Maryland governor Martin O’Malley told BuzzFeed that Democrats will win in 2012 by energizing their base, not by trying to persuade elusive swing voters.
O’Malley, a top Obama ally who chairs the the Democratic Governors Association and is often named as a possible presidential contender in 2016, discounted the idea that whoever wins the presidential election will be the candidate who focuses most closely on independent voters. And he suggested that the Democratic National Convention marked a decision to run a campaign centered on core Democratic voters — traditionally, younger, more liberal, African-American and Hispanic.
“Sometimes in campaigns you can drive yourself crazy with the micro-targeting and the pollsters and the tea leaves and the pixie dust trying to twist yourself into triple back-flips to appeal to the three percent that are the undecideds that live in suburbs and have lawns that are less than 20 feet long and all that bullshit,” O’Malley said in an interview at BuzzFeed’s Manhattan office Thursday. “Just tell the base why you’re doing what you’re doing and why you’re better than the other guy.”
O’Malley made the case that undecided voters are simply too diverse to be effectively targeted by a candidate or campaign.
“I believe that if the base — as large as it is now — understands the progress that we’ve been making and can articulate the better choices that we are making compared to what Romney would do, then they’ll go out and find us the additional four or five points we need to win this race,” O’Malley said. “And I think that’s the dynamic that’s happening here.”
The debate over running toward the base or toward independents is a long one in American politics, and was most pronounced in Republican Party circles during the administration of George W. Bush. Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, argued for a strategy of energizing the base rather than, as Bush’s father had done, taking conservative votes for granted and reaching for the center; the younger Bush won both of his national elections.
O’Malley rejected the comparison to Rove, but counseled what is in some ways a similar approach.
“But I do think that after scratching our heads and trying to find the magic argument for the three percent that are undecided, we’ve come off of a very good convention where we spoke to an enthusiastic base,” he said.
While the Republican National Convention last month downplayed conservative policy and personalities in favor of a broad, centrist appeal, the Democrats’ convention — in which O’Malley played a prominent role — focused on appealing to liberals. Speakers on the convention stage, including some those scheduled during prime time broadcast television hours, didn’t shy away from hot-button topics like birth control and gay marriage.
Much of the convention seemed designed to appeal to women, a constituency among whom the Democrats find more support than the Republicans. But O’Malley conceded that there aren’t many women in the upper ranks of Democratic governance: only two female governors in the country are Democrats, and neither of them plan to seek re-election.
“They actually do have a more diverse group of governors than we do,” he acknowledged, calling the Republican governors’ greater ethnic and gender diversity a “demographic anomaly.”
“That’s a bit of an anomaly, especially when you consider part of their playbook is to roll back women’s rights, roll back voting rights, roll back worker’s rights,” he said, adding a cheer for the strongest female Democratic candidate for governor this cycle, in New Hampshire: “Come on Maggie Hassan!”
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- fredomcfly thinks Top Democrat: 2012 Election Will Be W... is Win
Look, I am sorry to say this.. but if Romney wins in November, and makes a mess of the country like Bush by tanking the economy again to make the wealthy MORE wealthy.. and then Americans who voted for Romney try to leave to other countries….. I’d love it if those countries of choice, had a system in place to know how these people fleeing to their country from the U.S.A, voted! lol Cause if you motherfuckers voted Republican, and you’re trying to enter our country.. you can take your dumb and hateful asses back to America and live out the American Dream that YOU voted to the highest office in the land. We do NOT feel sorry for you!! OWN YOUR VOTE and stay in your Country! Don’t come to Canada (remember its a socialist country that you Republicans wanted to flee to when Obamacare was upheld lol haha omg, so dumb!), don’t come to Australia, don’t come to NZ and don’t come to the U.K! Trust me, we do NOT want your batshit ‘Michele Bachmann, Glen Beck, Allen West’ crazy selves.. entering our borders. NO THANK YOU!!
- SteelRenegade Top Democrat: 2012 Election Will Be W... and thinks it’s Win
I cannot WAIT to visit Buzzfeed the day after the election, regardless of who wins. If Obama wins, I get to rub it in the faces of all of the delusional Republicans who were so sure Romney would win, and essentially ruin their day (of course, they’ll probably be drinking away the pain of another four years of “the black man” in office). If Romney wins, I get four years to bitch, moan, yell, and annoy the shit out of all Republicans about what an awful job Romney is doing, just to return the favor of all of their whining about how Obama’s doing. Not a win-win and not even really a consolation prize, but hey. No matter what, I get to piss off conservatives.
Well we should expect less of the base to turn out this time around. People are tired. There isn’t the excitement of last time. You’ve got some people disillusioned with him, rightly or wrongly. You’ve got others who were only temporarily on board for the historic aspect last time or the Bush backlash and are either ready to try something else or sit this one out. And then you’ve got people who just don’t care anymore. Meanwhile on the Republican side you’ve got people who hate Obama even more than last time and have even more reason to turn out. But they’ve got a candidate they never wanted. But I think they’d vote for a fencepost to get rid of Obama if they had to. So that brings us back to the independents if you ask me. They’d better go after them too, pixie dust bullshit or not. The poll lead is going to fade the further we get away from the convention unless Romney keeps eating his foot.
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