Associated Press: “Romney, Obama in Battle for Working-Class Whites”

As I`ve argued before (click here), Mitt Romney should quit pandering to Hispanics and go for the white working class vote, which is more likely to vote for him and is a much bigger demographic anyway.

Thomas Beaumont of the Associated Press has an article out entitled Romney, Obama in Battle for Working-Class Whites (Sept. 7th, 2012). Here`s part of it:

President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney are working feverishly for an increasingly smaller but crucial slice of the electorate – white, working-class voters.

These clock-punching voters – from Iowa`s tiny manufacturing cities to Virginia coal country to pockets of Ohio reliant on the auto industry – are considered the potential tipping point in battleground states that will decide the winner on Nov. 6. These voters are also critical to turning less competitive states such as Michigan into suddenly swing states in the final stretch.

Romney is trying to expand what polls show is an advantage for the Republican while Obama hopes to narrow the gap. Both candidates are trying to pit these voters against their opponent by stoking a sense of economic and social unfairness, and also by calling on surrogates with stronger ties to these voters. It`s why Romney has seized on Obama`s decision to give states greater flexibility on welfare work requirements and why Obama turned to former President Bill Clinton, long popular with working-class voters, to make the case for his second-term bid…

These voters are a hodge-podge of union households and gun-rights advocates, often from rural areas and smaller cities. They are found in a handful of competitive states where neither candidate has an appreciable advantage, including northern Florida and northwest and southeast Ohio. They are also found in key counties in states that have voted Democratic in presidential elections since the 1980s but are seen as more competitive this year. Those include areas outside Madison and Milwaukee in southern Wisconsin, mixed-income suburbs outside Detroit and rural parts of western Pennsylvania.

Neither Romney nor Obama has a natural connection with them.

Both are Harvard-educated and wealthy. But Obama, an African American raised politically in Chicago`s Democratic network, has struggled with these voters. Obama famously dismissed their misgivings about his candidacy in 2008, saying “they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren`t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Romney, the son of a former governor and car company president, made a fortune as a private equity firm executive before serving a term as Massachusetts governor.

Romney`s profile varies from these working-class voters who are less educated and from smaller cities and rural areas.

He put himself more in league with NASCAR owners, noting his friends who own teams, than fans in February while attending the Daytona 500 in Florida.

But he`ll seek to endear himself again to the sport`s largely white audience Saturday, when he plans to attend the Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond, Va.

Still, he has a commanding lead among these voters: 57 percent preferred the Republican, compared to 35 percent for Obama, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll last month. Romney`s support is on par with what 2008 Republican nominee John McCain received from this group, but Obama is doing worse, according to exit polls that showed him at 40 percent four years ago.

Romney is the candidate of working class whites, not because he`s doing anything for them, but simply by default. Those who don`t want another four years of Obama see him as the only option.

But, just imagine what Romney could do if he really campaigned for the vote of the white working class. Maybe the candidate could raise that 57% up 10 or 20 points.

Romney should go to a swing state and announce an immigration moratorium. After all, with 14 million Americans unemployed, why do we need legal immigrants? Such a proposal could help pick up more working class white votes. Given today`s economic situation, any candidate not supporting an immigration moratorium can`t be serious about improving the employment situation.