Both Republicans and Democrats appear to have concluded that their best strategy is to make their supporters feel more intensely committed and thus more likely to vote. For Mr Obama that means women, the young and African-Americans, for Mr Romney it means white working men, evangelicals, talk radio listeners and the better-off.
This is a questionable strategy. Democrats and Republicans have become more polarised and there are fewer of either of them. There has, instead, been a rise in the people that the political scientist James Stimson calls the Scorekeepers: pragmatic, coolly non-ideological, perfectly willing to shift from one party’s candidate to another. Where is the appeal to these people?”
“Bill Clinton’s speech had, in spades, all the ingredients that in Britain too we associate with clever and successful political positioning. It had charm, apparent sincerity, affability and guile. But it also had something we’re missing in Britain today. Mr Clinton’s “better together” message to America was a big, strong idea.”
“Whatever the niceties of economic logic, the only political defence of President Obama’s record on growth, unemployment and the economy is that things would have been much worse under a different leader. Even if true, that is not a very persuasive appeal. So the Democrats have decided to go with the “extremism” of the Republicans on social issues and to devote their convention next month to a defence of abortion rights. This is a bold strategy, but carries risks: first, polls have long shown that most Americans oppose abortion; second, many voters don’t like being confronted with the issue and tend to punish the party that forces them to think about it. That has been the Republicans for three decades; it may now be the Democrats.”
“On Mormonism, there are three sorts of questions that should be put forcefully to Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention. The first is about the sheer weirdness of the founding beliefs and the sense in which he really embraces them. The second is the Church’s long history of racism and sexism, as well as its censorious ideas about the terms on which poor people qualify for community help. The third, with the most immediate implications, is whether the Church’s conviction that its members are direct descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would make him more likely to attack Iran over its nuclear programme.”