These are the dog days of political campaigns. With less than 50 days before the election, a large part of the electorate has already decided who they will likely vote for in the presidential contests.
Presidential polls consistently show no more than 10% of the electorate is undecided in the presidential election between Obama and Romney. Of the utmost importance for the next three to four weeks are persuasion and a final push to identify supporters. Then comes the all-important Get Out The Vote (GOTV) machines and turning people to the polls as early voting opens in states across the country.
Frankly, with the election as close at it is, and no debates having yet taken place, it is surprising that people are writing off Romney as a guaranteed loser. True, Romney faces an uphill battle, but that doesn’t change the fact he has positioned himself reasonably well to win this contest.
Many thought the Mother Jones video would be the death knell of the Romney campaign. Reporters were quick to point out that the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax come from large swaths of Republican states and voters.
The comments are even trickling down to key Senate contests as evidenced by the topic arising in the Kaine-Allen debate in Virginia, which might prove tricky in those contests as well. Furthermore, presidential polling is showing Romney trails Obama in key swing states including Florida and Ohio. Conservatives are showing some eagerness to distance themselves from the Romney campaign on the back of these comments and numbers. The stars appear to be lining against a Romney administration.
However, Romney’s campaign need not fret entirely about the how the contest is shaping up. First, Romney’s campaign is still running like a machine, and much of the discontent we are seeing are from those not closely associated with his campaign. Unlike McCain’s campaign in 2008, internal strife is not the source of discord. That organizational integrity is key concerning what the campaign must do to win.
Second, the Mother Jones video proves the power of decentralized media these days. This means plenty of opportunities remain to catch Obama saying something that could be similarly used against him. Remember, Mother Jones is a left-leaning media source, and plenty of right-leaning sources are chomping at the bit to catch Obama in the act. Some media is already surfacing trying to accomplish just that, but admittedly falling short.
More likely, clips from the debates that have yet to take place will find some serious traction. In our YouTube age, if Romney is sufficiently aggressive, he can push Obama to make some questionable statements that should have a long shelf life.
Third, what Romney’s going through just isn’t that bad to begin with. Democrats are going to surely distort his comments, and overly sensitive conservatives will have their share of concern, too. Romney’s analysis of what he’s facing as a candidate is entirely correct, though. 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, and close to 47% — 48% of the electorate right now do fully intend to vote for President Obama according to presidential polls. Blunt? Yes. Incorrect? No.
Moreover, the major issues of this campaign still remain. Jobless figures are ridiculously high, and more people have stopped looking for work because of either sheer frustration at not finding employment or being on the government dole. The federal debt is unsustainable, and Obama lacks any clear plan on how to handle it. Romney’s tax returns show he’s paid $4 million to charity, but claimed only $2.5 million, dampening the effect of criticism about his aloofness towards American economic problems. Obama’s narrative about the murders in Libya is seemingly falling apart. Romney made have had a bad week, but he’s far from losing this campaign.
True, the battle is uphill and difficult. However, plenty of time remains. Romney has a lot of work to do, but that’s what makes a presidential contest what it is for the challenger. The leftists will continue to make much ado about nothing. It’s about all they can do to protect their failed messiah from his record of the last four years.