Good day, class. Today we’re going to discuss the midterm elections, which are only five months away. Today’s class will be short. The lesson is simple.
This is all you need to know: President Obama and his merry band of Democrats care about you. Republicans don’t. In fact, Republicans hate you. That’s the president’s story and he’s sticking to it.
I can now dismiss class because you now know everything you need to know. But I’ll take just a few more minutes of your time to fill in a few blanks — because if I don’t you’ll just go back to the dorm and smoke something illegal.
Every chance he gets Barack Obama tells voters that he and his Democratic entourage are for raising the minimum wage. He knows most Americans also favor raising the minimum wage. He tells voters Republicans don’t want to raise the minimum wage, which they don’t. This is a potential plus for the Democrats for obvious reasons.
What the president doesn’t tell the American voter is that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has predicted that raising the minimum wage would cost the economy about a half a million jobs. Yes, higher pay would help those who get it. But it will hurt those who don’t get hired in the first place – or those who get fired because the small business owner can’t afford his new costs.
Mr. Obama also tells the voters that he and other Democrats are for equal pay for equal work. Hey, who isn’t? Republicans, he also tells them, are against new legislation that would enshrine the concept into law.
Again, he leaves something out. First, there are laws already on the books that prohibit pay discrimination based on gender. Second, the law would be a jobs act for trial lawyers who would bring tons of lawsuits alleging discrimination when in fact other factors almost certainly would have contributed to the unequal pay. (As I’ve written about a million times: If women really did get paid less for doing the same work, what company would hire men at all?)
Since many Americans fit into the low-information classification of voters – a nice way of saying they don’t know what’s going on about anything that doesn’t have the name Kardashian attached to it – the president’s strategy may work. We’re hard-wired to like people who care. We don’t like people who don’t care.
Besides, the Republicans lack something crucial in the United States of Entertainment: A charismatic, dramatic spokesman to make their case. A dozen different people putting forth conservative arguments can’t compete with one attractive president who comes alive on the campaign trail.
And we know what Republicans are against, but what are they for? Well, they’re for getting to the bottom of the Benghazi mess. That’s a good thing, except for one factor: The American people don’t care all that much about Benghazi.
The IRS scandal is another big deal. You’d think everyone would want to get to the bottom of that one. But, it hasn’t quite turned out that way.
Fast and Furious? Walk down the street and ask some stranger what he or she thinks about it. You’ll get a blank look.
And the president is getting us out of Afghanistan — a war the American people got tired of a long, long time ago.
The GOP may have better ideas on most big issues, but too many Americans just aren’t smart enough to care.
They do care about the Affordable Care Act, because that one hits home. And that could still help Republicans. But the Democratic strategy that says, “Let’s fix it and make it better,” – while unrealistic given the immense complexity of the law – also has appeal to low information voters.
The unknown for Democrats is whether they can get the vote out. If they can, they will avoid a GOP tsunami in November. Mr. Obama has shown that he can not only rev up the base, but also get independents to turn out – but that’s when he is running. But in the fall of 2014, Barack Obama isn’t running for anything. So there’s a good chance Democrats may sit this one out — especially a key contingent of the Democratic base, union workers who aren’t happy with the president’s failure to green-light the XL pipeline, a decision which has cost them good-paying jobs. They’re not happy, either, with the likelihood that their insurance premiums will be going up thanks to the higher costs of ObamaCare (to keep 26 year olds on their parents policies, for example) and the pending tax on gold-plated plans that many union workers enjoy.
No chance Republicans will stay home. If you don’t count drones, there’s nothing they like about this president’s policies.
So that’s what it comes down to, class. Can the president – who campaigns very well but governs very badly – convince enough Americans that he and his fellow Democrats care and Republicans don’t?
I’m sure you all knew that that was the crucial question. But in critical times it’s important to state the obvious. Now go out and enjoy your summer.
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