With just a couple of days to go before this election is FINALLY decided, TheLeftyWolfe takes a look at two issues that could be key to determine our next Commander-in-Chief. Enjoy!
1. Early Voting –For those of you who recall the 2008 election cycle, one of the most important strategies that the Obama team used to beat John McCain was their heavy focus on early voter turnout. As a Democratic candidate, Obama knew that his core supporters (minorities and low-income earners) were also the same people least likely to vote on election day. As such, Team Obama put together, arguably, the best ground game the United States had ever seen in order to make sure that all who wanted to vote had the opportunity. They accomplished this by organizing thousands of volunteers to not only register these sometimes forgotten voters, but to also drive eager supporters without transportation to their local polling places. This year is no different. By once again focusing on voters who may not be able to get to the polls or get off of work to vote on Election Day, Obama has been able to run up a big lead over Romney in states where early voting is allowed. According to Yahoo! News, the President now has an early voting lead over Mitt in several key states:
“More than 27 million people already have voted in 34 states and the District of Columbia. So far, Democratic voters outnumber Republicans in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio — five states that could decide the election, if they voted the same way. Republicans have the edge in Colorado, which Obama won in 2008. Obama dominated early voting in 2008, building up such big leads in Colorado, Florida, Iowa and North Carolina that he won each state despite losing the Election Day vote.” With the race to the White House much closer this year than it was in 2008, Obama just might need this lead in early voting to win another term.
2. Will Gary Johnson Cost Obama Colorado…and the Election? – Listen up, fellow Democrats! If you’re old enough to remember the very contentious 2000 election between Baby Bush and Al Gore, read on! For those of you too young to recall that horrendous outcome, let me remind you. In that year, the winner of the election was to be determined by whoever won the state of Florida. Neither candidate had reached the magical 270 electoral votes, with all states counted except Florida. There were lawsuits galore, with one going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, to determine the winner. Although there were widespread accounts of minorities being bullied and scared away from the polls, George Bush somehow eeked out a 537 vote victory over the Vice President in the Sunshine State. Now, you might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with Gary Johnson in 2012?” As it turns out, a lot!!! The primary reason why Gore lost Florida by such a razor-thin margin had to do with who else was on the ballot that election year. He was a man named Ralph Nader. He was nominated by the Green Party, a pro-environment, left-of-left party. Unfortunately for Gore, Nader was able to siphon enough liberal votes away from the Democratic ticket that he served the White House to Bush Jr. on a silver platter.
The very same thing could occur this year in the state of Colorado. Instead of Nader, though, we now have the nominee of the Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson (who also happens to be a former Governor from the state of New Mexico). I decided to write a short piece on Johnson today after one of my nephews asked me about him last night on Facebook. My nephew was a bit miffed at me for constantly bombarding my Facebook feed with anti-Romney comments. He assumed that my disdain for all things Republican was nothing more than blinded zealotry. He thought, mistakenly, that my rants and raves against the GOP were nothing more than knee-jerk reactions filled with little substance. In other words, my very young nephew believed me to be one of those guys who knows nothing of the minor party candidates and simply votes along the party line, no matter who is running. As happy as I am to know that some young people in this country actually do care about politics, he was simply off the mark (I really hope he is reading this article as he was the inspiration for it!…hey Frankie!!). But I digress…back to Gary Johnson.
“Like Nader in Florida’s 2000 election, Johnson will draw only a small percentage of the presidential vote in Colorado. A new CNN/ORC poll gives Johnson 4 percent of the vote in Colorado. But it’s not blowing smoke to believe that Johnson could corral enough support from tepidly pro-Obama younger voters to make an electoral difference in a state as evenly divided as Colorado.”
Why, you might be asking yourself, would the outlier Johnson draw votes from Obama’s youngest supporters? The biggest likely reason is his pro-marijuana stance. Gary has been very vocal about his support for legalizing pot and this has, in turn, made him quite popular among college-aged male voters, key supporters of Team Obama in 2008 and again this year (voters in Colorado and two other states will be deciding this election whether or not to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use…not medical marijuana, just plain ‘ole legal pot to whomever wants to use it). Smoking doobies isn’t the only thing that has Johnson supporters behind him, however. To learn more about Johnson and the issues he supports, click the following link: http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/front.
Coupled with a deadlocked presidential race in Colorado, Amendment 64 adds a dazed and confused element to Campaign 2012. It seems ludicrous that a state referendum on marijuana could influence who gets the codes to America’s nuclear weapons next Jan. 20. But that’s the hallucinogenic wonder of American politics—anything can happen, and all too frequently does.