Voters, the Economy, and the 2012 Election
Predictions for the outcome of the election in November are starting to sprout up all over. It’s still a bit early to make any truly accurate ones, so this is what you call the “what if” and “wishful thinking” phase of pundit prognosticating. Given the state of the economy, it is no wonder that there are already those that are predicting a GOP landslide, like Michael Patrick Leahy suggests.
I like Leahy, and agree whole-heartedly that the Tea Party activists are the most likely group to push voter registration efforts over the top for the GOP. One little glimmer of light in this is the fact that the RNC appears to have finally recognized the need to focus efforts on social media. Hopefully it’s not a matter of “too little, too late”, and that the RNC also looks to officially leverage the pre-existing conservative social networks on Twitter. But, that is another matter entirely.
Back to Leahy, I’m not quite as sure about his contentions about how the election will go. The primary problem is recognizing the mentality of the voters on election day. If this election is driven by fear, the GOP will have a rough time of it. Voters that cast ballots based on fear of the future do not follow anything resembling logic. When times are tough, they often swing toward incumbents, even though conventional wisdom screams otherwise. The best concept to compare this to is “Stockholm Syndrome.” Ironically enough, Democrats may blame John Kerry’s loss in 2004 on this mentality. Bush was familiar, and even though he may have been the cause of the ills in this nation in the minds of liberals, the moderates still voted for him, if for no other reason, out of fear of change. Well, at least that’s how a few left-wing pundits would probably put it.
So, fear driving the vote would not be a good thing. Anger, on the other hand, would be much better. If one spends even a few minutes watching posts with any of the various conservative hashtags on Twitter, it’s obvious that the “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” attitude is alive and well. But, in order to turn that anger into results at the polls in November, the RNC needs to do much more than just play with Facebook. Enter the Tea Party, that isn’t dead, and is already on the ground as a regionally organized grassroots movement. If Obama gets a second term, it will be because the RNC doesn’t suck it up, and ask for the help of the Tea Party to get out the vote. That’s my little early prediction. The Tea Party is literally gifted at getting voters frothing at the mouth, and they have the ability to go out in the communities to get voters registered and to the polls. This isn’t rocket science. But, it will take quite a few swallows of pride. Now to see if the RNC is willing to do that.