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Fraser Smith's Essay: September 6, 2012
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September 6, 2012
What will motivate Democratic voters in 2012? WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
Four years ago, it was hope, making history, and the prospect of change.
This year, it may be a determination to give Barack Obama an opportunity to fulfill the promise of 2012. But, here in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the truest of true believers, the turnout driver may be fear. The Republicans, Democrats are saying here, want to dismantle everything Democrats have built: Social Security, Food Stamps, Pell Grants, government regulation of business, the New Deal, the War on Poverty – everything governmental and democratic.
Another motivator may be anger – anger at the distortions and lies of the Republican team, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. From the Democratic perspective, lying has seemed to be a GOP strategy. It’s based on the belief that voters will buy it all without checking. Political gunslingers say negative campaigning works – so we get a steady diet of it.
The Democrats hope this time, of course, is that Americans know Obama had a bad hand dealt by the Bush Administration. Americans, even under the stress of a down economy, are a fair-minded people.
Party leaders and party loyalists here are arguing that the Obama story is a lot better than the Republicans would have you believe. Americans are, indeed, better off than they were four years ago. The Great Recession did not become the Great Depression. Job growth, though painfully slow, is steady.
Much is riding on the president’s speech tonight. He has to reach for the hope he inspired four years ago. In a convention marked by striking oratory, he has to do as well on his own – while laying out a clear plan for four more years.
New jobless numbers, due out tomorrow, are unlikely to offer a bump in his approval rating. As always, he has to provide that himself.
Commentaries from WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith are a regular Thursday feature on WYPR. You’re invited to respond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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