Opinion

Responding to the Challenge

When the pundits begin to debate and discuss the significance of this week’s convention, it is the name of Barack Obama that will grace their lips most often. Fame and a veneer of gold, however, are no guarantee of success in a national presidential election.

John McCain has surely noticed the organizational and rhetorical skills of the Obama machine. This has given the candidate something less than the commanding lead some predicted. McCain supporters should consequently take heart in what support their candidate currently holds in a year where the Republican brand stands tarnished by the unpopular Bush presidency. Despite a sizable influx of money from the Obama campaign and hopes that his race would bring out in force the region’s latent African-American vote, the South appears, albeit weakly, to stand in the Republican base. Reasonable portions of both the West and Midwest are still in play. Blue-collar white voters, the same group that played an appreciable role in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory, are still not sold on Obama’s claim to economic leadership.

These advantages should not indicate that the threat to four more years of Republican leadership is in any way fading, however. Whatever the reason, it is clear that, even with a recent tightening in the polls, Obama still has more inroads into Republican areas than McCain does into the Democratic strongholds. Reversing that trend requires exploiting two areas of Democratic weakness.

It would, first of all, be foolish for McCain not to exploit Obama’s weakness among the white, blue-collar “Reagan Democrats” who formed a key part of Hillary’s support base in her primary campaign. Serious inroads among that group could give McCain enough of a jump in the polls that he would force Obama to divert more of his attention to contesting parts of the Midwest and East where he currently has small leads.

That would allow the campaign to focus its attention on defending the West. McCain’s long tenure and presumed familiarity with the region’s issues gives him an advantage that should not be squandered.

Advertising and regional appearances need to emphasize over and over that McCain will represent the region’s interests in office in a way that someone from the outside could not. Democrats should be reminded that ecstatic prose is no substitute for caution. The presidency is still very much an office up for grabs.

August 29, 2008

Reporters

Andrew Hamner

Opinion Columnist


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes are running low on tight ends. But their receivers — notably sophomore speedste ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ The pretty even split of carries between Travis Homer ...

The University of Miami has lost another player to surgery, and the depth was already lacking at thi ...

A six-pack of UM notes on a Monday: ▪ There has been no more popular or successful quarterback at UM ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ defense leads the nation in tackles for loss and stopping opponents on third d ...

New technology could help schools identify shooters and other intruders before they enter the door. ...

A University of Miami professor has created software to detect fraud in standardized tests. ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Students attending Monday night's State of the U address by UM President Julio Frenk offer thei ...

At UM’s inaugural State of the U address, President Julio Frenk detailed the strategies of the Roadm ...

Jeff Thomas may be quiet off the field, but the sophomore has been consistently making lots of noise ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday the league slate for the upcoming 2018-19 season. ...

Miami remained ranked in both major polls Sunday, checking in at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top ...

The Miami Hurricanes came to Toledo, Ohio for the biggest home game in the history of Toledo footbal ...

A quartet of University of Miami men's tennis student-athletes concluded the final day of compe ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.