Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Romney losing ground to Obama without support from Paul Nation

This analysis is consistent with my own. The combination of widening class divisions and demographic and cultural change means the Repugs are screwed.

By Kevin Kerwick

National Republicans may have some serious thinking to do. Their presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney looks to be in serious trouble on multiple fronts today.

Governor Romney has lost ground to President Obama and is now trailing in all of the national polls with the exception of the Rasmussen Reports poll which has been the poll most favorable to Governor Romney. Governor Romney is now tied with President Obama in the latest Rasmussen poll, which is asteep decline in that poll for Governor Romney relative to President Obama since early June.

In battleground states, Governor Romney is seeing similar declines. According to the poll numbers at Real Clear Politics, Governor Romney is behind in Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Obama groups are running hard-hitting television advertisements against Governor Romney in several battleground states that appear to be having an impact. The ads are portraying Governor Romney as a vulture capitalist whose business practices created a net job loss instead of a jobs gain, which is a narrative that is challenging the cornerstone of the Romney campaign strategy. If the Romney job creating narrative is tarnished, he may not be able to find another narrative on which to run.

President Obama won a huge victory with the Supreme Court decision that validated Obamacare, his only signature achievement. Under other circumstances, the Supreme Court decision might be seen as a rallying cry for the limited government opposition. However, it is unlikely that Governor Romney will be able to mount a serious counter-offensive to galvanize the anti-Obamacare forces because his own plan in Massachusetts was the prototype for Obamacare. Governor Romney, the conservative Heritage Foundation, and Republican luminaries like Newt Gingrich were all philosophically predisposed to favor the individual mandate provision which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. Thus, they do not have a lot of credibility on that issue.

Governor Romney’s remaining GOP opponent, CongressmanRon Paul, on the other hand, has been a consistent opponent of the individual mandate, and of government healthcare in principle. Therefore, Governor Romney cannot create the type of contrast with President Obama on Obamacare that Congressman Paul can.

To make matters worse for Governor Romney, he has tepid support from Teavangelicals who do not trust that he will support their core concerns because he has taken positions in the past that do not endear him to Evangelical voters. If Teavangelicals do not organize and march to the polls, Governor Romney can not win in November.

However, the biggest challenge that Governor Romney appears to have is that he is being portrayed as a wealthy, white, straight-laced businessman at a time when the country seems to be reaching for something different. He is not very cool and not very middle class. There is nothing Governor Romney can do about that. If the attitude of the country remains as it appears to be today, it will be difficult for Governor Romney to overcome the perception that he is an out of touch, rich, white guy who knows how to leverage assets, but may not appreciate the challenges faced by middle class families. This challenge may haunt the GOP for years to come if it cannot develop a more modern brand.

Congressman Paul was able to generate the kind of excitement that Governor Romney lacks. His libertarian brand has broad-based appeal for modern consumption. Congressman Paul carved out a youthful and independent common sense niche that Governor Romney has not been able to attract so far. Many of those voters appear to be leaning toward President Obama in the battleground states.

Unfortunately, rather than trying to work with the Ron Paul energy, the GOP alienated many of the the Paul supporters during the primary season, which has created a rift that may be too deep to be repaired. Congressman Paul’s voters are left wondering what could have been possible if the GOP had not decided on Governor Romney prematurely.

The election is far from over, but signs are not good for Governor Romney today.


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