From the words of the great Former Congressman Ronald Dellums…
“The Center of American Politics is not static. It’s defined by who shows up.”
I can’t argue with that statement in the slightest, and neither can the GOP. Through all of the hoopla and noise of the Presidential Primaries, the most pervasive sound is actually silence… the unnoticed “elephant” in the room is that the majority of the electorate has yet to weigh in on a single contest. Eventhough it seems that this fight should be winding down, it’s barely even started. Lest we forget, the majority of voters in this country are actually Independents… they don’t claim loyalty to EITHER Political Party. It’s safe to assume that they are in the center of the political spectrum.
In order for one side of the pendulum to tip the scales in their favor, they have to drum up some excitement around their candidate. In essence, they kinda have to BELIEVE in him or her. And thus lies the continued issue of Mitt Romney… nobody believes that he’s going to be President. As we’ve watched vote after vote get cast, what the pundits continue to leave out are two very key factors… GEOGRAPHY and TURNOUT. Both seem to be running away from Romney and any other candidate.
As proof of this, let’s look at the results from the most diverse state in the Primary season thus far… Florida.
Romney beat Newt Gingrich in Florida by an admirable margin of 15%… not a blow-out, but certainly nothing to scoff at. But he did very little to encourage party enthusiasm, as the 2012 primary produced 400,000 fewer voters than its 2008 predecessor. Yes that’s right… 400k. Now mind you that Florida is a growing state. In 4 years there are more Floridians overall, and one would assume more registered voters. Not to mention that there isn’t even a Democratic primary to contend with this year. If the Center is defined by “who shows up”, the Romney faithful are less than impressive.
Far more is revealed when you actually look at the map of where Romney won Florida… major urban centers and their suburbs, and most of the southern counties. Gingrich ruled supreme in the north. If the Romney campaign is relying on urban centers to suddenly turn red in this year’s general election, then they are headed for trouble with a capitol “D”. Urban centers are the DEMOCRATIC strongholds. But even in that case, urban Republicans aren’t in love with Romney either, even if some of them vote his way. Turnout was DOWN in Miami-Dade, Broward and Duvall counties. For all of the money that the Romney campaign raised and SPENT in Florida, they failed at the basic principle of getting their faithful to show at the polls.
Granted, the Florida primaries were held at the very end of January. Surely the GOP is now ready to rally around the presumptive nominee and turnout will increase, right?? Well, umm… not exactly.
Take Oklahoma for example. This state is safely Republican. In fact not a single county went to President Obama in the 2008 General Election. But even the reddest of red states is not enthused for party prospects this year. Turnout for the 2012 Oklahoma primary was down nearly 50,000 from 2008. Again a very large number when you consider the increase in voters and the assumed increase in excitement of having undivided primaries for the GOP. Rick Santorum won, but didn’t excite the typical base voter. Again this is “home plate” for a Red State, but the voting public continues to produce anemic results.
So if you’re watching the 24-hour news coverage and thinking that Democratic prospects are slim-to-none this year, just remember that the Silent Majority of America is still waiting to be called to the stage. Perhaps better advice could come from Nicole Scherzinger… Don’t Hold Your Breath.