The Daily Show: The Return of the Pandering

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The presidential campaigns have kicked into gear, and both candidates face the task of solidifying the enthusiasm of their bases while still reaching out to any and all undecided voters.

The first rule of election-year seduction is knowing your audience. Both candidates gave speeches last week that offered demographic snapshots of their respective campaigns. President Barack Obama wants to appeal to a diverse, endlessly fractured coalition of competing interests, while Mitt Romney is bringing together what appears to be 50 shades of white.

The different makeup of their constituencies determines their election strategy. The Democrats — to win — must go “Lord of the Rings”-style and bring together all the armies of Middle-earth to fight what they believe is the evil eye of Mormon. They’ve got to bring together the gays (elves), the environmentalists (Ents) and hired union labor (Nazgul).

Meanwhile Romney must help his more homogenous, and somewhat pasteurized, constituency hold onto power they feel might be slipping away. Obviously these analogies are never an exact science, but let’s represent his strategy with, oh I don’t know, the Alamo — a last-ditch effort by white Americans to keep Mexicans out of their basements. It’s not an exact science.

So far, Obama’s strategy has been to entice each group with a different spoil. He’s recently come out in support of gay marriage. He has spoken about making college more affordable, and he gave Shimon Peres the Medal of Freedom. That really leaves only one group unspoken for.

“This morning Secretary [Janet] Napolitano announced new actions my administration will take toward our nation’s immigration policy … over the next few months eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization,” Obama said on June 15.

This use of the president’s executive power has upset many Republicans — and not because it could lose them the Hispanic vote for generations, but because they feel bad it took Obama so long to do it.

“He promised immigration reform in his first year and did nothing,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, on June 17.

Republicans were begging him to fundamentally transform America’s approach to immigration. I mean, look how they rallied around him with the whole health care thing. So Obama missed a big opportunity to get immigration reform done two to three years ago. I wonder what would’ve happened had he tried back in December 2010.

“The Senate voted in favor of the [DREAM Act], 55 to 41, but that wasn’t enough to stop a Republican filibuster,” said ABC News reporter Tahman Bradley in 2010.

So Obama failed through legislation. Your move, Davy Crockett. What are you going to do?

“Republican Governor Rick Scott has said that Florida’s voter purge is aimed at clearing registration rolls of non-citizens. Critics say it’s nothing more than an effort to disenfranchise poor and minority voters,” MSNBC reported.

And so the time-honored tradition continues. Iowa marks the beginning of the presidential race, and Florida takes a crap all over it.