Divorcing John McCain From His Base

Did you know that John McCain only got 73% of the vote in the Pennsylvania primary?

The media is barely mentioning it. The blogs have laughed at it, but haven't really dove in. But it might be really important.

Think about it. Running virtually unopposed, the Republican presumptive nominee somehow didn't get 27% of the voters. What's more amazing, this 27% - that's 220,000 people - bothered to drive to their polling place and cast their vote for someone who could not ever hope to win the nomination, all to thumb their nose at John McCain.

McCain has been the only candidate in the Republican race for almost a full two months, yet 16% of this group voted for Ron Paul and 11% voted for Mike Huckabee!

These statistics should perk up the ears of Democrats. Even with ample time to consolidate the base - and with ample flip flopping on the issues - John McCain still can't get almost a third of the Republican party in Pennsylvania to board the "straight talk" express. And there is reason to think those voters might never get on the bus.

Ron Paul voters, driven by anti-war and anti-federal reserve sentiment, will never agree with McCain's hawkish foreign policy or schizophrenic economics. Huckabee voters will never believe a divorcee who's admittedly shy about his faith is the spiritual conservative they've been waiting for. These people might vote for Democrats in November, or they might at least stay home.

But only if we make them.

You see, McCain's a smooth talker, and people tend to believe what he says. (For the life of me, I can't figure out why.) Given enough time and enough party surrogates and conservative media backing him, John McCain can solidify the Republican base, at least to some significant extent.

We should make sure this doesn't happen.

In 2004, Ralph Nader was funded by wealthy Republican donors to try and sabotage John Kerry's candidacy. There's no reason we can't sabotage McCain's.

I'm not saying large donations to Bob Barr or any other third party candidate is quite the way to go. Ron Paul supporters, for example, aren't lying down yet - they will be a presence at the Republican convention. Actions as simple as making sure the candidacies of Paul and Huckabee aren't forgotten in the media and in American society might be enough. Perhaps Democrats (especially those that go on TV) could bring up Ron Paul at every turn, making sure people remember he's still in the race. Maybe they could constantly compare McCain's faith to Huckabee's. Whatever it is, I do feel Democrats should be thinking about a coordinated campaign of some sort.

So, I'm open to suggestions: How can Democrats make sure McCain doesn't get this 27% to vote for him?

Tags: 2008 election, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul (all tags)


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