The voters whose beliefs lie further to the right, the louder and more insistent are they. The voters whose beliefs lie further to the left, the more disappointed and reticent they are. This has several implications:
1. Romney haa had to jump around, flip-flop, etch his sketch and waffle in order to placate his wing. Meanwhile, Obama has been able to create his image as he likes, with less vocal criticism.
2. Obama may have misled his further left supporters four years ago, making broad promises for big change, I admit. Those are the people who turned out and gave him such a handy victory. Obama rallied a coalition of particular issue voters back then – gay rights, environmentalists, and a few others – and they were expecting big things.
3. Romney’s wing is mad about his religion, and whether he will be true to the more staunchly conservative things he’s said, or the more moderate ones on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and bailouts. Obama’s wing is wishing for stronger stands on the environment, climate change, transparency in government, and civil rights.
4. Many voters on their more extreme wings will be disappointed. We will hear more from the loud right than the left. Romney has nearly betrayed his wing. Obama has come closer to neglecting his.
5. The question remains about voter turnout. Does the quiet left still turn out? Does the frustrated right do the same? Obama should be more worried about his base showing up than Romney, because the right tends to be more passionate, and this can be gauged by the noise level.
6. Common sense and moderation favor the President. By this, I mean that the issues about which the right wing is so loud – fear of the deficit, fear about entitlement programs (which they lump together), fear of America’s international image, abortion, abortion and abortion – are the kid whose audience is limited. The issues for the left wing – the environment, civil rights, punishing corporate crimes, and the 99% – should find more fertile soil, nearly by definition.
7. Overall, I am buying the Electoral College prediction more than the momentum prediction. I do think some voters from both wings will turn out, and Obama will have the edge. There
Now neither Romney nor Obama will go out on any limb. They are doing their best to utter things that secure votes and be safe. Both wings are left to either be frustrated or pitch in for the lesser of evils. The campaign officials paint pictures during the primary; closer to the election, they must use photos and facts. It’s tougher to take pot shots on the national stage this close to the election.
Now, I am looking at David Brooks’ latest column, attempting to describe moderates. These are the remaining voters, most likely to be undecided. Moderates are certainly not void of principles, nor do they simply split the difference. They are simply less bound to absolutes; they are able to see gray where the wings see black and white. The wings deduct their ideas: conclusions come first, and points to back them up second. Moderates use induction: they observe the facts and ideas, and find principles from there.
That makes all the difference.