As the election winds down to its final days, Republican Mitt Romney continues to lead President Barack Obama in the national popular vote polls though the fight for 270+ electoral votes is still very much up in the air.
Both candidates have saturated the airwaves, clogged mail boxes and banner advertised to the max in the critical swing states that will ultimately decide the election.
The president’s campaign has been rumored to be channeling resources away from marginal states that are leaning to the former Massacusetts governor and have upped their expenditures in Obama’s political firewall of Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin and Colorado.
The move follows the military adage that he who defends everything, defends nothing (by virtue of being spread too thin).
Though a sign of weakness, consolidating money and political operations to limited areas is shrewd strategy. Obama’s not looking for a landslide, just a win.
Ohio isn’t the only thing the president and his allies have been doubling down on, as the Democrats continue to pursue their “sum of America’s parts” strategy by appealing to demographic segments rather than the public at large.
While it’s in bad taste, it’s also an effective game plan in the absence of a successful first term. And it might just cinch the election for Obama at the end of the day.
Romney needs to counter Team Obama’s divide and conquer offensive, which cannot simply be dismissed and ignored. And though the clock is ticking down, there are three relatively easy things the Republican can do to minimize bleed-off.
1) Break Out The Binders of Women- Romney needs to bring in women he appointed to high positions of responsibility while governor and from his time in the private sector. Ideally he should have a different female colleague introduce him at every rally in order to put faces with “binders”. Romney should also ask his wife Ann to lead a head on assault on the ludicrous accusation that the GOP is at war with women. Mrs. Romney is an impressive speaker and would blunt the Democratic Party’s gender demagoguery.
2) Make a Stronger Play for the Youth Vote- President Obama is going to win a majority of young voters, the question is by what margin. While Mitt is not hip, young people are hurting and the Republican nominee for president needs to link the cold economic realities that await college graduates with the current administration. A majority of college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. The cost of college has jumped significantly under the professor-in-chief (go figure).
Even those sophomores and juniors still within the cocoon of university quads have friends who are out of college and are struggling with landing a job that doesn’t involve waiting tables.
Those who settled for low-paying jobs in fields unrelated to their studies are morosely counting down the days left in their post-graduation student loan grace period. Targeted advertising via inexpensive college-oriented media can go a long way without Romney having to set foot on a college campus.
Get Cao- Though he was a one-term congressman who voted with Democrats more frequently than his fellow Republicans, Joseph Cao could be of great help to Romney beyond just adding some diversity to his surrogate speaker rotation.
While conservatives decried his voting record, Cao provided a major service to the opposition by taking the president up on his professed desire for bipartisanship on the federal level and learned how empty his words were.
Though described as his favorite Republican, the president worked against Cao’s re-election. Romney has scored well with independents who are impressed with his record of reaching across the aisle while governor of Massachusetts and Cao’s presence on the stump would put a spotlight on Obama’s hyperpartisan track record as president.
Cao would be most effective in Wisconsin, where voters burned out from the recall campaign would welcome hearing about consensus politics, and in Minnesota and Nevada, which have significant Asian populations that might be inclined to hear out the Vietnam War refugee who later became a US Representative.
A recent poll that had the president leading Romney by only three points is an indication that some investment in the Land of 10,000 Lakes is warranted.
The pricetag of implementing these three suggestions would be minimal and the payoff huge, especially if the 2012 election goes down to the wire like the 2000 and 2004 contests did.