Presidential Election 2012


Does Presidential Racial Group Voting Data Since 1976 Spell Doom for Republicans?

electoral-college-2012

 

It is well-established among pollsters that for either party’s presidential nominee to win in 2016 they must attract the correct balance of what is now commonly referred to as the white vs. the non-white vote.

This development has spawned numerous articles and demographic math games whereby one can plug-in the estimated turn-out for Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian voters and thus predict a party’s margin of victory or defeat.

For example, a recent Real Clear Politics interactive turn-out calculator shows that for the Republican nominee to win the White House, he or she must capture at least 64 percent of the white vote. (This assumes the white and non-white voter turn-out numbers remain historically consistent.)

The need to achieve 64 percent of the white vote should be extremely disconcerting for the GOP because since 1976 there have only been two presidential elections where the Republican nominees won over 60 percent of the white vote and that was in 1984 and 1988.

On the non-white vote side of the equation, respected Republican pollster Whit Ayres predicts that the Republican nominee must win at least 30 percent of the total non-white vote in order to win the White House.

Republicans must not sugarcoat these numbers because the party is swimming against strong tides of presidential election voting data dating back to 1976.

First, as you will clearly see in the data displayed further down, the growing non-white population has consistently voted for Democratic Party presidential candidates by wide margins going back almost five decades.

Second, the white vote that splits between the two major parties by varying degrees in every presidential election is shrinking as a percentage of the total electorate.

Can Republicans overcome these two problems? Sure, in politics anything is possible – but here is a behavioral science explanation as to why the white and non-white vote is unlikely to make a large swing towards Republicans in 2016.

After the disastrous results of the 2012 election, I tried to understand how our nation could have reelected President Obama with his dismal record of achievement.

While doing some research I found what I believed was the answer — a phenomenon called ‘tribal voting” and wrote about it in a piece on November 14, 2012.

“Tribal voting” simply means you vote for a Republican or a Democrat because of your tribal allegiance. My piece quoted Richard A. Friedman M.D. who, in his November 12, 2012  New York Times piece,“Primal Emotions Come to Fore in Politics” wrote:

“Once you’ve selected your party, you are likely to retrofit your beliefs and philosophy to align with it. In this sense, political parties are like tribes; membership in the tribe shapes your values and powerfully influences your allegiance to the group.

So strong is the social and emotional bond among members of a political tribe that they are likely to remain loyal to their party even when they give it low marks for performance. Yankees fans don’t jump ship when their team loses any more than Republicans switch parties when they lose an election.”

Then I mentioned how I tested Dr. Friedman’s theory on my own mother and wrote: “Recently I asked my 86-year-old mother (now 89) why she voted Democrat her entire life and her explanation was rather simple, ‘Everyone I knew voted Democrat and I was always one who went along with the crowd.’”

(Obviously, her daughter broke with the crowd and has been a Republican tribeswoman since 1975.)

However, I recognize that my own anti-tribal behavior is not the norm, whereas political tribal behavior among non-white voters and white Democrat-loyal demographic groups has been remarkably consistent in presidential elections going back decades.

Let’s look at some facts gleaned from the Roper Center’s “How Groups Voted”, an on-going study that has examined presidential election exit poll data starting in 1976.

When you look over this data, note that the numbers to the right in parenthesis are the White, Hispanic and African-American share of the total electorate. Watch over the decades how this number shrinks for whites and grows for non-whites. Then ask yourself, “How has the Republican Party consistently managed to repel non-white voters?

1976:  White vote, Jimmy Carter 48% vs. Gerald Ford 52%   (89% White vote)

Hispanic vote: Carter 82% vs. Ford 18%   (1% Hispanic vote)

African-American vote: Carter 83% vs. Ford 17% (9% African-American vote)

1980:  White vote, Jimmy Carter 36% vs. Ronald Reagan 56%   (88% White vote)

Hispanic: Carter 56% vs. Reagan 37% (2% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Carter 83% vs. Reagan 14% (10% African-American vote)

1984:  White vote, Walter Mondale 34% vs. Ronald Reagan 66%   (86% White vote)

Hispanic: Mondale 66% vs. Reagan 34% (3% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Mondale 91% vs. Reagan 9% (10% African-American vote)

1988: White vote, Michael Dukakis 40% vs. George H.W. Bush 60%   (85% White vote)

Hispanic: Dukakis 70% vs. Bush 30% (3% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Dukakis 89% vs. Bush 11% (10% African-American vote)

1992:  White vote, Bill Clinton 39% vs. G.H.W. Bush 41% vs. Ross Perot 21%  (87% White)

Hispanic: Clinton 61% vs. Bush 25% vs. Perot 14% (2% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Clinton 83% vs. Bush 10% vs. Perot 7% (8% African-American vote)

1996: White vote, Bill Clinton 44% vs. Bob Dole 46% vs. Ross Perot 9%   (83% White vote)

Hispanic: Clinton 73% vs. Dole 21% vs. Perot 6%   (5% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Clinton 84% vs. Dole 12% vs. Perot 4% (10% African-American vote)

2000: White vote, Al Gore 42% vs. George W. Bush 55%   (81% White vote)

Hispanic: Gore 62% vs. Bush 35% (7% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Gore 90% vs. Bush 9% (10% African-American vote)

2004:  White vote, John Kerry 41% vs. George W. Bush 58%   (77% White vote)

Hispanic: Kerry 53% vs. Bush 44% (8% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Kerry 88% vs. Bush 11% (11% African-American vote)

2008: White vote, Barack Obama 43% vs. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)  55%   (74% White vote)

Hispanic: Obama 67% vs. McCain 31% (9% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Obama 95% vs. McCain 4% (13% African-American vote)

2012: White vote, Barack Obama 39% vs. Mitt Romney 59% (72% White vote)

Hispanic: Obama 71% vs. Romney 27% (10% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Obama 93% vs. Romney 6% (13% African-American vote)

Asian: Obama 73% vs. Romney 26% (3% Asian vote)

So how will these numbers change in 2016?

Latino Decisions, a premier Latino research group contracted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to conduct polling, estimates that the White vote will decrease to 70.5 percent, the African American voter share will decrease to 12.5 percent, the Hispanic share will increase to 10.4 percent and the Asian share will increase to 3.5 percent.

Republicans cannot change these demographic numbers, but how about boldly challenging blindly loyal Democrat voters to leave their current tribe?

For example, may I suggest a Republican marketing campaign that asks questions like, “Why am I a Democrat?” Is it because everyone I know is a Democrat? Is it because I was born a Democrat? Why do I vote for the same party year after year, yet see no changes in my economic circumstances? Maybe it’s time to break my voting habit?

There is no doubt that such a marketing campaign would be controversial and widely mocked, but do Republicans really have a choice? Perhaps it is time for a behavioral approach that questions Democratic Party tribal allegiance? At the very least, the concept should be tested in focus groups.

Meanwhile, the 2016 Republican presidential nominee is tasked with needing to win at least 64 percent of the white vote and 30 percent of total non-white vote. That my friends is either a total fantasy or it would be a historic election and one for the record books.

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Obviously since my last post in November much has changed!                                              (Yes, I know I need to re-post my pieces here more often.)                                             Governor Bob McDonnell ran into some problems with “women issues” legislation and his VP star has dramatically faded as a result. So now in late May here we are….

Breaking News May 30, 2012:                                                                                                  Senator Portman in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Is this a strong signal that Portman has been tapped to be Romney’s VP?

Re-posted from PJ Media

These days one of the favorite games among political junkies is prognosticating about who will be Romney’s Vice Presidential running mate. An important criterion for selection, the “incredibly boring white guy”  factor previously has been examined by this writer and others.

Now, there seems to be a consensus among inside GOP political operatives as to who will share the bumper sticker with Romney within that group of potential VP nominees who exemplify that distinguishing “boring” characteristic.

That person is Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

Sensing an opinion wave for Portman within the last month, I asked a prominent GOP Super Pac insider (name withheld by request) why Portman is the “chosen one” and this was the email response I received:

He could bring Ohio!!! And he is very experienced and he won’t spend $100,000 on clothes in two months!  The goal this cycle is “safe, not sorry. But win Ohio!”

Packed within that email are several discussion points alluding to the GOP’s 2008 VP candidate, (which are sure to be elaborated upon in the comment section of this post).

Notwithstanding a negative or positive opinion of the GOP’s 2008 VP candidate, Sarah Palin has significantly impacted the decision-making selection process of the GOP’s 2012 VP candidate and it now looks like Senator Rob Portman will be the ultimate beneficiary.

Another veteran insider of past GOP presidential campaigns responded to my email which posed the question “Why Portman?” with this list of reasons:

He’s fabulous.

Would actually be a great VP.  

Not an ideologue.

Ohio.

Understands jobs and global economy as U.S. Trade Representative not OMB.

“Not OMB” is worth discussing for this is a touchy Portman resume item that Team Obama is sure to exploit as a negative talking point after Portman is officially nominated.

From May, 2006 until June, 2007 Rob Portman served as President George W. Bush’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget. (OMB)

When asked about the potential for President Obama and the Democrats to “denigrate” his OMB service, Portman was ready with an answer, as recently reported in a comprehensive piece in Real Clear Politics (RCP) entitled, “Does Portman Have the Edge in VP Sweepstakes?

He told the Cincinnati Enquirer last month: “I was there for just over a year and I put out one budget … [which] was actually a balanced budget. And not even over 10 years but over five years and I’m proud of that.” He conceded, “Frankly it was a battle within the White House to get the White House and everybody on board with that . . . but imagine that, a balanced budget.”

So Rob Portman’s defense of his one year as OMB Director includes a small salvo aimed at the Bush White House for rejecting his “pathway to balancing the budget in five years”. Now, by comparison, President Obama’s budget deficits are projected to be $977 billion in 2013 making President Bush’s $161 billion deficit in 2007 look like chump change.

This means Portman has plenty of cover when the Obama campaign unleashes their wild attack dogs in the last two months of the general election and there is no doubt that Portman will successfully defend himself and his record at OMB.

Portman’s first post in President Bush’s second term was as the United States Trade Representative. He worked in that position for one year before President Bush promoted him to OMB Director in mid- 2006.

To further understand the depth of experience that Senator Portman brings to the Romney ticket, it is important to note that before serving two years in the Bush Administration, Portman had a distinguished congressional career which spanned 12 years from May, 1993 until May, 2005.

Representing Ohio’s 2nd congressional district, Portman built a reputation for bi-partisanship, writing numerous pieces of legislation that were signed into law by President Clinton; but you can count on this part of his career to be completely ignored by Team Obama.

Instead, get ready to read how Portman was “Bush’s guy” who helped drive the economy into a ditch and you can almost hear Obama asking voters the question, “and this is the guy you want to let back into the White House?”

Well, the voters of Ohio had no problem sending Portman back to Washington after serving in Bush’s White House. In fact, when Portman ran for his current senate seat in 2010 he defeated his Democrat opponent, garnering 57% of the vote to Lee Fisher’s 39%.

Now in the midst of the 2012 election cycle when Romney is in search of a “boring white guy” how could any guy who won an important state’s senate race by 18% points possibly be that boring?

In response to the boring accusation which supposedly helps Portman’s chances, here is an entertaining piece to the contrary which appeared recently on Buzz Feed entitled  “15 Genuinely Interesting Things About Rob Portman.”

He’s hunts! He canoes! He bikes! He fishes! He speaks Spanish!  (The latter could be a big benefit to Romney with a voting block that he needs to attract.)

So, maybe he’s not that boring after all.

Consider Portman’s resume of 12 years as a Congressman with stints as International Trade Representative, OMB Director, a US Senator since January 2011 an Ohio political power player who is credited with helping Romney win the Ohio primary over Rick Santorum — and you have someone who is extremely well qualified to be the GOP vice-presidential candidate.

Now many signs are pointing in Portman’s direction except this one.

Currently Intrade has Senator Portman’s chances of being selected as Romney’s VP rated at only 22%. (But Portman’s chances are increasing by the minute.)

Portman’s closest Intrade competitor is Florida Senator Marco Rubio. At the moment Rubio’s chances that he will be Romney’s VP are rated at 24%.

This tight VP race raging at Intrade suggests that the general betting public is not yet up to speed on what many Washington GOP insiders and members of the media are saying about Portman’s real chances.

All politics aside, the primary job of the Vice-President is to step in and take over as President of the United States if called upon — and for that role Senator Portman is well suited.

In fact, Mark McKinnon, now a political media personality, who served as media strategist for President Bush in 2000 and 2004, wrote in an email responding to my question “Why Portman”, “The guy was truly made for the job.”

Compare that description to the now deceased Osama bin Laden’s stinging critique of Vice-President Joe Biden, calling him “utterly unprepared” to be President of the United States.

This description came to light on captured documents while bin Laden planned/dreamed of targeting planes carrying President Obama and General Petraeus so our nation would be plunged into crisis under Biden’s leadership.

In the end the contest between “the guy truly made for the job” vs. the one called “utterly unprepared” will not be the determining factor in whether Obama or Romney is victorious in November.

However, according to my sources Senator Rob Portman is the one most likely to be standing on stage at the Vice-Presidential debate this fall.

So reserve your seat now because a Biden vs. Portman match-up will be anything but boring.


Re-posted from PJMedia November 11, 2011

It’s a done deal! It’s a slam dunk! You can just about start printing the bumper stickers for the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. For as a result of this week’s GOP debate and a Virginia legislative election, the Romney/McDonnell ticket has been solidified.

Mitt Romney, the inevitable Republican presidential nominee, has become even more so as a result of Rick Perry’s debate implosion (Otherwise known as the “56 second brain freeze” that rocked the world.)

Romney looks and sounds presidential and is by default going to be the last man standing after Cain-mania settles down. This is not exactly pleasing to the conservative base, but there is “hope and change” coming for conservatives on the 2012 ticket and his name is Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia.

Governor McDonnell took a well-deserved victory lap this past week after helping the Republican Party of Virginia win control of both the Virginia General Assembly and Virginia Senate. This huge legislative victory, won with tea party support, catapults McDonnell right into Romney’s number two slot.

But for McDonnell, these favorable Virginia election results are only the cherry on top of the sundae. There are five other important reasons why McDonnell will be Romney’s running mate, served up for coronation at the 2012 Republican nominating convention in Tampa.

1. Governor Bob McDonnell is a conservative who conservatives trust.

McDonnell can make a Romney-topped ticket more palatable to the tea party/conservative base. The base currently does not trust Romney but with McDonnell as his VP, McDonnell can help “sell” Romney and soften the blow for conservatives nationally, while not scaring away moderate voters.

2. Virginia is a must-win-back state for the GOP.

Obama won Virginia in 2008 by 7 percentage points, but with Governor McDonnell’s high approval rating of  62% Romney can count on him to return Virginia into the red column where it had been for forty years since 1968.

Obama will throw everything he has at Virginia but McDonnell will triumph. Already, Tuesday’s Virginia election results are considered a bad omen for Obama nationally.

3. Obama/Kaine vs. McDonnell/Allen

The race for the open U.S. Senate seat created by Democrat Jim Webb stepping down will be one of the most watched, vicious, and expensive Senate races in 2012.  But not only will it be a political fight to the finish but very personal as well.

The dynamic revolves around former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine who, as governor in 2008, was one of Senator Obama’s earliest supporters and was widely credited with helping Obama turn Virginia from red to blue.

Now, Virginia governors can only serve one 4 year term, and Kaine’s term was ending in January of 2010. So after Obama was elected president, Obama thanked Kaine for his early support by appointing him to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in early 2009 while Kaine was still governor of Virginia.

Then, in the Virginia gubernatorial election in November of 2009, Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell won a resounding 59% of the vote  a 17.5% point margin of victory against Democrat Creigh Deeds to whom both Obama and Kaine (as DNC head and incumbent VA governor) threw much campaign funding and personal support.  McDonnell’s victory was a total embarrassment to Obama and Kaine.

Moving ahead to the 2012 election cycle, Kaine has left the DNC to run for the US Senate in Virginia against former US Senator and former Virginia Governor George Allen, who was defeated in 2006 by Jim Webb.

On Friday, November 11th a few days after his state legislative victories, Governor McDonnell endorsed George Allen, who has primary tea party opposition.

There are high hopes that George Allen will win that highly contested Virginia Senate seat, especially if the VP candidate is Governor Bob McDonnell.

President Obama, of course, will be supporting Kaine one thousand percent for two reasons. First, Obama is counting on Kaine to keep the Virginia Senate seat in the Democrat column. Second, Obama is expecting Kaine to have coat-tails going up the ballot, helping him to win Virginia again.

This all sets up an Obama/Kaine vs. McDonnell/Allen WWF style “death match.”

For not only is Virginia and its 13 electoral votes a grand prize in the race for the White House, but Republican control of the US Senate also hangs in the balance.

This Virginia Senate race is the third practical political reason why a Romney/ McDonnell ticket will be appearing on your ballot in 2012.

4. McDonnell is chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA).

The Bob McDonnell for VP stars aligned even more perfectly when Texas Governor Rick Perry resigned as chairman of the RGA to run for president, and Governor McDonnell was then tapped as chairman.

McDonnell chairing the RGA is highly significant for individual state and national media exposure as well as fundraising.

There is no better post for McDonnell to hold to help Romney more than RGA chairman and this is even before Romney chooses McDonnell as his running mate.

5. Romney thinks very highly of McDonnell.

That is an understatement in that Romney has called Governor McDonnell one of the ¨great leaders of the Republican Party.”  Romney has also said, “I say nice things about Governor McDonnell every time I have a chance.”

McDonnell, meanwhile, has said that he would like to see a former governor in the White House. (Wink, wink, I don’t think he is talking about Perry.)

Additionally, McDonnell has not been shy when asked about being considered for the number two position.

Furthermore, McDonnell would personally and politically complement Romney and not overshadow him in some ways like Palin did to McCain in 2008.

Romney/McDonnell could be a marriage made in political heaven — a win-win for the “establishment wing” of the Republican Party with the “conservative wing” placing a respectable second.

The next step would be for McDonnell to officially announce his support for a presidential candidate, something McDonnell said he would do after the Virginia legislative election this past Tuesday. Gee, I wonder whom McDonnell will endorse?

And when McDonnell does utter the name “Mitt Romney,” it’s time to start up the presses for the yard signs and bumper stickers. For on that day, the 2012 GOP presidential ticket will be non-officially inked but officially ready to do battle.


Re-posted from Pajamas Media

As the world knows by now, First Lady Michelle Obama did a little shopping with jus’ plain folks at Target in Alexandria, Virginia, where a AP reporter just happened to be around to chronicle the event for the planet.

This also happens to be my Target store, (lovingly referred to in these parts as TarzhAY) As  a video producer, I was once tasked with shooting racks of bathing suits for a national weight loss product infomercial at this same Target – and can personally attest that video taping only commenced after numerous phone calls were made and permission was officially granted by Target management.

The point is stores like Target are very persnickety about photography, still or moving, taken inside their stores to be used for non- Target commercial purposes. (And, yes, I would classify Mrs. Obama’s husband’s re-election campaign as a non- Target commercial purpose.”)

So it appears the First Lady’s desire to shop for cheap Chinese goods along side her lowly subjects was fully planned and executed for promotional purposes with a product sell date of November 6, 2012.

Now that’s what’s called Target marketing!

But here is the yin to the yang.

The next evening, the Obamas celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary in my neighborhood of Old Town, Alexandria, just a few miles from Target, at a little dining establishment called Restaurant Eve.

The restaurant’s web site states the following: The 34 seat Chef’s Tasting Room is Chef Armstrong’s culinary showcase. Here, Armstrong features a five, seven and nine-course prix-fixe tasting menu, priced at $120, $135, and $150 respectively.

Whoa…now that’s a meal symbolizing  “America has gone soft,” with wildly expensive delicate little forkfuls of gourmet this and that, highlighted with Garden Basil from the restaurant’s own organic garden.

Whatever happened to huge slabs of rare prime rib oozing blood juices?  THAT was the celebratory meal that made America hard.

Knowing my ‘hood as I do, I can state with great certainty that Friday afternoon shoppers at Alexandria’s “TarzhAY” do not normally find themselves dining Saturday night at Restaurant Eve. Rather, Chipotle right up the street is more likely and no doubt, a future target marketing opportunity for Mrs. Obama.

The fact that these two fine establishments were back to back on the First Lady’s weekend calendar is one of those Obama-nations where only Alexandria residents can truly appreciate the irony.

Celebrating an anniversary at Restaurant Eve (where the tab usually equals one month’s rent on a small apartment) is well within the reach of the first couple’s personal budget. And I would not be writing this snarky little piece if Michelle the Commoner hadn’t pulled that “I feel your pain” shopping stunt at Target the day before.


Re-Posted from Pajamas Media  September 26, 2011

The Republican Party of Florida sponsored what was essentially a fundraising event in Orlando called Presidency 5, from Thursday, September 22, through Saturday, September 24.

The highlights of the three-day event were Thursday night’s Fox News/Google Republican presidential candidate debate and late Saturday afternoon’s presidential straw poll.

This straw poll was light years away from generally accepted polling practices.

Delegates eligible to vote, selected back in June, were state-wide local Republican club activists. Consider the high costs of  voting: delegate registration was $175 paid to the Republican Party of Florida, coupled with a “special” attendee hotel rate. The total with taxes was $357 for two nights.

So do the math.

Delegates shelled out a minimum of $532 to attend and that is before the $120 average registration cost of CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), which also held its first Florida event in conjunction with Presidency 5. A majority of delegates attended CPAC, which featured all the presidential candidates speaking on Friday, fresh off the Fox/Google debate the night before.

The high cost of attendance was important because delegates who eventually selected Herman Cain as the surprise winner were overwhelmingly a well- heeled, middle-aged crowd who had the time and money to attend both CPAC and Presidency 5. In other words, not necessarily your average Florida Republican voter.

From my personal experiences over the three-day event, I believe Herman Cain’s triumphal victory with 37% of the vote from 2,657 delegates was not a fluke. However, it is also not a national game changer with Cain as the new frontrunner to challenge Perry and Romney. Rather, it was a positive emotional response to Herman Cain, the man, with some “teachable moments” for the frontrunners.

Herman Cain showered the delegates with lots of love, inspiration, and political wisdom. The delegates, in turn, received his love. In fact, they were positively smitten, and rewarded Cain with their votes. This blossoming love affair unfolded slowly and built up to a frenzy right before the straw poll votes were cast.

After Thursday night’s Fox News/Google debate, Perry, who national polls showed was leading going into Florida, disappointed the audience and that sent Romney trending upwards in the minds of the delegates. This was all chronicled here the next day.

At the debate, Herman Cain made an emotional connection with the audience when he answered a question about how poorly he would have fared under ObamaCare instead of what became his miraculous triumph over stage four cancer. But by no means was Cain considered the debate winner among the delegates. That unofficial title was bestowed on Mitt Romney.

Even Rick Perry at Friday afternoon’s CPAC speech urged the audience not to nominate “the slickest candidate or the smoothest debater,” a poison dart obviously aimed at Romney’s superb performance the night before.

So what happened between Thursday night and late Saturday afternoon that enabled Cain to win over the hearts and minds of 37% of the delegates, with Perry receiving 15.4% and Romney 14%?

As one of the delegates succinctly said to me shortly after Cain’s victory was announced, “Cain is a businessman; he groomed us, he entertained us, and he closed the sale.”  Another delegate leaned first towards Perry, then after the debate towards Romney, and ended up voting for Cain, because he said “Romney ignored us” and “his organization was poor.” (This activist crowd actually grades candidates on organization, which is probably a good thing.)

If 80% of success is just showing up, as Woody Allen famously said, then Herman Cain took Woody’s advice, ran with it, and won a resounding victory.

Cain not only “showed up” the entire three days, but he did some ol’ fashioned preaching and inspiring along the way.

“Yes We Cain.”  “Cain is Able.”  “Hope and Cain.”  So read the signs and buttons.

Cain was the only candidate who stuck around to speak Friday night to a large room packed with delegates attending CPAC’s “Reagan Reception.” (No Reagan connection in sight, but these are Republicans and Reagan is their modern-day George Washington.)

There, Cain mesmerized the crowd with what I call a cross between a Tony Robbins-style motivational speech and a Sunday morning church sermon in a slow, deep, voice that sounded like the movie voice of God.

Furthermore, Cain was always present when the other frontrunners had either left the state (Romney especially) or were otherwise too busy or too uppity to socialize freely with “the folks.”

Cain showed he cared enough to send his very best — himself.

(Apologies for that old Hallmark ad line.)

One Romney-supporting delegate, who did not vote for Romney, told me why he changed his vote, saying: “Cain made us feel important” and “Romney ignored us.”

Then came the final curtain call right before the straw poll votes were to be cast.

All the candidates were given 15 minutes to appear on stage and make their case. Ron Paul sent a surrogate (snore). But Herman Cain gave such a rousing speech — bringing the delegates to their feet (shades of Obama 2008 minus the fainting) — that Rick Santorum, who had the misfortune of following Cain on the stage, said in jest that he was going to fire the staffer who decided that order of appearance.

Newt spoke next (more snores), and Huntsman sent his lovely wife and family as surrogates, but Cain’s performance was still echoing in the minds of all the delegates.

Up next was Rick Perry, who also sent a surrogate, but many delegates decided that was a good time to take a break and exit the room. Not a good sign for Perry.  And then it was suddenly announced it was time to vote. What? No Mitt Romney or Mitt Romney surrogate? Delegates were flabbergasted. “Mitt dissed us” and “He will pay for this” were the prevailing conversations.

So, instead of Santorum joking about firing a staffer for having to follow Herman Cain, Romney really needs to fire the staffer who advised him not to at least send a surrogate or even show a video like Huntsman. Those lost 15 minutes cost Romney dearly. His campaign committed the cardinal sin of ignoring activists who crave attention and want you to show them the love in exchange for their support.

It turns out Romney was in Michigan. He left shortly after his early Friday morning CPAC speech to attend a Republican gathering with their own straw poll. In Michigan, Romney took 51% of the vote, to Perry’s 17% and Herman Cain’s 9%.

It all goes to show that Woody Allen is right. When it comes to life and politics, 80% of success is just showing up.

Several delegates told me about a subliminal message they hoped to send the nation with their vote for Herman Cain, who just happens to be an African American conservative. They wanted their vote to prove that the GOP and the Tea Party are not racist  (take that Morgan Freeman and Black Caucus) but instead are willing to embrace a man of color whose personal story and political philosophy they wholeheartedly support.

There are several lessons to be learned from Herman Cain’s victory at the Florida straw poll. First and foremost, Florida Republican activists want to be courted. This vote also shows “Florida has attitude,” as one delegate said to me immediately after the results were announced.

Frontrunners like Romney and Perry need to take a page out of Herman Cain’s playbook and be prepared to spend a great deal of time showing Florida the love and taming that “attitude.”

This is because delegates at Presidency 5 and other Florida Republicans not in attendance are very proud of the fact that the road to the national nomination runs through the Florida 2012 primary and, subsequently, they are going to make all the frontrunners pay a steep toll in time and attention.

Update: The Romney campaign issued the following statement on June 9, 2011. The campaign has asked PJM to post this statement again as it relates to Myra Adams’ piece about the Florida straw poll.

“Our campaign has made the decision to not participate in any straw polls, whether it’s in Florida, Iowa, Michigan or someplace else. We respect the straw poll process.  In the last presidential campaign we were both strengthened as an organization and learned some important lessons by participating in them.  This time we will focus our energies and resources on winning primaries and caucuses. We look forward to bringing Mitt Romney’s strong pro-jobs message to every part of the country.” – Matt Rhoades, campaign manager


A visit to a therapist might be necessary to help conservatives work through their issues with the current frontrunner.

May 10, 2011 – 12:00 am – by Myra Adams

What if Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination for president in 2012?

A vast majority of conservatives become anxiety-ridden at the mere posing of this question, and many go ballistic at the thought of it actually happening.

So a quick visit to a therapist may be helpful.

Imagine yourself lying on a couch in the spring of 2012 with soothing music playing in the background. News breaks that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican nomination for president.

Your therapist, knowing that as a true conservative you worked against Romney by supporting (fill in the blank), asks in a soft comforting voice, “How does this news make you feel — angry, betrayed, confused?”

The therapist is insisting that you anticipate your feelings and mentally prepare yourself because Intrade, the respected online prediction market operating outside of polls and politics, is betting on Romney with a 23.9% chance of him winning the GOP nomination. (By comparison, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is second at 15.3% and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is third at 9.5%. The rest of the GOP field is in single digits. Note: Intrade is a fluid prediction market, therefore percentages change frequently, but Romney has consistently led the GOP field. )

Intrade also pegs Obama’s re-election prospects at 58.6%, but your therapist says she will address those negative feelings in a future session.

This hour she wants you to work through the stress associated with accepting Romney as the GOP nominee.

So in an empathetic tone she asks you to think about the following questions:

Are you going to pick up your signs for Candidate X and go home?

Could you work for and support Romney’s campaign?

Will you vote for Romney in the 2012 election?

What if the polls show that Romney is running neck and neck with Obama?

Do you resent that squishy independent swing vote that is fueling Romney?

Finally, the therapy session is over and you leave her office with a huge headache. You realize you would have real problems supporting Romney as the nominee and even imagining these questions makes you angry.

Can you relate to this scenario?

Since the defeat of John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, I have heard numerous conservatives admit they held their nose and supported him. They say that in 2012 they will not support anyone but a “true conservative.”

Which begs the question, what is a “true conservative” these days?

Would President Reagan have even qualified, considering he granted amnesty to three million illegal aliens in 1986?

The following week the therapist works through your behavioral options if Romney wins the nomination:

You can support Romney 100% because as the nominee he will be your only chance of making Obama a one-term president. You can break away from the GOP and start a third party with Candidate X. (Although this ensures Obama will win re-election, you can feel good because you stuck by your principles.)

You can insist that Romney select a “true conservative” as his vice-presidential running mate. (This is similar to what McCain did with his selection of Sarah Palin.) But if Romney doesn’t select a running mate conservative enough for you, will you “punish” him by staying home and not helping the campaign at any level?

Then your wise therapist reads you a quote from Ronald Reagan.

On February 9, 1983, when asked about people who said he was “moving away from the policies and principles that got you elected,” Reagan responded by explaining that compromise is not retreat: “I’m not retreating an inch from where I was. But I also recognize this: There are some people who would have you so stand on principle that if you don’t get all that you’ve asked for from the legislature, why, you jump off the cliff with the flag flying. I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want. So, I think what they’ve misread is times in which I have compromised.”

Ah … the wisdom of Ronald Reagan: “half a loaf is better than none.”

Good advice all Republicans should remember. For if Romney does manage to win the 2012 nomination, conservatives must admit that he would be a “half loaf” better than another full loaf of Obama.

The truth is the Republican Party is fractured. However, someone has to be the nominee and chances are it will be someone that a good chunk of the party did not initially support — or still might not support after the nomination process is over.

That would be a huge mistake.

Republicans must unite and together build a massive 50 state national campaign and the fundraising apparatus to support it. And the sooner the better, because besides the obvious advantage of incumbency, the opposing team will be well managed and organized on the ground, the airwaves, and in cyberspace.

President Obama will have close to a billion dollars in his campaign war chest. This will buy him millions of dollars of air time, including 30-minute infomercials. He will have the funds to hire thousands of staff, pay “volunteers” to stand for hours at the local mall, and bloggers to flood the internet with favorable content. Perhaps he’ll even have a few thousand left over to “buy” some new voter registrations.

But Obama can not buy down our national right-track, wrong-track number: 67.5% of Americans think our nation is on the wrong track. He can not buy down the official unemployment rate, which just climbed back up to 9%. He can’t buy down the real unemployment rate, which some experts estimate to be closer to 18%.

President Obama can be defeated because his vision for America’s economic future vastly differs from that of Republicans and the all important independent swing voters who helped forge those historic wins in the 2010 midterm elections.

A Republican victory in 2012 will hinge on getting those voters back again. Therefore, grassroots Republicans participating in the primary process must keep their eye on the general election and ask themselves: could my candidate attract independent voters in key battleground states like Virginia or Florida?

Romney as the GOP nominee might just wind up representing that “half loaf is better than none” philosophy for many Republicans. If that is the eventual outcome, and as a “true conservative” you find yourself still demanding a “full loaf,” please consult a therapist and Ronald Reagan.

Myra Adams is a media producer, writer and political observer, who served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign, and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. Her columns have appeared on The Daily Caller and as a co-writer on The Daily Beast. Myra’s web site TheJesusStore.com contributes all profits to Christian charity. Follow @MyraKAdams on Twitter.

Despite the jubilation over the death of Osama Bin Laden, our nation’s overstretched and under-appreciated military will continue to be actively engaged in three undeclared wars — Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya.

Perhaps Bin Laden’s demise will usher in new questions for President Obama about the present and future of our international entanglements.

In the meantime while casualties and costs continue to escalate, and public opinion is running against all three wars there is virtually no anti-war movement targeted at President Obama compared to what was waged against President Bush.

What are the reasons for this anti-war silence from the people and the press?

Here are three possible ones: the absence of a draft, George W. Bush is no longer in office, and the main stream media’s conscious decision to downplay the wars while Obama is president.

No Draft

Imagine if every able bodied 18 year old male (females are excluded from this imaginary draft) from all economic strata lived in fear of being yanked out of civilian life and sent to fight in the treacherous mountains of Afghanistan?

Or, sent to relieve the 50,000 troops still serving, fighting and dying in Iraq?

Or possibly sent to fight along side the rebels in Libya? (Not totally unlikely considering US Marines and warships are now deployed off Libya’s coast.)

Then when you consider the majority of Americans (49%) disapprove of how Obama is handling the Afghan war (47% approve) — and only 27% approve of Obama’s Libyan intervention — if a draft were in effect today there would likely be 1970’s style Vietnam era demonstrations on college campuses and frequent marches upon Washington.

(It will be interesting to note going forward if these poll numbers become more favorable toward Obama now that Bin Laden has been killed by our special forces.)

With a draft, wars would be front and center in the national consciousness especially if 20 year old “Justin” from an upper middle class family dropped out of Yale, lost his student deferment and was heading toward Kabul.

However, the absence of a draft allows for a major disconnect between the all volunteer military comprised of less than 1% of the US population.

It’s human nature that if your family is not threatened with joining the fight, you have the option of not paying attention to the wars or the politics behind them.

Then before you know it complacency sets in, nearly invisible wars are 10 years old and the same troops have done three, four, or five tours of duty.

“Hell no, we won’t go,” has been replaced with “Not my problem.”

A draft keeps wars closer to the pulse of ALL the people and tends to hold elected leaders more accountable.  Even the anti-war movement during President George W. Bush’s tenure was tame compared to what it would have been if there had been a draft after September 11, 2001.

No President George W. Bush to kick around any more 

Why has the steady anti-war drumbeat ever present under President Bush become virtually silent?  A strange phenomenon indeed considering President Obama has continued President Bush’s policies in Iraq, then tripled Bush’s troop levels in Afghanistan, ratcheted up predator drone attacks in Pakistan, and got us involved in Libya without congressional authorization; all this from a President who received the Nobel Peace Prize upon taking office in early 2009.

What could explain the silence of someone like Cindy Sheehan (remember her?) the grieving mother and poster child of the anti-war movement under President Bush?

It is now obvious that all or most of the anti-war sediment was a by-product of Bush Derangement Syndrome because like magic, once Bush was gone from the White House the anti-war movement virtually disappeared.

A case could easily be made that most of the anti-war movement from 2002 – 2008 was fueled by the media and then conveniently used by Bush haters everywhere to wage war against the presidency of George W. Bush.   Anti-War = Anti-Bush, which brings us around to the third and final reason:

The media’s downplaying of the wars under President Obama

There is a certain irony that in 2011 our three wars are being lead by Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama, who was the Iraq anti-war candidate, first in 2002 as an Illinois State Senator, and then as a US Senator in his 2007 presidential launch speech.

During the 2008 primary campaign Senator Obama said to Senator Hillary Clinton when speaking about Iraq, “I was opposed to this war in 2002…I have been against it in 2002, 2003, 2004, 5,6,7,8 and I will bring this war to an end in 2009. So don’t be confused.”

Well, perhaps Obama should be confused now and asked why April 2011 was the deadliest month in Iraq since 2009 with the loss of 11 American soldiers.

Richard Benedetto, writing on FoxNews.com opined recently in a piece entitled “Why Is Obama So Silent On Afghanistan — And Why Are the Media Letting Him Get Away With It?” Benedetto observed that Obama avoids talking about Afghanistan publically as much as he can, letting others do the talking.

Obama’s strategy of avoiding speeches and discussion on wars that are not going well and that the American people are increasing against, seems to be working for him — otherwise the anti-war movement would spring back to life, whipped up in part by the media.

That said, with the death of Bin Laden, it will be interesting to see if Obama becomes more publicly engaged with the wars especially if he senses some political gain.

However, as long as the main stream media that helped elect Obama and has a vested interest in his success, is not hounding him for answers about the wars while running screaming negative headlines like what occurred almost daily during the Bush years – it is a safe bet that people will not be marching in the streets with anti-war signs reading “Obama lied — people died.”

Consider April 27th when 8 US service members were killed by an Afghan pilot, Obama was busy releasing his birth certificate, flying off for a taping of Oprah and then attending three fundraisers to help fill his re-election campaign coffers.

The media barely mentioned the tragic incident.

With no draft, no George W. Bush, and a main stream media that does not hold Obama accountable to the same standards as President Bush on any issue, is it any wonder these three wars have been largely out of sight and out of mind for 99% of Americans?

At least ABC’s This Week broadcasts the names, ages and hometowns of our brave service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice. For the record, there were 25 names on the Sunday, May 1st  morning show while 12 hours later the news broke about Bin Laden. Too bad those 25 will not be celebrating.

Now with Osama Bin Laden gone and if there are no major changes in any of our three wars will the anti-war movement be revived over mounting casualties and costs?

The answer is probably no because the media will most likely elevate Obama to hero status over Bin Laden’s death. And with his new status, the silence of the anti-war movement will continue as a by product of Barack Obama’s presidency with the media’s complicity.

Meanwhile next Sunday on This Week there will be more young soldiers in Memoriam.