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The Transitional Voter: Winning the Actual ‘Bitter Clingers’

How can Romney target the swell of ex-leftists not yet comfortable changing orientation?

by
David Steinberg

Bio

August 28, 2012 - 12:00 am
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If you have undergone a Left-to-conservative philosophical switch, you should recall the progression of your “moderate” period, those months or year or two you preferred the label “Clinton Democrat.” You preferred this to the more accurate “Clinton-dragged-kicking-and-groping-by-Gingrich Democrat,” or didn’t realize this was the case and chalked up Clinton’s pragmatism to his apparent-only-to-liberals brilliance.

Recalling this period of your life, you may also sense that 2012 America contains the highest proportion of Clinton Democrats since the dotcom bubble. This was when a sizable majority of the Democratic Party believed Clinton’s and Alan Greenspan’s Ivy intellects alone were responsible for a booming market, rather than the worldwide tolerance of a historically terrifying normalized P/E ratio. Now, however, the Clinton Democrats are without a bubble to “affirm” the correctness of a moderate leftist ideology, nor a single prominent Clinton Democrat of note to give the comfort of being able to defer to their brilliant leader. They simply don’t know where else to sit; they are in a transitory position and some could be pushed right with a feather.

This emergence of transitional voters is, of course, difficult to quantify; the opinion is formed from four observations:

– The present enthusiasm gap is clear and overwhelming. Obama’s 2012 crowds don’t go to eleven. Democrats are either recognizing Obama is further left than they are comfortable with, or they are migrating in conservatism’s general direction.

– The few arguments currently advanced by the Obama campaign focus on the GOP’s supposed misogyny, a bigoted argument carried over from the worst of the Clinton era’s gender-superiority feminism. (Clinton being — ironically, or not at all — the beneficiary of a “one free grope” policy from a self-described feminist.)

– A social observation: each Democrat willing to discuss the election with me gets irritated by the same simple economic challenge (“Tax revenue decreases when capital gains taxes are increased. You really want Romney’s tax bill to be higher? But not John Kerry’s? Please do not operate the garbage disposal while I am speaking”).

After this, they insist on the description “fiscally conservative but socially liberal.”

The frequency with which I am hearing “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” intrigues me, as no Clinton Democrat has ever posted a Match.com profile that did not include this phrase. It’s like a mating call.

Romney/Ryan has developed a polling lead in Florida and Ohio on Medicare, which is both a fiscal issue that would attract a Clinton Democrat’s attention (see above) and the most important development of this campaign.

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