KAMPANJ | Barack Obama leder över Romney i de flesta opinionsundersökningar. En anledning: Republikanerna tappar inom många viktiga väljargrupper.
Philip Gourevitch, i The New Yorker, har blickat tillbaka tjugo år för att se hur republikanska partiet har utvecklats.
Twenty years ago this month, Republicans convened at the Astrodome, in Houston, to nominate George H. W. Bush for reëlection to the Presidency. His acceptance speech was interrupted by spirited chants of “Viva Bush!,” but few remember what he said. Bush, the last of his breed to head a Presidential ticket, was a patrician product of the pre-Reaganite Republican establishment: business-friendly, foreign-policy-minded, more secular than not, anti-Communist but otherwise minimally ideological. This was held against him by Party insurgents, such as the Louisiana state legislator and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke and the pundit and former Nixon aide Patrick Buchanan, both of whom had challenged the incumbent in the primaries. Buchanan was granted a prime-time slot on the first night of the Houston Convention, and although he came with just eighteen delegates, he stole the show.
“Friends,” Buchanan said, “there is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself. For this war is for the soul of America.” The fight, he explained, was over such issues as abortion, equal rights for homosexuals, and the inclusion of women in combat units. Buchanan was against these things—“It’s not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call ‘God’s country.’ ” Of course, he said, he stood for unity and had come to rally the Buchanan Brigades to Bush’s cause, but nobody was fooled.
Today, solid majorities of Americans support gay rights, legal abortion, and women in combat. Yet the G.O.P. platform opposes them; the culture war that Buchanan trumpeted is no longer an insurgent cause but a permanent condition of the Republican Party, and, increasingly, it is being fought within the Party.
Även efter hans framgångsrika insats i den första presidentvalsdebatten kommer Romney att ha fortsatta problem att nå en lång rad viktiga målgrupper som t.ex. kvinnor, svarta, unga och latinos.
På grund av detta har partiet ägnat mycket tid till att försöka sätta upp juridiska hinder för just de väljargrupper man vet inte gärna röstar på republikanska kandidater.
In the past year and a half, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, states have passed twenty-three laws limiting access to the polls. In the swing state of Pennsylvania—which Obama won in 2008, and where there has been no evidence of voter fraud—a new law could disenfranchise nine per cent of voters; in Philadelphia, the number could be twice as high. And in Ohio, another swing state that went for Obama, a top adviser to John Kasich, the Republican governor, defended a decree that curtailed early voting, telling the Columbus Dispatch, “We shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.”
Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget, och utdraget ovan, är från The New Yorker, 3 september 2012. Omslaget ”Bromance” är av Barry Blitt.