The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 51
Published 5/15/13 | Log In
Democrats win battleground states by appealing to voters
By DR. BRADEN, Guest Writer
Published: November 14, 2012
I’m not a political scientist, I just play one on television. Actually, I am a geography professor who serves in our political science department, and I have been contemplating what happened in the 2012 presidential election.
Pundits on the left and right are making lists of factors, but I think when the dust settles, it may come down to a traditional concept that doesn’t make for as good cable news coverage: who had the more competent management team.
Gov. Romney drew political professionals from the Republican National Committee, but you have to ask what they were thinking. Tim Pawlenty pulled out in September as campaign manager, leaving it in the hands of Matt Rhoads, Rich Beeson (political director) and people like Eric Fehrnstrom of the famous “etch-a-sketch” comment to the television media. The choice not to show a Romney biofilm during prime time at the convention, and put Clint Eastwood on stage instead, were symbolic of a team that did a poor job of managing their guy’s image.
But it was the failure to get the ground game going that amazed me. This is “contact ‘em, drive ‘em to the polls, go door-to-door, answer email inquiry” kind of stuff, and all reports indicate that in the battleground states, it was not organized well for the Republicans. States like Florida, Ohio and Virginia were tantalizingly close for the Romney-Ryan team, but they blew it.
Compare that to the ground game for the Obama team, led by Jim Messina. Old-fashioned political organization won this election for the Democrats. The campaign did not miss a trick on turning out its base, analyzing the demographics, geography, economics and social structure of the voters at the local level: one state, one district, one precinct, one neighborhood and one house at a time.
And by the way, check out the background of Messina. He graduated from high school in that hotbed of liberalism, Boise, Idaho, has a BA in political science from the University of Montana and cut his teeth organizing elections for politicians like Max Baucus.
So, SPU students, whether you are a disappointed Republican or a triumphant Democrat this week, keep up your passion for politics. Take a POL class for fun. You might learn something, and remember that there is a reason it is called political science.