June 22, 2010

BUT EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT ON THE UNICORN RIDE!:

Democrats spend big to lure Obama's minority and young voters back to the polls (Karen Tumulty, 6/20/10, Washington Post)

As political gambles go, it's a big and risky one: $50 million to test the proposition that the Democratic Party's outreach to new voters that helped make Barack Obama president can work in an election where his name is not on the ballot.

The standard rule of midterm elections is that only the most reliable voters show up at the polls, so both parties have traditionally focused on the unglamorous and conventional work that turns out their bases. But this year, the Democrats are doubling down on registering and motivating newer voters -- especially the 15 million heavily minority and young, who made it to the polls for the first time in the last presidential election. [...]

There does not seem to be a similar effort within the GOP. A spokesman would not discuss its operations and scoffed at the bet that Democrats are making this year. "When that announcement was made, it just wasn't taken very credibly," says Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye. "Those voters just aren't going to be there this time."

He's not alone in thinking that.

Some veteran Democratic Party operatives are also skeptical that the $50 million investment will pay off -- except, perhaps, in keeping the grassroots operation alive for Obama's reelection bid two years from now. Some even suggest that the president's team has put his long-term interests ahead of his party's immediate struggle for survival.

"I have zero confidence that they're heading in the right direction here," says one longtime Democratic organizer who didn't want to be quoted by name criticizing his party's major midterm election initiative. Added another: "I think they're going to come in for a very rude awakening. It's going to be brutal."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 22, 2010 6:09 AM
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