The Colorado strategy
That may be the Obama 2012 re-election strategy.
Early last year, I noted that Obama’s political advisors were tilting toward what I called a “Colorado strategy” for the reelection campaign. Their focus was on an emerging new Democratic majority—a coalition of young people, minorities, unmarried women, and upscale professionals. This tilt would come, I noted, at the expense of the “Ohio strategy”—my shorthand for an effort focused on retaining support from white working class voters.
To be sure, this tilt toward Colorado as the electoral template was intended as a matter of emphasis rather than a flat-out rejection of Ohio alternative. After all, Obama won both Colorado-type states and Ohio-type states in 2008. It seemed reasonable to suppose that he could fortify the Party’s new beachhead in the Rockies without jeopardizing his standing in the heartland, the traditional key to presidential contests. …
One thing is clear: Obama’s decision aligns the Democratic Party with the demographic future of the country. Young adults overwhelmingly support gay marriage, and they’re sure to win the fight by outliving their older adversaries. The only question is whether the future is now. There’s reason to believe it may not be: In 2008, Obama received 20 percent of the conservative vote, accounting for about 7 percentage points of his overall 53 percent share of the popular vote. (By contrast, McCain received only 10 percent of the liberal vote, accounting for only 2 points of his overall share.) Conservative democrats, in other words, provided the decisive margin in the last election—a margin that it’s not clear can be compensated for with additional liberals.
I agree with the TNR guy, I think that’s the route the Obama re-elect team is trying to go. It’s an interesting one — laying all their chips on the new coalition that elects Democrats, and accepting the premise that the New Deal coalition is dead.
It has the advantage of sincerity — liberal politicians are then able to run on issues they actually care about — and demographics are shifting in its favour.
But have they moved far enough yet? That, we’ll see in November.