alternative delegate from Arizona, and the only African-Americans among that delegation’s 29 delegates and 28 alternative delegates.
“I did not support Obama four years ago, and one reason is that Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain was running,” Wright said. “I really admire President Obama, and he has some great policies as well…the thing I am disappointed with in Barack Obama is the fact that he has not been as successful in bringing this country together. We need some leadership to bring this country together. “
Wright doesn’t support the Obama’s position on same-sex marriage and abortion. He says Romney will win Arizona, but he would not predict whether the Romney/Ryan ticket will win on election day.
Rachel Kemp is an African-American female delegate from Boston who attended her first convention. She was also chair of the government reform subcommittee for the party’s platform committee. She believes the Romney/Ryan ticket must stress job creation in order to win the White House.
“Everyone is thinking about jobs and within the African-American community the unemployment rates have been double digit,” Kemp said. “We need to talk about how we’re put the infrastructure back in place so the public knows they are not being kept out of the equation.
“ I’m an American first,” Kemp continued. “I’m not an African-American or a Black American—I’m an American first. I need to think what is best for this country. I don’t think he (Obama) was necessarily prepared to become President of the United States and it was that experience that was lacking.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation to the convention, said minorities should strongly consider looking at voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket this year.
“The economy that we have seen and the lack of growth in the economy over the last four years has affected, more so, people in the minority communities than anywhere else and they should be looking for a change,” Corbett said. “We’re going to try and present that change to them.”
In 1996, Republican Bob Dole received 12 percent of the African-American vote to Democrat Bill Clinton’s 82 percent. In 2000, George W. Bush received nine percent of the African-American vote to Vice President Al Gore’s 90 percent. In 2004, then President Bush received 11 percent of the African-American vote. And in 2008, John McCain received four percent of the African-American vote.
“ They (GOP) have generally won presidential elections without a lot of minority voters,” Johnson said. “They don’t make the African-American community a priority. If Republicans really wanted to attract black people, they would talk about policies that are applicable to Black people and they don’t. They primarily talk about policies that are beneficial to the while middle class.and that is why Blacks tend to flock to the Democrats.”
Credit Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for using a word during his Democratic National Convention speech last week that President Barack Obama seemingly has purged from his public vocabulary: poverty.
Nutter, just four full sentences into his DNC speech delivered the same night that President Obama spoke, used that “P” word that has practically disappeared from public political discourse among America’s elected leaders and leading media pundits.
Poverty grew by 27 percent increase across America from 2006-2010 according to an Indiana University study released earlier this year.
Poverty in America is “remarkably widespread” that study concluded.
Over fifty-million Americans are living in poverty the IU study stated.
That crushing condition guts over one-third of Philadelphia’s residents daily… the highest among American large cities.
And little surprise, that IU study noted that the largest increases in poverty afflicted Hispanics, African-Americans, children and households headed by women.
America’s child poverty ranks second-highest among 35 developed nations. (A three-person household with $17,900 annual income lives in poverty according to the federal government.)
It’s outrageously ironic that while poverty soars across America critically wounded by the wealth-greed enflamed Great Recession, anti-poverty discourse disappears from policy initiatives advanced by Democratic and Republican leaders.
Conservatives, especially Republicans, have long pushed the falsehood that America’s impoverished are solely responsible for their impoverishment.
That falsehood fudges foundational facts fanning impoverishment like what Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders castigates as America’s “grotesquely unfair distribution of wealth” — were the top 1 percent controls 41 percent of all wealth compared to the bottom 60 percent controlling just 2 percent of America’s wealth.
Irrespective of conflicted understandings about poverty’s root causes, at least one observable certainty exists about those tens of millions of Americans living in poverty or living near falling into poverty.
Not one among the tens-of-millions of impoverished were among the scores of millionaires/billionaires that recently paid a $1-million apiece for a private audience in Tampa Bay with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney aboard the ritzy 150’ yacht “Cracker Bay” that flew the flag of the Cayman Islands where the wealthy often off-shore income to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
Mayor Nutter referenced the word poverty when extolling the necessity of all people acquiring solid educations. Nutter scored Republicans for slashing educational funding from kindergarten to college.
Nutter stated that education was essential for achieving his goals in Philadelphia that included reducing poverty.
“In Philadelphia,” Nutter said. “Our public safety, poverty reduction, health and economic development all start with education.”
Obama’s rare referencing of poverty, either from political reticence or refusal, has sparked criticism from within his political constituency.
“This year, both Governor Romney and President Obama at least mentioned the ‘P’ word in their convention speeches, but neither pledged to make the alleviation of poverty in America a priority,” Obama critic Tavis Smiley wrote recently.
It speaks volumes that self-applauded businessman Romney doesn’t practice what he preaches about the virtues of private enterprise generating paycheck producing jobs that keep people from falling into unemployment induced poverty.
Very few Black businesses around Tampa Bay, Fla., received any revenue from the millions of dollars expended on and generated by the RNC that recently anointed Romney.
The presidents of the Tampa Bay Black Chamber of Commerce and the Sun Coast African American Chamber of Commerce both said economic exclusion ruled at Tampa’s RNC.
“There was not big tent of inclusion,” said Tampa Bay Black Chamber head Willis Bowick. “The RNC had no real outreach to Black businesses here.”
Before dismissing this Tampa Bay Black business criticism of GOP exclusion as partisan soar-grapes recognize that Bowick is the president of the African-American Republican Club of Hillsborough County that includes Tampa Bay.
Shortly before the Tampa Bay RNC, a leading Republican activist in that city, Joseph Robinson, resigned from the GOP citing frustrations with the GOP’s persistent lack of response to issues important to African Americans including the lack of Black business inclusion at the RNC.
Robinson, who owns an engineering consulting firm, said things for blacks worsened within the GOP during the past few years paralleling the ascendancy of Tea Party influence.
“With the GOP they do not even give us trickle-down crumbs,” Robinson said.
In contrast to the black business exclusion at Tampa’s RNC, Black business received more equitable access to economic opportunities generated at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.
Dr. Renae Sanders, chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce, said “several” Black owned companies received DNC related contracts including construction firms and event planners.
That Black business inclusion during the DNC, while commendable, does not off-set the exclusion Black businesses experienced in federal contracting from Obama’s ARRA stimulus.
Between Feb. 2009 and November 2010 black businesses received a paltry 3.5 percent of stimulus contracting compared to white firms receiving 81.3 percent of stimulus-funded contracts.
While the Democrat and Republican parties again pledged to protect Israel from external violence (increasingly exacerbated by Israel’s increasingly intransigent government) neither Obama nor Romney are addressing the urban violence epidemic wrecking America, as noted in a recent article by Philadelphia Tribune reporter Larry Miller.
Miller’s article quoted attorney/activist Michael Coard observing that neither Obama nor Romney address urban violence because “Romney doesn’t give a damn and Obama is afraid to give a damn.”
Civil Rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson recently said Obama “must address poverty and violence in a different way.”
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Fellowship Program.
I got an angry letter from Governor Corbett last week, or at least from one of his minions — chastising me for a column I wrote the week before calling for Corbett’s impeachment.
Click this link to see the letter in its entirety, and you can read it for yourself. I’m not going to refute its content point by point, but there are a couple of highlights that beg further review.
Dennis Roddy, special assistant to the governor, attempts to take me to task for saying Corbett’s been bending over backwards to accommodate his Big Oil and Big Energy friends and contributors tearing up Marcellus Shale and its surrounding communities by reminding readers that Corbett “laid down more than $1 million in penalties on a Marcellus driller for environmental failures.”
Well, Dennis, I took your suggestion and googled “Chesapeake, record fine,” and guess what? The $1 million fine is there, along with the fact that Chesapeake Energy, the company in question, owns 519 well permits in Pennsylvania and has been reporting annual revenues between $7.6 billion and $11.3 billion a year for the past four years. Chesapeake also pays its CEO $116.89 million per year, making him the third highest paid executive in the country. I seriously doubt that the $1 million in fines, however unprecedented, made much of a dent in their $11 billion profit margin. I also doubt that a drop-in-the-bucket fine is much of an incentive to make those corporations accountable for the devastated communities they’ll leave behind, or to discontinue thumbing their noses at environmental regulations.
Also notable is the boast that, “The governor crafted and implemented an impact fee in addition to this, meaning that a fully productive well will pay $310,000 to its host community over a10-year period.”
Wait a second, let me get this straight. A fully productive well, pumping millions of dollars worth of natural gas, will pay the host community — an entire township or borough — a whopping $31,000 per year for ten years. That should be of great comfort to the folks who’ll be able to light their tap water on fire, or find themselves dying of a host of environmentally based illnesses. $31,000 won’t even pay for the water they’ll have to truck in from out of town just to take a shower.
What is most telling, however, about Roddy’s tersely worded retort, is not what it says, but what it doesn’t say.
He doesn’t include one word about the voter ID law, about which I had the most to say in that column, and many columns previous. He doesn’t think its “odd,” “astonishing,” or “alarming” that I called Corbett’s law “the most insidious violation of citizens’ basic rights and dignity since “Colored Only” water fountains.” I compared it to the fire hose and police dog voter suppression tactics of the 1960s, and even headlined one column, “Tom Corbett, meet Jim Crow.”
I mean, if there were ever an opening to defend a policy you strongly believe in, that would have been it right there.
While vigorously defending Marcellus Shale drillers and Corbett’s handling of the Penn State scandal while he was Attorney General, when it comes to defending the most egregious piece of legislation in the state affecting the elderly, the poor, immigrants and ethnic minorities — silence. You can almost hear the crickets.
No attempt to convince Tribune readers that the voter ID law is free of racism, or even partisanship. No defense of voter ID law sponsor state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who once featured life-size targets of President Obama for his gun-toting contributors to shoot live rounds at one of his fundraising hoedowns. No acknowledgement of the accidental slip of the truth from House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who bragged to a partisan crowd in June that the voter ID law would insure a Mitt Romney win in Pennsylvania.
Could it be that Roddy simply forgot about all that when crafting the carefully worded defense of his boss? Or could it be that Corbett knows only too well that the voter ID law — and particularly the sinister motivation behind it — is as shamelessly partisan and nakedly racist as anything to come out of Harrisburg in years?
There’s even talk among Republicans nationally of repealing the Voting Rights Act altogether. Women, gays, minorities, senior citizens and immigrants are all in the GOP cross hairs this election season. Vote like your life depends upon it, because it just might.
Then, impeach Corbett.
Daryl Gale is the Philadelphia Tribune's city editor.
President Barack Obama appears to be gaining ground again in several national polls, recovering slightly from a slump that followed his dismal performance in the first debate — but the latest numbers also point to a very tight contest, where voter enthusiasm and turnout will be crucial.
“Obama’s slight 49 percent to 46 percent seven-day lead among registered voters is just about where it was in the seven days prior to the debate,” said Frank Newport, editor in chief at Gallup Poll. “This trend suggests that Romney’s impressive debate performance — 72 percent of debate watchers said he did the better job — may not have a lasting impact.”
Obama has publicly acknowledged his lackluster performance on Oct. 3.
“I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite,” he told radio host Tom Joyner this week, adding that he would not make the same mistake in the next debate. “We’re going to take it to him.” Newport noted that though Obama was again rising in the polls, three points is considered statistically insignificant — leaving the president and his challenger Mitt Romney in a dead heat.
In addition to polling registered voters, Gallup polled likely voters, and in that category Romney held a slim lead — 49 percent to Obama’s 47 percent.
The differing results point to the importance of voter turn-out in the Nov. 6 election, Newport said.
“Neither result provides a candidate with a statistically significant lead,” he said. “But together they do underscore the competitive nature of the election and indicate that Romney at this point benefits from turnout patterns.”
The Rasmussen Report also shows Obama again in the lead – but by just one point. In their numbers, released on Thursday, Obama had the support of 48 percent of voters while Romney had 47 percent of voters. Politico also gave Obama a one-point lead, reporting that Obama had the support of 49 percent of voters
It too noted that the election will hinge on turnout and that enthusiasm for Obama has slipped.
According to Politico’s findings, 73 percent who support Obama say they are “extremely likely” to vote. That compared to 86 percent of Romney supporters who were “extremely likely” to vote.
In more general terms, 84 percent of Republicans said they were extremely likely to vote, compared to 76 percent of Democrats.
In that category — those extremely likely to vote — Romney leads Obama 52 percent to 46 percent. That’s a 2-point gain from last week. Obama led 50 percent to 47 percent among this group three weeks ago.
“A more energized base frees up Romney to focus more of his energy on wooing independents and others unhappy with the president but not currently supporting him,” wrote James Hohmann, in Politico’s analysis of the date. “The trend lines suggest that Obama will be forced to devote more time than he’d like in the final weeks toward motivating African-Americans, Latinos and college kids.”
Locally, a poll released Wednesday showed that Obama maintained a lead — though by a smaller margin — in Pennsylvania despite his performance during the Oct. 3 debate.
Obama had the support of 50 percent of voters compared to 42 percent for Romney. The number remained unchanged for Obama — he had the same 50 percent support in September. But, for Romney, the new figures represented a gain from his 39 percent support in September.
The president has enjoyed strong support in Pennsylvania.
On Monday, several news outlets reported that Romney had pulled his campaign out of Pennsylvania, closing up shop so his campaign could focus on Ohio. Campaign officials have declined to comment — published reports were based on comments from unnamed sources.
Rommey, speaking at a campaign stop last week, said the Keystone State was still in play.
“I’ve got a little secret here and that is that the Obama campaign thinks Pennsylvania is in their pocket — they don’t need to worry about it,” he said. “And you’re right and they’re wrong: We’re going to win Pennsylvania.”
On the day the state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about the state’s controversial new voter ID law, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams is scheduled to host a Voter ID Education and Action Rally to help voters take the necessary steps to ensure that their vote counts this November.
“While we continue to fight this confusing, unnecessary and utterly disgraceful new law, it’s crucial that voters are made aware of their rights so that they are ready for Election Day,” Williams said. “Freedom-loving Americans cherish the vote, a right for which generations have died to secure. That’s why we’re set to answer questions, offer resources and ensure that as many people as possible are prepared and able to protect and exercise their vote this fall.”
The rally will take place on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 5 p.m. at Kingsessing Recreation Center, located at 50th Street and Kingsessing Avenue in Philadelphia.
There will be representatives from various civic organizations available to talk to participants about the law, opportunities to volunteer for voter outreach, entertainment and free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream while supplies last.
The new law will now force voters to present specific forms of photo ID when they cast their ballots, starting with this November’s election.
Several organizations have fought in Commonwealth Court to strike down the law, arguing that the nation’s most restrictive measure to date could disenfranchise some 750,000 previously valid voters. Despite these and other facts, the court upheld it.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case and is expected to begin proceedings on Sept. 13.
Williams, Democratic whip and Democratic chair of the state government committee, and his Senate Democratic colleagues voted against the voter ID legislation earlier this year.
They contend that it would adversely impact select members of the voting population — namely people of color, seniors, women and youthful voters. Video that surfaced of state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai bragging that the law would allow Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania further bolstered claims that voter ID was designed to suppress votes, not reduce fraud, which to date has been reported as minimal, if at all.
Last week, Williams and his colleagues filed an amicus brief with the state Supreme Court in support of efforts to stop the law from being implemented.
Political conventions are supposed to be the place where candidates shore up the base while reaching out over the airwaves to appeal to the independents and the fence sitters.
But for any politically active potential voter paying even cursory attention for the past two weeks, I don’t see how there can be many undecideds left in the country.
Last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa was a full-on Obama hate fest, with enough snark and ridicule to last several administrations. If there’s one thing you took from that weeklong spectacle, it’s that those folks really, really dislike the president on a gut level. They hate him, they hate his wife, and they hate everything he’s done since taking office.
Not that there isn’t room for criticism in Obama’s policies, because there is. You can certainly differ with the man’s agenda, or take issue with his methods, without despising him personally or disrespecting the office.
You didn’t see much of that last week, though. The GOP reaction to President Obama is a visceral one — an anger that comes from deep within, and probably has little to do with the man’s policies.
That anger, though, was not reserved for the president alone. Women, gays, immigrants, and ethnic minorities got a taste of what life would be like under a Romney presidency, if only through the fact that so few minorities were visible at the convention.
Contrast that with the diversity on display at the Democratic National convention this week in Charlotte, and the subtle coding of GOP rhetoric becomes clearer. Not only was there a plethora of strong women, Black and brown skinned speakers and delegates, and a significant gay contingent, those groups were encouraged to stand proudly out front.
It’s as if convention organizers had conspired to show America just how progressive, or regressive, their parties can be. Several Republicans noticed, too, and some took to social media to express their derision. One GOP pundit tweeted a sneeringly offensive comment about the podium in Charlotte looking like a scene from the play, “The Vagina Monologues,” because of the number of women represented.
There were other nasty tweets and blog posts, seething about the Democrats’ ability to draw strength from their diversity, as though it really doesn’t matter if everyday Americans see a political party that looks like them.
Note to Republicans: it matters.
America is getting less and less white every year, and most experts estimate that white folks could find themselves a statistical minority in a few short years. If they lose this election, the GOP fade into irrelevance as the good old boys network slowly dies off, leaving the party without its traditional base of rich old white men.
The Democrats, for their part, went out of their way to show up the Republicans, and did so in grand fashion. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, fairly unknown prior to this week, wowed the crowd with his personal story of the immigrant experience, and in doing so blew the GOP’s favorite Hispanic Marco Rubio out of the water.
First lady Michelle Obama reminded Americans why they like her husband, and why she loves him. Her affection for her spouse was evident, and even GOP talking heads had to admit that she has transformed herself into quite a political force in her own right.
Even Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who was called nasty names by the right for her principled stance on contraceptives, made mincemeat of her former detractors in a well-received speech that belied her status as a political amateur.
But if anyone stole the show from the president, even for one night, it was former president Bill Clinton. Looking strong and fit, Ol’ Bubba recreated his magic spell for the better part of an hour, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with his trademark combination of masterful delivery and boyish charm. Clinton laid out the case for Obama’s reelection while throwing left hooks at Romney and Paul Ryan that couldn’t miss.
Following Clinton’s brilliant oratory, President Obama took the stage briefly to walk Clinton off. The crowd went completely nuts. The two alpha male rock stars embraced warmly and strode offstage while the audience whooped, cried and blubbered as if they’d seen a holy vision.
Sure, I’m biased, but I’m not a ride-or-die zealot. I see the flaws and blemishes in the Democrat way of governing, but I’ve decided I’ll go with the folks who mean well, rather than folks who are just plain mean.
Because if you’re still undecided at this stage, those are your two choices.
Daryl Gale is the Philadelphia Tribune's city editor.
While President Obama’s re-election campaign can boast multiple demographic pathways to victory on November 6, strategists on both campaigns are looking intently at the white vote. 2012, of course, is more diverse than 2008, and 2010 U.S. Census Bureau numbers prove the American population is browning rapidly. Whether or not Barack Obama can keep himself from the becoming the first one-term Black president hinges on the turnout of white voters — despite all the platitudes about minority turnout.
Both campaigns spent time hammering through the Olympic Games’ clutter. In the attempt, both camps threw signals into the election atmosphere to see which one would stick — and how much middle-class, white voters would pay attention.
“If President Obama gets 40 percent of the white vote, he has a chance to win re-election,” writes BuzzFeed’s politics blogger John Ellis. “If President Obama gets 35 percent of the white vote, he's finished.”
According to the most recent YouGov numbers, that’s a tough hill to climb. In total, only 37 percent of white voters approve of the president — compared to 56 percent who disapprove. In terms of voter preference, it’s the same as 53 percent of white voters identify themselves at Mitt Romney supporters.
In 2008, then-candidate Obama won 43 percent of the white vote. The last Democratic presidential nominee to do that was Bill Clinton in 1996.
This was the reasoning some observers pointed to in rationalizing the Republican nominee’s recent gaffe-ridden trip to Europe. Republican strategists were not too keen on admitting it, either on or off record, but there were a number of reasons why Romney would want to visit England and Poland. The kick-off of Team Romney’s aggressive courting for white votes was unapologetic as one senior campaign aide bragged about the “special” Anglo-Saxon ties between Britain and the United States that the current president — being as Black as he is — didn’t “appreciate.”
But, those controversial comments provided more indication that Republicans believe they also have multiple pathways to victory. The only dilemma is they are all white. That’s problematic when going up against an incumbent who can rely on cobbling together a number of diverse cultural outlets: Blacks, Hispanics, LGBTs, women, etc. … and at least some of the white vote, too.
Based on President Obama’s approval ratings among whites, that won’t stop the Romney campaign from nibbling away at ethnic Caucasian enclaves and voters in key states. The visit to Poland is an example of this strategy. Polish-American voters account for nearly 10 percent of the overall electorate. That number include places like Pennsylvania, a very critical battleground state, where the Polish population is near 8 percent and is one of the Top 6 “ethnic” demographics in the state.
Still, the majority of Polish-Americans identify themselves as Democrats. “It is not unreasonable to conclude that many Polish-American Democrats tend to be in the more conservative wing of the party,” was the conclusion of the non-partisan Piast Institute, a group which studies such trends.
The foreign policy benefits are a bit limited, but Romney probably represents — minus the election — the first in what will later become a very public wave of U.S. support for a strong buffer country against Russia. As it turns out, Poland is ranked 22nd globally in military expenditures. Noted geopolitical analyst George Friedman predicts Poland will become a world power by the middle of the century.
There’s more to it, however, than just Polish vote perks and a likely partner in the quiet post-Cold War against Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Nearly 90 percent of the Polish population is devoutly Roman Catholic, another blatant play the GOP is making for Catholic votes — from the contraceptives controversy to continuing flaps over abortion and the much-hyped “War on Women.”
But, it’s the Jewish element to Romney’s European trip that had Team Obama strategists worried, even as the president’s surrogates openly mocked and clowned the tour as amateur hour. The Republican candidate made back-to-back jumps from Israel to Poland, from the Jewish homeland to a country ranked among the Top 20 countries with significant Jewish populations. That Romney would make stops in both is a formidable acknowledgement of Jewish history. Poland holds a very deep and heartfelt place in the Jewish Diaspora’s heart since it contained one of the largest and most active pockets of European Jews before their tragic near-extermination during the Holocaust.
While poking fun at Romney’s overseas gaffes, cautious Democratic observers were playing careful attention to the Republican candidate’s overtures to Jewish voters. And Democrats have had problems wooing Jewish donors as the perception of an unfriendly President Obama who chides Israel in favor of Palestinian interests is growing.
Romney’s European tour may have been one of many brazen shots in the war for ethnic white votes. “Now it’s a smaller percentage of the population — of the voting population — than it used to be, but white voters are still much more Republican than any other group in the electorate,” opined NPR political analyst Cokie Roberts. “They went for McCain in 2008 by 55 percent. And I think that getting those ethnic voters excited is really what Romney has in mind here.”