The Enthusiasm Gap

Democrats grabbed the short end of the stick in the contest for voter enthusiasm in 2010.  They’ve been experiencing the repercussions of this failure throughout the campaign, but no recent incident has displayed this disparity in desire than Obama’s recent campaign tour in Cleveland.

Coming a few days after John Boehner appeared in rural Ohio districts, Obama’s speaking tour was a laughable attempt at a political countermove.  Given the intensity of turnout for the GOP House Minority (soon to be majority) Leader, one might assume that the turnout to see the President would at least come close to the Republican fervor.  Apparently not.

President Obama‘s last midterm campaign appearance Sunday summed up the plight of his party – he spoke in a half-full arena, in a deep blue part of a GOP trending swing state, where a governor is locked in a tight contest, and a Democratic Senate candidate has been given up for dead.

It’s pretty safe to say that this political situation is similar to many in our country.  So, as John Boehner speaking to thousands in majority GOP districts, Obama has his hands full entertaining a smattering of lackluster, resigned chronic Democratic voters.  It is an especially poignant image that perfectly sums up the direction and scope of the Republican dominance in this campaign, and it is a situation made all the more significant considering Obama’s history of success with this voting bloc:

Two years ago, Obama drew a crowd of 60,000 in this same city two days before Election Day. On Sunday, about 8,000 showed up to see the president and Vice President Biden

That is a staggering turn of events over only two years.  Some on The Left might posture that the enthusiasm gap can be attributed to historically proven diminished voter turnout at midterm elections.  No doubt it would be a weak excuse at best. Midterm voter apathy cannot explain the disappearance of 52,o00 Democratic voters who attended the very same rally two years prior.  However, this excuse would be infinitely more appropriate than what the Obama spin doctors decided to attribute the lack of attendance:

Maybe church service and trick-or-treating kept people from coming out, aides and supporters said.

Trick-or-treating and church.  And the boogeyman will be the reason Democrats don’t turn out to vote tomorrow….

This situation is a telling referendum on Obama’s diminishing popularity within his own party.  The Cleveland urban center is a notoriously Blue voting district.  For the leader of the Democratic Party to be spurned by citizens who have historically been solid Democratic supporters certainly reveals an interesting narrative within the Democratic Party itself.  Much is made of the tea party’s influence on the GOP, yet this case study reveals the distinct possibility of an upcoming civil war within the Democratic Party.  Historically, even The Left will admit that as a national body, The Democratic Party is far weaker than the GOP.  The unity of The Left has always been tenuous at best, even within the ranks of the Democratic elite, and this shaky national structure is on the verge of falling apart.  It will be interesting to see what becomes of The Left after the midterm elections.  Will they move to the center? Or will the left-wing party bosses refuse to yield control of the reigns?  Either way, it looks like Obama will be a one term president.

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