Why Romney is aiming for conservatives

2012-05-02 15:05
New York - Although Mitt Romney has made a few begrudging moves toward the centre ground in the last week, he continues to run a highly conservative campaign for the most part.
The contemporary map of becoming a Republican president is to go conservative during the primary season to appeal to the party’s ideological base – conservatives – and then ease toward the centre when aiming for the presidency to attract independent and moderate voters. It’s a recipe that has worked on numerous occasions, and has played out in this electoral campaign quite clearly.
However, there is a very big reason Mitt Romney is making such hay about being a “severe” conservative.
Voter turnout

While it is true that conservatives who don’t like Romney are hardly going to consider voting for Democrats and/or incumbent President Barack Obama, it is entirely plausible that they will end up not voting at all. Look at the midterm election victory carnage torn by Republicans in 2010 – that was as much a case of masses voting against Obama, as it was Obama voters staying at home.
And the results of that election saw the House of Representatives, one of the two law-making chambers of congress, move back into Republican hands, although the Democrats did manage to cling onto their majority in the Senate.

As you might know, Congress has been gridlocked since the House moved back into Republican claws, and very little has been achieved. I doubt President Romney wants to see this happen anymore than President Obama, so it is vital that he inspires his party’s base to come out and vote on election day, and this must be done before he begins a subtle dance leftwards to pander to moderates.
The 2010 midterms will give you an excellent idea of just what can happen if the base doesn’t rock up, as happened to the Democrats. A sizeable majority was turned over in the 435-seat house. The way American legislation is passed means that both chambers need to pass the legislation before the president signs it into law. The Democrats held majorities in the House and the 100-seat Senate, but took massive blows (losing 64 House seats and six Senate seats) largely due to the apathetic turnout of its core electorate.


If Romney lands in the same situation Obama is in now – winning the presidency but presiding over a Congress that can’t even vote on renewing a bill to aid victims of domestic abuse – there will be no joy in watching a legislative body, which already polls at around 10% popularity (just to be clear, that’s an ELECTED body), continue to sweat and shout with very few significant results.
And the stagnancy is set to continue, in spite of major requirements for 2012: Congress needs to pass a budget, huge tax cuts agreed by George W Bush’s administration expire, the current payroll tax cut (which is a part of funding to Social Security) expires, the Violence Against Women Act expires, an extension of federal unemployment benefits expires… and Congress can’t agree on anything.

Mitt Romney needs these houses on his side: appealing to the core of the Republican voter base shouldn’t be any huge surprise. Winning the votes of moderates is a luxury that won’t mean much if he doesn’t attract the conservatives he needs.

Read more on:    simon williamson  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012

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