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Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

Why Rick Santorum won’t stop

April 13th, 2012

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This piece was originally posted on Politico.

“Irrelevant.” With one word, Sen. John McCain dismissed Rick Santorum’s role in the Republican presidential race.

Santorum’s response? “I’ve endured about eight months of people saying that,” he told The New York Times. “I’ve never been the party establishment’s candidate, and that holds true today and that’s nothing new.”

So why is he still running?

Santorum is a movement candidate. A movement is something people believe in and belong to. A campaign is something people support. Santorum claims to be carrying the flag for the conservative movement. “As conservatives and tea party folks, we are not just wings of the Republican Party,” he told the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. “We are the Republican Party.”

Are they? The Republican Party nominated McCain for president in 2008. He had run against the conservative movement in 2000 and was distrusted by the right. The Republican Party is about to nominate Mitt Romney for president in 2012. Romney is, first and foremost, a businessman. Definitely not a movement politician.

Movement conservatives like Santorum consider Romney an imposter. He signed a health care mandate into law in Massachusetts, for goodness sake. Nonetheless, conservatives have begun to coalesce behind Romney. Why? Because he looks like the only candidate who can defeat President Barack Obama. Read the rest of this entry »

The Fear Factor? Upending the conventional wisdom on Independent Voters

March 26th, 2012

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Why do many continue to be afraid to call an Independent an Independent? In a recent article, Jamelle Bouie argued that a paper we authored at Third Way showing that Independents are in fact Independent is incorrect. Mr. Bouie argues that Independents are a myth and neither party should try to appeal to them. While his comments are appreciated, he misses the boat on the data. His main critique is that we cherry-picked the election years used in our recent Leaners Don’t Fall report to ensure they represented the most conservative period in American history. Sadly, we didn’t pick the election years. We would prefer if the well-respected American National Election Studies had continued the panel study and had data at least through 2008. But they only conducted this survey for 3 elections—2000, 2002, and 2004. But even these three years are very illuminating. Independents, we found, were far more likely to switch allegiance than either Democrats or Republicans. By 2004, 38% of Democratic-leaning Independents—Independents who said they leaned towards the Democratic party in the 2000 election—voted Republican; less than one-quarter of even self-identified “weak” Democrats pulled the lever for the other side.

In addition, 2004 was not as conservative of a year as some like to think. The electorate was split 37%-37% between Democrats and Republicans, with 26% Independents. Seems like an even fight to us. Mr. Bouie suggests the wave Democratic elections of 2006 and 2008 would have given us different results. But that likely would have shown that Independents are capable of swinging back—not that they don’t swing at all. And 2010 would show that they swung yet again. In 2008, Independents voted for Democrats in the House ballot by 8 points. In 2010, Republicans won Independents by 19. That’s a 27 point shift in 2 years!  Clearly Independents are not a stable voting bloc. They actually swing—our point precisely. Let’s not pretend that Independents are phantoms. Believing they don’t exist may send them running to the other side.

Is Mitt Romney’s manager cred losing its value?

February 14th, 2012

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This piece originally appeared in Politico.

Mitt Romney could end up being the most hapless presidential nominee since Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Romney aims to lead a party whose base is in revolt — against him. Just like liberals were in revolt against Humphrey in 1968.

Antiwar liberals rioted in the streets of Chicago at the 1968 Democratic convention. It’s hard to imagine conservatives rioting in the streets of Tampa at this year’s Republican convention. Street riots are not their style. But Tea Party activists are pretty good at making their feelings known. And their feelings about Romney are not enthusiastic.

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2012 is not 1976

February 3rd, 2012

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This piece originally appeared in Politico.

Newt Gingrich thinks he’s Ronald Reagan and 2012 is 1976.

In 1976, Reagan ran a tough, scrappy primary campaign. It was a conservative insurgency against President Ford, the titular, but unelected, leader of the Republican Party. Reagan never gave up, even after he lost Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Illinois. South Carolina did not have a Republican primary in 1976. Reagan came back to life by winning North Carolina in late March. He then started winning the late Southern and Western primaries. It was not enough to defeat Ford, but Reagan went all the way to the Republican convention.

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Mr. President, an idea on immigration

January 24th, 2012

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This piece currently appears on CNN.

Count on it. President Obama will devote three sentences to immigration reform in the State of the Union.

Two dozen lawmakers will jump to their feet and applaud. One-third of the audience will give an obligatory clap. The rest will sit silently, stifling a yawn.

Five years ago, comprehensive immigration reform legislation seemed possible and deeply bipartisan. Now it seems as unlikely and distant as President Bush’s mission to Mars. And as for bipartisan? In the last go around, a Republican president led the charge. Today, no serious GOP presidential aspirant has the guts to support reform—evidenced again last night as both front-runners promised in the Florida debate to veto even the initially-Republican authored DREAM Act, and Romney grasped for straws by suggesting “self-deportation.”

Can immigration reform be saved?

To read the rest of the piece, click here.

Examining Newt’s Victory in South Carolina

January 23rd, 2012

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The early exit poll results reveal two crucial factors behind Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina:

                (1) The Base

Gingrich consolidated the far-right base of the Republican Party. In South Carolina, 36% of Republican voters described their views as “very conservative.” Their support for Gingrich (47%) was greater than their support for Santorum (24%) and Romney (19%) combined.

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