Revisiting voting blocs: Are they more fluid these days?
By Alan Caruba
It has long been a tradition in American politics to speak of voting blocs, but in an era of 24/7 news and instant communications, that may be less likely as an indicator of who votes for who.
For example, The Jewish Press, the largest orthodox Jewish weekly, came out with a strong endorsement of Mitt Romney, but the political pundits keep wondering how Jews—usually Democratic and liberal—will vote on November 6.
In point of fact, Jewish voters are a minority at best and not likely to move the dial except in South Florida, and urban centers such as New York, Los Angeles, and their environs. What can be said is that Obama's hostility to Israel is going to play a role in how Jews vote. Traditionally Democrats and liberals, they are generally close observers of the political winds and, while not all Zionists, they have a strong attachment to the Holy Land.
In a similar way not all Catholics oppose abortion and they can be found in both political parties. The notion, however, that the government demands that their institutions like hospitals, act counter to the Church's fundamental beliefs has surely angered many Catholics. Hispanics, generally Catholic, tend toward a more conservative point of view, but the thought that they will vote as a bloc also seems a reach. Hispanic citizens come from many different places and cultures. And evangelicals could care less at this point that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. They know a man of faith when they see one.
The current wisdom regarding blacks is that they will support Obama, but it is also widely believed among observers that many will simply not vote in the dramatic numbers of 2008. Blacks are said to be disappointed with Obama regarding the economy and offended by his support for gay marriage. Overall, the African-American community has seen few gains, if any, in an economy gone south.
Women are regarded as a major factor in the election and both the Obama and Romney camps are said to be making a big effort to secure their vote, but I suspect women will either vote within their party affiliation if they are Democrats or cross party lines because of economic issues—lack of employment opportunities, the rising cost of food and gas, children who graduated college this year and are now living at home, et cetera. The Democrat's farcical "war on women" has no traction.
Political consultants and advisors make their living reading the tea leafs of a campaign, but this one will come down to the economy, jobs, and inflation. These issues affect people no matter what religion, race or gender.
The Wrath of the Seniors
There is, finally, one very large group about which and from whom little has been heard. They represent all the other voting blocs and can be regarded as one themselves; senior citizens. In 2008 the CIA Fact Book estimate of the number of senior citizens, age 65 and older, represented 12.7 % of the population; males 16,263,255 and females 22,426,914. There are more now because baby boomers are entering the ranks of seniors in the millions these days. In 2011 the first of 79 million Americans born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s will turn 65, swelling the ranks of Medicare and Social Security recipients.
A lot of the seniors, no matter race, gender, or political affiliation are very worried about Obamacare and they should be. Many already know that Obama took over half a trillion out of Medicare to fund Obamacare and you can be damned sure they are not happy about it.
At the other end of the age cycle Generation Opportunity.org, a non-profit group devoted to mobilizing young Americans (18-29) on important economic issues, reports that its polling says 76% of Millennials plan to vote. Fully 89% say that the current state of the economy is impacting their lives and not in a good way. The youth unemployment rate is 11.8% and, for blacks it is a whopping 21%. The declining labor force participation rate has created 1.7 million young adults who are not even counted as unemployed; bad news for a candidate who promised hope and change four years ago.
No doubt exit interviews and other post-election studies will reveal trends, but if, like 23 million Americans, you're out of a job, still looking after several months, or just stopped looking, you have plenty of motivation to go to the polls and cast your vote for the only real "hope and change" available, the election of Mitt Romney.
One factor in the election has received little attention, but it should not be overlooked. A lot of states where energy reserves, particularly coal, represent a significant economic factor, have little reason to reelect Obama. An estimated 90 percent of coal reserves are concentrated in ten states, but it is mined in 27 states. Even though the U.S. coal reserves represent as much energy as all the oil in Saudi Arabia, Obama has waged a war on this valuable resource.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal production has fallen 6.5% during the Obama years. So that is one promise he's kept; largely due to draconian EPA regulations. The EIA expects 8.5% if the coal-fired plants to retire by 2016 and 17% by 2020. Coal has fallen to 32% of net electricity generation from 48% when Obama took office.
While indicting the oil industry, the Obama administration has managed to squander billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars on uncompetitive wind and solar companies, electric car production, and at one point he was advocating algae—pond scum—as a source of energy.
Instinctively, Americans know that the U.S. must maintain a strong defense and they know that is not the case these days. They love their fighting forces and their veterans. Obama does not.
For me, the most interesting aspect of the 2012 campaigns has been the total absence of blather about "global warming" and only a few references to "climate change" by either candidate. When Al Gore and John Kerry ran, they were all over this like a doggy chew bone. The President who has unleashed the Environmental Protection Agency to impose an insane list of economy-killing regulations has had little to say about an issue that we have been told for decades was the most serious one of all.
While I am still fearful about the apparent close divide in the polls—which are trending now toward Romney—I keep thinking that Obama is going to crash and burn on November 6th. Even people who are not glued to the news channels or who refuse to process negative information about Obama know he is a pathological liar and the administration's response to the killing of a U.S. ambassador and three others in Benghazi, Libya put this on full display.
At least Democrats could believe Bill Clinton when he said he felt their pain, but Obama makes no effort to even pretend he cares about them. He's fixated on "millionaires and billionaires." He's concerned that Muslims not be offended. He's offering four more years of the worst economic conditions Americans have endured since the Great Depression.
Poor Obama, he can't blame his failures on George W. Bush any more.
Alan Caruba writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba, 2012