McCain can claim that his plan will save homes from foreclosure, spark business growth, and create more jobs. He can argue that Reagan's economic policies sparked the economic boom of the 1980s and that his updated version of supply-side economic policies is a mirror reflection of Reagan's.
McCain must openly and subtly stoke middle and working class workers' disdain for liberal solutions to problems. Only a minority of American voters call themselves liberal. The Republicans' repeated smear of the Democrats as tax-and-spend, big government proponents still strikes a chord with millions of voters.
McCain must contest the Latino vote. His name has been mentioned countless times in the Spanish-language press and most of the time the mention is favorable. Many Latinos look benignly on him because he broke with the GOP's hardliner stance and backed immigration reform along with Senate Democrats.
He doesn't have to top or even match Bush's total with Latinos to push the Democrats. All he needs to do is get a quarter of the Latino vote in the key Western swing states of Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, and that might be more than enough to move the states to the GOP camp—again. Even before Bush's massive court of Latino voters in 2004, Republicans received a quarter of the Latino vote and in some places such as Florida, did far better.
McCain must stress that the Iraq war is not a totally losing proposition for Americans. A significant percentage of voters still thinks a change in strategy, tactics, and direction in the war can bring, if not victory, at least a satisfactory peace. McCain will have a parade of generals, experts, and officials in the defense industry to help him sell that position to millions of voters.
To succeed, McCain needs a fractured Democratic Party. Exit polls in the bruising Clinton and Obama battles show that the bruises are firmly tattooed on some fervent Clinton backers.
Nearly a quarter -- mostly blue collar, rural, and non-college educated whites –- said they will vote for McCain or stay home if Obama is the nominee.
The historic nomination of an African-American as the Democratic presidential standar- bearer is applauded by many publicly but privately it raises doubts among many others. McCain can't and won't stoke those racial fears. He doesn't have to; they're already there.
Then there's the issue of how many voters turn out for the Democrats and the GOP. Much is made of the record turnout in the Democratic primaries. Yet in fairly recent presidential election history, there was lower turnout and seemingly less enthusiasm in the Republican primaries in the election battles of Bush Sr. and Reagan. Both were still elected.
The variables that work for McCain against Obama are the war on terror, a victory spin on Iraq, the experience factor, the voter's inherent fear of an untested candidate, the strong tradition in millions of households of voting for GOP candidates (especially among male voters) a bickering, divided Democratic Party, and the X factor of race. McCain can and will exploit these variables on the campaign trail. He can win the White House with them.
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Albion Monitor June
6, 2008 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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