Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obama's 'gifts' won certain voters, Romney tells donors - World - CBC News

This story replays a theme that right wing intellectuals have been saying since Obama won:

Obama's 'gifts' won certain voters, Romney tells donors - World - CBC News:

It is, of course, silly and the important point to note is that Republican strategies -- I guarantee you -- don't believe it. They can read polls and survey data as well as anyone else. Here is some more extensive data to to look at if you are interested:

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2012/11/10/opinion/marshpdf.html?ref=sunday-review

What is important to recognize, however, is that this story - Obama bribed the specific groups (Black, Hispanic, and Young Americans) fits well with the Republican world view. From the Republican perspective, there is no harm in insulting these groups of people (for instance, calling a matter of public policy which involves funding for X or Y a "gift") because these people are not going to vote for you anyway. And, it makes white, older, male Republicans feel good. They can say to themselves "we did not lose. Obama bribed a bunch of people so that issue was not us."  The fact that you can blame Blacks, Hispanics, and young people ... well ... I strongly suspect that that was intentional not just because they don't vote Republican but because it is a story about groups of people that the core Republican constituency will believe: it reflects a negative view of groups about whom core Republicans already have negative views.

Moreover, it might be a good election strategy, too, at least in keeping with core Republican votes (see the data in the second URL to see to whom I am referring).

Now, of course, the people who actually run the Republican Party know that this message is for public consumption. It is not something on which they will run their next campaign. It is a way to keep their core voters at home while they figure out a broader strategy. They know, for instance, that they cannot neglect growing demographics and expect to win elections. So, my point is this: there is a lot in this silly statement. It is a political statement, it is something that some people believe, it is patently simplistic (and some of the people saying it might be known for their patent simplicity), but it is also contrived. It is a way the Republican hierarchy keeps their voters in place while they actually figure out what to do.


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