Reasons for optimism in Romney vs. Obama

| April 20 2012
Christopher Cook

We now know—as if we couldn’t have guessed—that pessimism is bad for your heart, and optimism is good. So let’s look at some reasons for optimism in the upcoming elections. Or at very least, let’s look at some thoughts of some people who are optimistic.

 

Probably my favorite of the day is Michael Patrick Leahy, who sees a coming conservative landslide

Conservatives across the nation should be of good cheer, however. The United States remains a center-right nation. This November, voters will choose common sense over fiscally reckless extremism in what will be a landslide conservative victory. Republicans will retain the House, gain the Senate and win back the presidency with a 2-to-1 Electoral College margin.

The most recent Rasmussen poll shows Mitt Romney ahead of President Obama, 48% to 44%. Obama’s support has softened significantly since 2008, and opposition continues to grow on all sides. In that election, Obama defeated John McCain by a 53% to 46% margin in the popular vote. Since then, as the Rasmussen poll demonstrates, Obama has lost the support of 9% of the voting population. Much of that loss is permanent. Defectors include disappointed voters under 30 who supported him by a 2-to-1 margin in 2008 but can’t find a job in today’s lackluster economy, disaffected Catholics turned off by his high-handed tactics and virtually every small business person in the country, to say nothing of disillusioned Democrats opposed to his individual healthcare mandate.

But the polls are missing one key ingredient: the intensity of feeling and the level of determination among the 28% of American adults (66 million people) who consider themselves part of the tea party or are supportive of it. To these people, 2012 is not “just another election.” It is the defining political battle of our lifetime.

Leahy believes that the tea party movement, in the form of small, local, active groups around the country, provide electoral troops for a massive Obama defeat. There may be some truth to what he says. The Democrats have union shock troops and other activists, plus the Democratic Party apparatus, in every election going back for decades. The Republicans have only had the Republican Party apparatus. And yet the Republicans have won more presidencies in the last four decades than the Democrats have. 2010 was the first election where this new breed of conservative activists was on the ground and operational, and it was a blowout.

As long as tea partiers can get over their dislike of Romney, this election could easily be a blowout too.

 

Next, there’s Tina Korbe, discussing the GOP’s problem with women:

As Kirsten Powers reported in her column this week, unmarried women — who briefly flirted with the GOP in 2010 — are again attracted to the Democratic Party. So far, Romney’s strategy in the women wars — with a couple exceptions — has been to appropriate liberal language and positions for himself. But as Heather MacDonald writes, if core truths — especially of the economic variety — don’t win women’s votes, they’re not worth it. I’d add to MacDonald’s observation that core truths of the cultural variety can yet touch women, as well. Some women evidently identify a support for abortion with concern for women (why else have the Dems won women since Roe v. Wade?) — but younger generations are increasingly pro-life and that’s true of younger women, too. Romney doesn’t need to worry about losing women who’ve always voted Democrat; he should be cheering at the chance to win over relatively new female voters whose loyalties haven’t solidified yet.

This isn’t sop much an optimistic prediction as it is a prescription. Korbe is right. As self-absorbed and jaded as many in the younger generation are—with no sense of perspective or any idea of why we have it so good in the West, and how we got here—there are also really positive shifts taking place in a large cohort of this generation. The fact that they are more pro-life than their parents is a positive sign (and an indication that contrary to the pessimism of some of us, everything is not always in a constant, never-ending decline). There are huge swaths of highly energized evangelical and Catholic young adults. Rather than trying to curry favor with women who will vote Democrat no matter what, Korbe is suggesting that Romney look towards new voters. She’s got a solid point.

 

Finally, here’s Dick Morris (whom Korbe was citing), suggesting that the gender gap is nothing new, and that Romney is at least no worse off in this regard than Republicans of the past, and that Obama is just as bad off among men as Democrats tend to be:

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