Brookings' Galston: A Double Standard?
With President Obama’s decisive insulting of social conservatives by endorsing Gay Marriage, his friends are realizing they are stuck with a campaign dedicated to the proposition that America is already a majority/minority nation. As Jonathan Easley puts it in Obama returns to his liberal base The Hill 5/11/12
President Obama is focusing his campaign efforts on the voters who turned out for him in force in 2008 and who he will need to mobilize again this year. Obama’s public pronouncement on the issue has energized the gay community and secured for him the kind of campaign donations that his super-PACs had yet to deliver. …In a presentation at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution on Thursday, the group's Governance Studies Chairman Bill Galston called 2012 a “classic mobilization” election and said Obama would have to appeal to the “animal spirits” of his liberal Democratic base if he is to reverse that trend.As Peter Brimelow immediately noted this is tantamount to Obama implementing his version of the Sailer Strategy – maximize your core supporter turnout. At VDARE.com we have long suggested this for Republicans – and suspected they will be distracted, or lack the nerve.
Important evidence that energizing the base is the correct route for the GOP is provided by the fact that the left-leaning Brookings Institute’s Galston in his study Six Months to Go (Pdf) recommends they do exactly the opposite:
Swing Independents …see an ideological gap between Romney and Republicans, with Romney much more moderate than his party…The Romney campaign should do everything it can—consistent with retaining the support of their conservative base—to maintain the perceived gap between their candidate and his party.Maintaining the perceived gap between Romney and the GOP core would of course reproduce the McCain low turnout debacle. To win, the Democrats know they need discouraged whites as much as motivated minorities. Hence Trayvon Martin.
The Galston study nontheless has a number of interesting facts:
The election of 2012 takes place against the backdrop of a political system that is more polarized along partisan and ideological lines than it has been for many decades—indeed, if standard political science measures are correct, since the 1890s. (P9) …the conservative share of the electorate rose after Obama’s election and now stands at 40 percent, the highest ever measured since Gallup started routinely asking about ideology in 1992. (The moderate share is just 35 percent, down eight points in twenty years to the lowest level ever measured.) Meanwhile, the liberal share has ticked down slightly to 21 percent. (P10)(VDARE.com emphasis)
Some recently released Census Bureau numbers raise additional doubts about the strength of the coalition Obama assembled in 2008. Since then, voter registration among Hispanics has declined by 5 percent, the first significant drop in nearly four decades. Their registration is down even more in some key states—by 10 percent in Florida and an astounding 28 percent in New Mexico. Nationwide, African-American registration has declined by 7 percent. Together, Hispanic and African-American registration declined by about 2 million. (P14)
It is hard to see how Obama can win a majority of the popular vote unless he rebuilds his standing among Independents. But it is not clear his current strategy is the one best calculated to bring about this result. (P15)
I suspect Professor Galston is less happy with the Obama strategy than the tenor of this paper suggests. On May 11 he put a piece in the Brookings website It’s Official, Obama’s Trying to Win the West—Not Ohio which directly says that the gay marriage issue is likely to cost Obama Ohio and North Carolina. Note however that he does not condemn Obama's approach as illegitimate or immoral - unlike many Republicans, who have been brainwashed into believing that it would be immoral for them to appeal to their own base. Last year I noted Democrat Asks: "Where Did Our White Voters Go?