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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: GOP Primaries Give Huge Bump— to Obama

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira has an article at Foreign Policy arguing that, regardless of the Super Tuesday outcome, “the Republican Party will have a huge problem expanding beyond its base and forging a winning coalition. Teixeira sees the GOP brand, as exemplified in the person of front-runner Mitt Romney, tanking with four key constituencies. First, Latinos:

Start with Hispanics — who accounted for 55 percent of population growth in the last decade — and the immigration issue. Romney, who is typically viewed as the “moderate” in the race, has been aggressively conservative in this area in an effort to outflank his more ideological opponents. He has promised to veto the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for illegal aliens who came to the United States as minors with their parents, opposes in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants, and raised a much-mocked scheme for their “self-deportation.” More generally, he has consistently sneered at any sign of softness among his primary opponents on these issues, raising the specter of an increasing flood of illegal immigrants coddled by the law and provided with benefits they don’t deserve.
No wonder Hispanics, despite the bad economy and concerns about the level of deportations on President Barack Obama’s watch, are supporting the president at levels above those he received in 2008, when 67 percent voted for him…Indeed, a just-released Fox News poll — not usually considered a Democrat-friendly source — has Obama garnering 70 percent of the Latino vote, compared with just 14 percent for his closest Republican opponent, an incredible 5-1 ratio.

Rergarding African American voters, Teixeira notes, “The president could certainly match his 80 percent overall support from minority voters in 2008. If that comes true, he has huge leeway to lose white votes. Amazingly, he could approach the levels at which congressional Democrats lost the white working class (30 points) and white college graduates (19 points) in the wipe-out 2010 midterm election and still win the popular vote.”
With respect to white, college-educated voters, Teixeira cited Rush Limbaugh’s misogynist meltdown as the latest debacle for conservatives, and adds:

And it may be one reason that Romney’s appeal among these voters — despite his so-called moderate views — may be evaporating. Recent polls show him running at about where McCain did with this group in the 2008 presidential election (a modest 4-point margin) and sometimes worse.

Lastly, there is Romney’s deteriorating image among working-class voters, exacerbated by his long string of tone-deaf “Richie Rich” gaffes. Teixeira explains:

…Romney appears incapable of capturing the large margins among white working-class voters that Republican candidates need in order to win a general election. In a just-released NBC poll, Romney’s margin among these voters was a mere 5 points, far less than McCain’s 18-point margin in 2008 and less still than the 25 points or more Romney probably would need in order to win, given the United States’ shifting demographics.

Teixeira notes that it’s not only Romney: “The Republican candidates, however, also all subscribe to a range of positions — opposition to the auto-industry bailout, opposition to raising taxes on the rich, support for Rep. Paul Ryan’s unpopular Medicare “reform” plan, and support for attacks on collective bargaining — that do not endear them to these voters.”
Teixeira cautions that the Republicans’ troubles don’t guarantee that their nominee is “doomed to lose.” We can be sure, however, says Teixeira, that the GOP nominee “is likely to pay a significant price for the Republican Party’s refusal to compromise its ideology in the face of a changing electorate.”

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