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Opinion & Editorial

Decision 2012: The Dirty Little Secret

I’m going to let you in on what’s going on with the campaign, and it’s simple: you may as well inaugurate Barack Obama for his second term.

He’s an incumbent solidifying his position with a juggernaut of a fundraising operation still in place from his first run for office. While Romney has been slogging through an exceptionally bitter and divisive primary season, Obama’s been quietly shoring up support for his re-election without worrying about opposition. And while Romney has substantial funds for his own campaign, he doesn’t have the same established nationwide network as does Obama.

Nor does Romney  have a sterling image among Republicans. His own party still slings mud at him. Rick Santorum, despite suspending his campaign, has yet to offer Romney his endorsement.

Plenty of other unpleasant statistics stain Romney’s bid for the presidency.

Romney has struggled with a laundry list of demographic groups. While competing with other Republicans, he couldn’t win over evangelicals (a prominent group in Republican contests) or individuals making less than $150,000 a year (which represents about 95% of the general population).

Now that he’s all but assured the Republican nomination, early polls pitting him against Obama throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Obama has a healthy, often double-digit, percentage lead over Romney among almost every under-represented minority demographic, peaking with a 95% support rate among the African American community.

Perhaps the starkest statistic is the massive gender gap: while Obama and Romney are virtually even among men, Obama holds nearly a 20% lead over Romney among women at this point (about 56% to 37%), which is nothing short of alarming for the Romney camp.

Romney’s biggest problem remains his inability to connect with ordinary Americans, based on his wealth. His poor comments blemish his, otherwise, satisfactory public appearances. When asked about his ties to his home state of Michigan, Romney talked about his connection to the Detroit auto business, and let slip this sound bite: “I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.”

At least he was being honest.

Boneheaded remarks as these drag down Romney, earning him plenty of negative coverage. If he can’t make himself approachable, then he has no shot at the general election.

He still has a few months until November, but one has to wonder if he’s already too far behind to recover. Romney can’t really escape the stigma of being a fat cat and “capitalist pig,” and as President Obama wryly noted a few years back, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”

Written by Andy Li’13




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