NEWS BLOG (WSAU) There are two theories about how to win a presidential election.
The first is to win the moderates in the middle of the political spectrum. The left, generally speaking, will vote for the Democrat. The right, by-and-large, will vote for the Republican. It’s the people who don’t identify with either party in the middle that can swing the election one way or the other.
The second strategy is to rally your base – build the entire campaign around them – and hope that more of your supporters turn out than the other guy’s.
(As an aside, talk radio stations have been trying the latter strategy for some time. A station that carries Rush, Sean, and Savage knows that very few liberals will be listening. But by capturing almost all of the conservatives who are available, a radio station can still achieve a very large audience.)
The 2012 presidential campaign will also be fought with the second strategy. Almost a year ago the Obama strategy let leak that it had written off most white middle-class voters. They would focus on ethnic minorities, urban voters, college students and the rest of the youth vote, and newly registered voters. Many of these categories – particularly minorities – are growing. But many of these groups don’t vote with great regularity. Getting them motive to actually show up at the polls is a challenge.
The Romney campaign, with their selection of Paul Ryan as running-mate, will fight on the same ground. Ryan is not a moderate choice – we’ll win over few people in the ‘middle’. He will absolutely energize the political right. They will go to the polls with greater enthusiasm than ever. The best-mind of fiscal conservatism is on the ballot. Voting for Romney-Ryan now means Ryan-as-president-someday is imaginable. He’d be the most conservative president since Reagan if that plays out.
So now that strategy is known, who’s likely to win? It’s hard to say 80-days out. There are many twists and turns still to come in this campaign. My view is that the right is more energized, and has the advantage.