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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Mitt’s “Simple” Plan

I’ve got two posts up at Washington Monthly that deal with big-picture strategic issues–specifically, the Romney election strategy.
One, playing off a Michael Crowley article on the 1980 and 1992 elections as being more complicated than the usual “economic referendum” assumptions about incumbent re-election cycles, examines one key reason the Romney campaign is so “focused” on a highly unspecific economic message: the policy preferences of his party are highly unpopular with non-Republicans. He needs to convince swing voters to make this a “referendum” on Obama’s economic record not just because many political scientists believe that’s what this type of election usually revolves around, but because any other message is perilous for him. To put it another way, Romney has a simple-minded message because he is encouraging swing voters to engage in a simple-minded calculation of how to vote.
Accordingly, in a second post I question the emerging CW that Romney’s campaign has been too slow or too vague in responding to developments like the president’s recent immigration initiative (and/or the Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s immigration law). Again, if you accept the premise that Romney’s whole campaign depends on ignoring issues other than poor macroeconomic indicators, it makes perfect sense that he’d be uninterested in speedy or specific reactions to developments that aren’t germane to his message. More broadly, anything that makes this a “comparative” election is unwelcome to Team Mitt.

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