A Message to the DNC and Liberal SuperPACs

Mitt Romney's self-destruction is priceless.

I have a message to the DNC and liberal SuperPACS like Priorities USA.  This is part-prediction, part-business strategy.  And though I recommend a wait-and-see approach to this idea, I think it’s something they should be paying attention to now:

Come late September, the Democrats should consider shifting the bulk of their media expenditures from the presidential election to the congressional elections.

Because Mitt Romney is running out of time to win, and he has played almost all of his cards.

It’s a long election season.  And things could change.  But I’m approaching this from a purely strategic perspective, and it looks really ugly for Mitt Romney right now.

Let me explain:  I know a lot of people see the polls and think that the election is neck-and-neck.

It’s not.  It’s neck-and-neck nationally, but that is not how we elect presidents.  We elect them via the Electoral College, and on a state-by-state basis in a math problem where the answer is 270. 

And by that measure—looking at the practically frozen polling in battleground states and tallying their electoral votes—Obama is looking more and more like a sure thing for re-election. 

It's simply becoming a matter of execution.

Strategically speaking, it’s just hard to knock off an incumbent.  You need to present something special to voters so they come out to vote for you, and Romney’s message/personality/strategic approach to this election is pretty solidly under the umbrella of “I’m not Obama.”

He can’t run on his signature achievement as governor, because it is the model for the signature achievement of his rival.  Running on his time at Bain Capital is proving to be a bad move.  He has no legitimate foreign policy experience.  Every time he opens his mouth (re: his taxes, flip-flopping, "firing people", "corporations are people"), he seems to dig a hole he has to explain his way out of in the debates later.  And he isn’t exactly firing people up with his personality and ability to connect with voters (sometimes, even his own party's). 

Picking Paul Ryan as his VP will fire up the Libertarian/Tea Party arm of his party; but that’s not really a viable strategy for winning, if you ask me.  Those people were already fired up, because many of them have illogically convinced themselves that Obama is a Communist Anti-Christ whose father was Keyser Soze, and were probably going to vote for Romney anyway.

As more level-headed, objective Independents, Moderates, and Undecideds begin to look at Ryan, they'll see something different.  They’ll see his radical plan to end Medicare (as we know it) in favor of a more privatized exchange system.  That actually distances the GOP ticket from a core voting block, allowing Obama to close the gap with seniors.

Undecideds will see his plan to slash spending on other entitlements for food stamps, Pell Grants and Medicaid, and they’ll bristle.

They’ll see that Ryan, like Romney, wants to extend tax cuts for the rich (and Romney’s plan has been examined by an independent organization and shown to potentially raise taxes on the middle class).  Those are things that are not polling in their favor.

They’ll see Ryan supports (and co-sponsored) Personhood bills which essentially outlaw abortion after fertilization; and he wants to drastically cut funds to family planning.

Finally, someone is going to make a talking point out of Paul Ryan’s voting record; and people will find out he’s equally as conservative as Michele Bachmann, and the most partisan member of Congress to be a Vice Presidential pick since 1900—liberal or conservative.

And, strategically speaking, that’s not how you get moderates to vote for you when you have a lot of ground to make up on an incumbent.

I know that some Republicans think these are good ideas.  But they are going to have to accept that this is an unpopular perspective across the country, especially with groups who (understand and) benefit from those programs.  And those people vote.  And people who actually sympathize with those people, loathsome as Republicans may find that, still vote.  The Tea Party ideals are just not popular

The number of votes gained by placating the Tea Party faction is not larger than the numbers lost in terms of disaffected GOPers and Independents combined.  And it's certainly not big enough to surge ahead to win.

So here’s where my advice comes in to the DNC and the SuperPACs:  Let this play out naturally.  You don’t need to spend much money on attack ads-- by that point, all the relevant messages will be out through the conventions, the media and the debates.

The Republicans are proud of their unpopular messages, and they are going to outspend you anyway.  Just remind Obama voters in your key demographics to come out and vote (and bring their appropriate ID, if necessary) November 6th.  You’ve got an incumbent President, and an opponent with the huge task of distinguishing himself while uniting a fractious party.  Let the opponent wage the uphill battle.

Instead, use that money wisely and spend it educating voters and winning elections at the state level.  If Obama gets re-elected, and has a GOP-led House and Senate, we’re a lame-duck country for at least two more years.  You have to defend 23 seats in the Senate, and pick up 25 in the House.  In order to do that, you need a massive repudiation of Republican policy, and that is a huge financial undertaking.  You can spread your message and ideology out through these state campaigns, rather than using dollars on something that will probably go in your favor naturally.  If people come out to the polls because they're fired up about Sherrod Brown defeating Josh Mandel, they will naturally vote for the President anyway.

In short, paint the entire GOP ideology as radical, not just Mitt Romney.  Romney will dig his own hole.  Your plan needs to be bigger than just winning the White House.

And if you’re going to even pretend to be liberal, you must be forward-thinking enough to see that.

You can now follow/yell at Patrick on twitter @PatrickInPublic

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John McMillan August 21, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I used the link you provided to the polls, and Obama has the lead in every one of those swing states you mention, so your "facts" are now incorrect. Which pretty much invalidates all your other predictions for the future. Thanks anyway.
Joe Giles August 21, 2012 at 03:17 AM
You are looking at the two averages which RCP post up top. For RECENT POLLS scroll down and you will confirm Mr Andrews numbers.
jeppo August 21, 2012 at 03:41 AM
In 1980, at this point, Reagan was down by 9 points to Carter, according to the old media. The American people voted, and delivered and ass-kicking of epic proportions. The landslide of 2010 was foreshadowing of what is to come. In a dark corner, Dan Rather quietly weeps.
John McMillan August 21, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Ohio - Obama Florida - Obama Iowa - Obama Virginia - Obama Colorado - Obama Am I not reading these poll results correctly? This is taken from his link, and your scrolling directions. And, incidentally, Mr. Andrews didn't really post any specific NUMBERS, just his assertion that state polls take longer. I dunno if that's really the case.
Joe Giles August 21, 2012 at 04:02 AM
When you click thru at RCP ( a neat site by the way) I see the Latest National Polls Gallup Romney +2 Rasmussen Romney +1 States are all over the place.
James Thomas August 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Oh Patrick, "if they're allowed to be cast" Please tell me you aren't stuck on 2000.
Patrick Giusto August 21, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Excellent. We're on topic. Thanks. I agree with a lot of what you've said. I think you should consider looking at http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/. The reason I'm suggesting this is because it takes the same polling data RCP is looking at, but it uses an algorithm that weights each poll company according to its credibility in past elections. It adjusts for known biases and things like that. And in 2008, this model correctly predicted the outcome in every state except Indiana (and Omaha, Nebraska, which carries its own electoral vote). On 538, and at the time I wrote this (last week), Romney was behind in OH, FL, IA, VA, and CO. Currently, he is still behind in all of them, but FL has shifted to "lean Romney" whereas the others are still leaning Obama. Two things are important: 1) the polls have changed very little since Romney became the de facto nominee. With the exception of FL (which was red, then blue, now back) none of the states on 538, CNN or RCP have changed much. This is bad for Romney because: 2) Romney automatically is playing from behind. His path to victory is much longer than Obama's. Colorado is a key state for Obama. Once he gets that, all he really needs is (one of) Ohio, PA, or FL. SO, I disagree that, in any scenario, Romney would ever have a "comfortable" victory. I also disagree that undecideds will support Romney, as the blog illustrates. But I do think you're right that PA is important for both.
Brian Andrews August 21, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Mr. McMillan, RCP reports this morning that in the battleground states of OH, VA, FL & IA Obama’s average lead is 1%. Restated the race is tied in these states. That said, if you view the recent polls used to derive the averages in these states you’ll notice the polls are trending toward Romney. Added in the reported higher enthusiasm among Republicans, historical tendency for undecided voters to break predominately for the challenger, the steady drumbeat of bad economic news the president is in a highly vulnerable position.
Dan LaVigne August 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Someone wrote that Obama is the worst President in history, I guess no one is old enough to remember Richard Nixon and his team of thiefs and hard core criminals.
Tim Torrence August 21, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Two things people must remember when looking at election polls. The first is the difference between registered voters and likely voters. If this this cycle continues on its negative course the number of likely voters drops and the base becomes all that more important because the Republican base is fired up as witnessed by the Tea Party elections of '10 and the chicken fiasco we just went through. Second is the margin of error, a one point edge with a 4.5 point margin of error is a toss up. Finally, when Obama won the presidential election in '08 I declared him an instant two term president. There are two reasons for this also. First, President Obama has never really had to be a legislator and was never part of the executive branch and has found that is is far more difficult when you alone are responsible for policy and decision making. But one thing he is good at is campaigning and he has been doing that since the moment he was sworn into office. Second, and this is the important part and also the part where you call me a racist. Obama mobilized the African-American vote like no one else has in decades. In '08 young African-Americans went to the polls like never before. To count this mobilization out along with the lower class vote. Both groups will blindly fall in line behind Obama out of shear fear of the rich that has been his theme. Finally the union vote will come out in force after the shellacking in Wisc. and in '10. No Obama has this locked up.
Dan Marol August 21, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Joe just likes to ramble on with himself. It's ok to ignore him.
Patrick Giusto August 21, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Tim, thanks for the insight. You and Brian (although coming from opposing perspectives on the outcome) have shared intelligent and insightful discussion on this. As someone who has literally written a political blog or two a month for almost a year now, I am pleasantly surprised at how on-track this discussion is getting. Normally, my blogs seem to be the place where people enjoy finding new and hyperbolic ways to show off their lack of knowledge about socialism, and creative uses for the word "libtard." I want to make something a little clearer: I never said this was over. It's not as if Obama is blowing out Romney in places like Pennsylvania or Ohio. The polls are close, many times within the margin of error; but what I suppose I need to make more clear is that, watching these polls over time, Romney is not making up ground. The polls-- and if you look at the aggregate graph on the sidebar of fivethirtyeight, it shows this-- haven't really moved. This is why I said the DNC should do a wait-and-see approach through late September. At that point, all the bounces will be more-or-less over, barring some sort of catastrophe. I think everyone will pretty much have made up their own mind by then, if they haven't already. And with a much tougher path to win, that lack of time and movement cripples Romney's chances.
J.T. August 22, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Patrick I am new to Patch and I have never read you before. I think this article is very insightful. ..and this is coming from one who believes the Republican leadership is ruining this country but the Demacrat leadership is ruining it faster. With that said, I think your advice to the DNC regarding this race is right on. I know it's a long shot but I still hope Mr. Obama does not win. Again, insightful article. JT
Patrick Giusto August 23, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Thanks, JT. I appreciate the compliment. If you click on my name at the top of the blog, you'll find my other blog posts-- not all of which are so contentious. MOST of them are, but I try to mix it up a bit. I would be interested to know what it is about the Democratic leadership that you think is ruining our country faster. I've gone on the record as saying I'm not a Democrat (nobody believes that, but they aren't in the voting booth with me), but I certainly see more logic in their proposals than the GOP, of late. But I'm always interested in a good discussion. Thanks again.
J.T. August 23, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Thanks for replying. I think it's really difficult to discuss moral issues with someone whos' starting block is on another track as mine. When there is no common ground foundationally the conversation tends to be unproductive...it just goes in circles. I don't know if we have moral common ground or not. So, with that said, aside from 'moral' or social issues, I think State rights are important. For instance, I don't see how the Federal Government has any right to get involved with education. Both political parties are guilty of violating that right both at the state and federal level. Knowing my views on state rights, someone I respect recently asked me if I lived as a southerner just before the American Civil War, and I was dead-set against slavery, what would I have done. That question really blew me away. Here I am, a guy who believes strongly in state rights but who despises slavery! After thinking about it for a while, I decided I hope I would do the morally right thing. Do you think some southerners were faced with that dilemma? I know I did not answer your question why one party is ruining this country faster than the other. Civil freedom is #1. I just feel that both partys are chipping away at civil freedom...for the sake of 'safety', 'health', 'environment', tolerance, etc. I know that these things are important but don't we go overboard a little?
Patrick Giusto August 23, 2012 at 03:25 AM
I can't speak to moral comparisons between us, but I've never been of the belief that people who had different political views from me were somehow more or less moral than I. In fact, I've always found it bizarrely arbitrary that people identify the GOP as the party of religion and morality, when I find neither as such. But I guess that's a topic for another time. I definitely understand your concern about states' rights, though. And, as someone who is in education, I fully understand your frustration. While I am adamantly opposed to the current administration's approach to education, I've also worked in three different states and seen how different the schools are in terms of curriculum. It's really incredible. And, while I find the thought of a national curriculum a bit invasive, I also have seen the chaos of what qualifies as "a good education" in different states. The truth is, our approach to education is inherently flawed. All politicians, state federal and local, simply want to compare numbers against one another. They want the states to look better on paper, so the nation will look better on paper. And I am so removed from giving a crap about all that that it's mostly become a moot point for me. In the end, the Democrats are not my party of choice. They are just my default party, because I find the current GOP radical and hyperbolic. And that scares me more than any of these other issues, because I consider my vote my most important freedom.
tom m August 23, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Pat I hope they take your advice .... Remember this .... Where the Polls Went Wrong (Reagan/Carter 1980) Time ^ | 12/1/1980 | John F. Stacks Reagan's landslide challenges the pulse-taker profession For weeks before the presidential election, the gurus of public opinion polling were nearly unanimous in their findings. In survey after survey, they agreed that the coming choice between President Jimmy Carter and Challenger Ronald Reagan was "too close to call." A few points at most, they said, separated the two major contenders. But when the votes were counted, the former California Governor had defeated Carter by a margin of 51% to 41% in the popular vote—a rout for a U.S. presidential race. In the electoral college, the Reagan victory was a 10-to-l avalanche that left the President holding only six states and the District of Columbia. After being so right for so long about presidential elections—the pollsters' findings had closely agreed with the voting results for most of the past 30 years—how could the surveys have been so wrong? The question is far more than technical. The spreading use of polls by the press and television has an important, if unmeasurable, effect on how voters perceive the candidates and the campaign, creating a kind of synergistic effect: the more a candidate rises in the polls, the more voters seem to take him seriously.
J.T. August 23, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Yes! I agree. I know some genuinely good people of faith and of good moral character in both parties (I also know some real questionable leaders from both!) Your attitude towards the education system reflects my attitude towards most problems today...that the problem runs so deeply that how can it be fixed? Well said about states and education systems wanting to merely 'appear' successful. Both partys have alot of people fooled. That's why I feel it's important not to belong to a party because the chances of one becoming a 'sheep' is that much greater. When a voter's deciding factor is whether the candidate has a 'D' or an 'R' next to thier name...well, that's sad and unfortunatly I think it's the norm. Just reading you a little, I think you agree. I don't necessarily see the GOP as radical and hyperbolic. Maybe it's because I have conservative tendencys to start with....or, maybe I'm just not paying close enough attention. I do find it extremely important to listen to all sides of an issue. After all, from time to time, what I'm thinking could be wrong. The term 'open mind' is missed used by some folks in that some think it means to accept, or agree, or be tolerant of everything. Having an open mind means to listen to all sides, consider all sides and then make a consicious, informed decision. Notice the first step; Listen. I need to always remind myself of that. To have an open mind we first need to be great listners.
tom m August 23, 2012 at 09:19 AM
Pat here is another chink in your idea.... what is the most shocking about this one is that it comes off the huffington post site ....... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/22/university-of-colorado-pr_n_1822933.html
MZ August 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM
J.T. - You have made some very insightful comments. I largely agree with most of your points and opinions. It is important to be open minded and to listen to all sides of an issue. Unfortunately that is becoming more and more difficult these days. I also agree that both parties have us headed in the wrong direction and often times I find myself faced with the only choice of who would do it at a slower pace. This is truly unfortunate. I like you am a believer in States rights and think the federal government has become far too intrusive. Your slavery question is an interesting one. I know there were many people in the South who abhorred slavery. They helped with the Underground Railroad, they provided safe haven for the slaves, they wrote opinion pieces, they worked from behind enemy lines, or they moved up North and joined the union. There are always choices to be made, some might just be difficult.
Desmo August 23, 2012 at 12:36 PM
So much hate for the left, and so much hate for the right. It's pretty sad that it has divided the country the way it has. I mute the attack ads, regardless of which party. The truth is so convoluted, what's the point? Neither canidate impresses me, though Obama will probably be the better choice for the county to continue what he started.
Patrick Giusto August 23, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I saw that this morning. (I don't know why it's shocking that it came from the Huffington Post site to you, because it was reported in a lot of places, but I guess that's sort of irrelevant.) This model has Romney winning every battleground state, and I think that's a tad ridiculous. There's two models that have predicted a Romney win; this one and one called the Hibbs/"Bread and Peace" model. While I agree this amounts, somewhat, to a "chink in my idea" (people keep ignoring the time at which I said the DNC should act by diverting funds), I'm still going with 538 as my primary source for the argument. The track record for the last two elections is about as flawless as I would think possible. And, to your other point, I would think that polling and modeling techniques have evolved greatly since the great flub of 1980-- but, I could be wrong. And, if I am, you'll be happy and I'll be embarrassed. Either way, I don't think the DNC is (actually listening to me, or) smart enough to take the gamble I've presented and we'll be right back in this mess for the next two years, at least.
Patrick Giusto August 23, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I agree with almost all of that. Especially that listening is the key. That, and patience; and a willingness to accept that you might be wrong on an issue. I think you should definitely consider writing blogs for patch. They will probably make you use your full name, but you clearly have some intelligent and calm perspectives-- and Patch definitely needs that. Hopefully it would elevate the discussion towards a bit more civility. If you get around to it, I'd love to repay the favor by reading and commenting on anything you might post. Thanks again.
J.T. August 23, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Thanks Patrick. Those are really kind words! Words I'm not sure I'm worthy of! I think a key of being a good listener is being a good questioner or, at least making sure I fully understand, get the most out what someone is saying, and making sure I'm not mis-interpreting what he/she is saying. The only way to accomplish that is by asking questions...the right questions. Now I'm just getting off topic. MZ - You said it! And because of that perspective (...who would bring us in the wrong direction at a slower pace) I find myself being a little less patriotic and putting up a less 'fight'. That's not to say I'm still not a romantic when it comes to America. We sure do still have a lot of great people here...past and present!
James Thomas August 23, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Patrick, " I consider my vote my most important freedom." I haven't missed a vote since 1976 exactly because of this belief.
James Thomas August 23, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Patrick, "The truth is, our approach to education is inherently flawed". How can WE (you and me) (grammar nazis go away) un-flaw it?
Patrick Giusto August 23, 2012 at 08:55 PM
James, I suppose this comment applies to both of our blog discussions, but I'm actually working on a book talking about just that. The problem is that, as a teacher, I have to be wary of publicly espousing much in the way of theory, or concrete examples, of the kinds of problems I mean, and the solutions I believe in. I sought legal advice before blogging for Patch to ensure I wasn't crossing any sort of line, professionally; and I was basically told to avoid education as a topic (three cheers for irony). I seem to have a knack, as you may have noticed, for creating a bit of controversy; but I am also very serious about keeping my opinions out of my classroom. As with most of the stuff I write, the book involves a lot of research which proves that the problems I see in education are broader than just my own anecdotes. I'm also writing it with a very serious concern for the privacy of my students and parents, obviously. If and when publishing that book could/would/should become a reality, I could envision a scenario where I'd have to quit teaching before its release.
TaterSalad September 02, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Liberal moonbats are so clueless on what Barack Obama is doing that they will lite candles before bedtime and kiss his faded poster on the wall. http://weaselzippers.us/2012/09/01/poll-number-of-americans-who-consider-themselves-republicans-hits-record-high/
Patrick Giusto September 02, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Tater, It turns out my candles are almost burnt out, and my poster has been worn down with kisses. I would imagine your conservative website "sources" and your Ron White CDs are probably worn down as well. Maybe if you enlighten me as to what he's "doing," we can have an actual, intelligent conversation that doesn't involve calling each other "moonbats." Or you could actually write down your ideas in long form as a blog, instead of trolling everyone else's and name-calling for lack of being able to come up with a more mature perspective.
tom m October 09, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Hey Pat when should the democrats switch to spending only on the local level (as you wrote)


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