With Final Debate Over, Ground Game Intensifies
|October 23, 2012|
by Elvin Lim
Mitt Romney barely passed the bar on Monday night’s debate. He was tentative and guarded, not just because he was being strategic, but because he wasn’t, understandably, in command of the facts of foreign policy as a sitting president would be. Barack Obama “won” the debate, but it will have minimal impact on altering the fundamental dynamics of the race.
A number of polls now find Romney’s momentum continuing at the national level. Romney’s team has been playing a national strategy because he needs to swing nearly all the battleground states in his direction, whereas Obama has played a state-by-state strategy because he has a couple of paths to 270. The upshot of this is that Romney is intensifying his lead at the national level, but this movement at the aggregate level has not translated as well to the battleground states. Most importantly, Obama still leads by a razor’s edge in Ohio.
The Obama campaign is making a bet: that in these last two weeks, it is the ground game that matters most, because there are more registered Democrats than they are registered Republicans, and the key for Obama is turnout, not ideological conversion (as it has been for Romney). This is why Obama leads in field offices in key battleground states. Both campaigns acknowledge that the Democrats will dominate in this ground game.
And so, in this final stretch, it will be two great partisan armies getting the vote out in the battleground states that will determine the final outcome. The artificial high that Obama was riding through the summer, as Mitt Romney was still battling his compatriots during the primaries, was vitiated as soon as Romney took the national stage and glided back to the ideological center. On the other hand, whatever momentum Romney has today will not easily pierce the Democratic firewall in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
This means that silly season in American elections is in full swing. To get the vote, both sides must claim that Armageddon would arrive if one or the other candidate wins. Scare tactics, mud-slinging, and even a Donald Trump surprise are intended to rile people up and get them to the ballot box, or make them so disillusioned that they fail to turn out for their candidate. It is a quadrennial irony we face that everything that is wrong about American democracy is on full, unvarnished display at the same time that citizens prepare to perform one of their greatest acts in a democracy. The good news is this will all be over in two weeks.
Piece crossposted with Out On A Lim
Merleau-Ponty’s Child Psychology
As much as death signals the end of the self, birth is just as mysterious. Both extend out to infinity and signal the brevity and contingency of our lives. As mysterious are those first few years of life that one does not have access to as an adult, I know I existed before my earliest memories. I know I interacted with others, I learned to walk and talk. I was willful from my parent’s tales.
William Pope.L: Reader Friendly
William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does business with people who dread Black men or Black artists.
10 Things the NSA Has Seen Me Do
One winter in my early twenties myself and some good friends — a merging of art, music and literary ladies of New York, full-grown girls aspiring to be women — got together, had a lovely dinner, some wine and delightful chat. Then we decided to spend an hour practicing “Teach Me How To Dougie”. NSA — can you teach me how to Dougie? You know why? “Because all my bitches love me.”
You may also like :
In the cold war years, Japan forged a contradictory relationship with its erstwhile occupiers, the United States. On the one hand various capillaries of Japanese society burned with resentment towards a Western capitalism that forced upon it a new diet of humility and economic subordination – perhaps best represented in a literal sense by the new diet of milk and bread – while on the other hand, as audiences for sumo fell by over a third, stadiums could not find enough places for Japanese fans of baseball.