Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Too Early for Romney Campaign to Pop the Champagne Corks

Politico Arena Topic: Is Mitt Romney the Republican Nominee?

There is no question that Mitt Romney had a good night. He resumed his status as frontrunner.

But before the Romney campaign starts popping the champagne corks, there are some troubling clouds gathered over the Florida landscape. Though Romney swept most of the CNN exit poll categories, Newt Gingrich was the first choice among evangelicals, tea party folks, and those that identified as “very conservative.”

These people have always been Romney’s Achilles heel and that pattern continued in Florida. Turnout was also down significantly - about 10 percent or 280,000+ GOP voters - from 2008. These factors indicate that the conservative base has yet to warm to Romney. Yes he has a huge advantage in money. Yes the outside groups supporting him also have deep pockets and are clearly willing to unleash the negativity on Gingrich and other rivals. However, until Romney solves his problem with conservatives, particularly those on the Religious Right, the GOP primary will last for several more weeks - especially heading into Super Tuesday and beyond where a number of Southern states will hold primaries - the kind of political landscape Gingrich should do well in.

More importantly, should he be the nominee, unless Romney solves his conservative problem, he will struggle in the general election where you must turn out your base in order to have a chance at winning. The fact that Florida GOP voters stayed home in droves yesterday indicates a base that has yet to warm - any may never warm - to Romney or his fellow GOP candidates.

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Bill said...

For anyone concerned about the future of democracy, watching the Republican primary has been painful. Not because these candidates are any more of a threat to democracy than any other candidates, but because we are observing the impact of Citizens United. One of the most important ways to fight back is to work to change the law. Corportations should no longer be treated as if they were people, with the same speech (and other) rights as individual citizens. Another, more immediate, way to fight back is to come together around an Arab Spring moment for American democracy in 2012.

We can see in the primary that the general election will be flooded with unregulated corporate money saturating our communication channels with negative ads, bullshit (used as a technical term here for misleading messages designed to misrepresent the speakers intentions, which is not the same thing as a lie), and branded information. Even the highest quality fact check organizations will be hard pressed to keep pace with the deluge we are about to experience. With all the creative minds sharing ideas through social media, and the example of the power of that sharing that we observed in the Arab Spring and Occupy Wallstreet, I suggest it is time to concentrate that energy on thwarting the impact of Citizens United on the 2012 election.

This post is a call for creative ideas about implementation. Let me offer an implementation idea that is likely inadequate, yet should clarify the idea being put on the table here, so others might contribute more arresting ideas that will capture the attentions of key publics, articulate an accessible message about power and campaign contributions, and will successfully use social media to mobilize people to act. So, here is the illustrative idea that should be treated as a catalyst: can we use social media to coordinate a national... 'Mute Out the Noise' campaign to give citizens, united, some time to think...and call on all Americans to mute all political ads for the final 30 days before the election?

DC said...

Bill--I agree 100%. Citizens United is a huge threat to our political system. Time to start banging the drum. Perhaps the voices will be loud enough to get a constitutional amendment passed...

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