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Going To Charlotte
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Going To Charlotte

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

 

As the Dems assemble in Charlotte, North Carolina, to re-nominate Barack Obama for a second term, the discussion in many circles is about Bill Clinton. Ryan Lizza began the story in his New Yorker scoop about the rapprochement between Obama and Clinton in time for Clinton to play a major role in the re-election campaign. The pay-off was a major prime time appearance for the former President with his speech to be his own and only vetted hours before delivery. Lizza also had the scoop about Clinton’s racial slur to Teddy Kennedy about Obama during the 2008 campaign, “that a few years ago this guy [Obama] would be carrying our bags.”  Only open issue is whether Clinton realized he is up against the Giants-Cowboys NFL opening night football game.

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Post convention bounces are usually significant and take a few weeks to level off. Polls being released suggest that Romney’s post-Tampa bounce may be one percent. While the bump he received in likeability was pleasing, the general bump is not what they probably anticipated and most likely will be much smaller than Obama will receive after the Democrats leave Charlotte. Given that Romney reportedly is devoting the post convention week to relaxing and debate preparation, by next Sunday Obama’s lead could begin to be more challenging for the Republicans. Baring major snafus, Obama should be ahead as the pre-debate phase begins and the divisive session of Congress resumes next week.

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For those of you who assumed there are just over two months until Election Day, the fact is that “early voting” will begin in less than three weeks in some of the 32 states which permit it, with more and varied status of non-Election Day voters beginning as well. States may begin as early as 45 days before Election Day, approximately three weeks from today; and there is no changing your mind after the debates or a major blunder or a change of heart. (We will address this issue at length in a later post, but suffice to say that it has and will totally change campaigning and voting results.)

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To show you how unimportant labor unions are today even for their party of choice, the Democrats are meeting in a city which does not have unionized hotels and a State which is largely a “right to work” State.  Clearly the Party believed that they needed to convene in a key swing state. Labor has no other place to go, will still contribute mightily to the their party, and would still run a major GOTV campaign for their ticket.

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The Democrats will highlight women and Latinos in Charlotte. These are the critical constituencies that Obama needs to motivate to vote in November. The key for women is voting and for the Latino vote registering and then voting. The Democratic ground game has been totally focused on registration especially of transient voters and first time voters. They need young people not to be alienated; African-Americans to turn out again in record numbers and not to be bored; they need the Latino leaders to rally this community not to fear to register especially in the swing states like Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; and they need white women to vote in record numbers to counteract working class white men shifting away in even bigger numbers than usual because of the economy.

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