Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Presumptive Nominee's Problem With the Base

After months of hotly-contested primary contests for the Republican nomination, it is now clear that the election in the fall will be between President Obama and Governor Romney.  But one of the lingering questions that remains from the primaries is how satisfied party members are with their nominee.  There are countless stories being written daily over how one candidate must find a way to unite his party.

Tonight's Presidential primaries in West Virginia and North Carolina have confirmed this.  Faced with discredited opposition in WV, and no human opposition in NC, the dissatisfaction of the base is evident.  Only, it's not Mitt Romney who is losing huge segments of his party under those conditions: it's Barack Obama.

In West Virginia tonight, the President's only opponent on the Democratic ballot is a man named Keith Judd from Beaumont, Texas.  To be more specific, Mr. Judd is a resident of Beaumont Federal Correction Institution, where he is nearing the end of a 210 month sentence for extortion.  Judd managed to get his name on the Democratic ballot in Idaho 4 years ago, polling 1.7% against Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But tonight, Judd is winning 38% of the West Virginia Democratic vote with over 1/3 of the vote in. (Update: Judd is now up to 40.4% with most precincts in.)

At least in West Virginia there's an actual person for Obama to lose support to.  The North Carolina ballot lists only Barack Obama and "no preference".  As I write this, over 20% of North Carolina Democrats cast votes for "no preference", with over 1/2 of precincts reporting.  North Carolina was a state Obama won 4 years ago, and tonight's state primary featured a highly competitive gubernatorial race as well as the full state vote over Amendment 1, a ban on gay marriage.

Tonight is not the first example of the President's problem with voters of his own party.  On Super Tuesday, Obama lost 15 counties in Oklahoma to top-tier opponents like Randall Terry and Jim Rogers.  A couple weeks later, 3 Louisiana parishes chose John Wolfe Jr. (a man currently prohibited from running for state office in Tennessee for failure to file a campaign financial statement in 2007) over the President.  After each contest, the DNC exploited various rules to try & deny these candidates the delegates they would otherwise have earned (a strategy that will almost certainly be used for Keith Judd as well).

As we enter the general election fight, it is increasingly evident that a massive segment of the Democratic Party does not support this President.  Team Obama's campaign of attacks and distractions will not only be aimed at independents, but at members of their own party.  Results like tonight show them and us that, if this election is a referendum on the President's job performance, the only "Forward" in President Obama's future will be the address he'll need his mail forwarded to.

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