Monday, August 20, 2012

Bumpless Veeps and Voter Suppression

Paul Ryan–A Bumpless Veep
    It’s been slightly more than one week since Paul Ryan was selected by Mitt Romney as the latter’s vice-presidential pick.  The most remarkable think about that selection is that there is no bump.  What’s a bump?  Generally when a presidential candidate names a running mate there is a bump in the polls for the presidential contender.  The bump is due to increased media coverage, initial interest in the new Veep, or some other factor that simply gives at least a temporary up tick in the polls.  But as the New York Times reported today (August 20, 2012) and I talked about on Fox 9 news on Sunday night, Ryan has produced no more than a one-percent bump.
    One-percent?  That’s nothing!  Even Sarah Palin did more for John McCain, yielding perhaps 3-4 or so temporary points before dragging him down.  But with Ryan, the polls seem stagnant and  he has done very little to help Romney in the last week.  Why? Several reasons.  First, Romney picked a bad time to announce Ryan, coming near the end of Olympics and on a late Friday night.  The app they were going to use to announce also failed.  Overall, timing to maximize media coverage was poor.  Second, Ryan’s pick (as I argued in my last blog) was less meant to attract swing voters than to energize a conservative base still unexcited by Romney.  Romney has switched gears to run a base campaign, banking that he can out organize and deploy his supporters than can Obama, and then also pick up disgruntled swing voters who do not like the direction of the Obama economy.
    But Romney has not had much of a Ryan bump because in the last week he has been on the defensive over the latter’s budget, Medicare cuts, and his taxes.   The campaign has shifted to Romney defending himself and Paul and away from a critique of Obama, economy, and jobs. The next jobs report will put the economy back into the news, but for now, Paul Ryan has not yield the predicted bump in the polls.  Will the Tampa Republican Convention produce a bump?  We shall see (but also look forward to a coming blog about this were I discuss the myth of convention bumps).

Voter Suppression Minnesota Style
    Last Friday a Minnesota District Court issued an decision dismissing a case being brought by the Minnesota Voter Alliance (MVA) challenging the constitutionality of election day registration (EDR) and the right of disabled individuals who have guardians to vote. Had the suit been successful, the 500,000+ individuals who register to vote on election day potentially would have been disenfranchised along with all of the other individuals who have guardians.
    The MVA claimed that by allowing those who register to vote on election day to vote the votes of the others are being diluted.  The court simply dismissed this claim as meritless.   In effect, the MVA had failed to show an legal injury.  In rejecting the other argument about disabled voters, the court simply stated that these individuals had a constitutional right to vote and the MVA was wrong in asserting that they did not.  The ruling by the court was definitive and dismissive.  While the MVA has vowed to appeal, the case will go nowhere.  This is the second major legal loss for the MVA; their other one was challenging the constitutionality of ranked choice voting and they lost unanimously before the Minnesota Supreme Court.
    Voting rights in Minnesota are under assault.  MVA seeks to limit franchise as well as the Minnesota Majority.  Both groups raise the spectre and fears of voter impersonation, felons illegal voting, and election results altered due to voter fraud.  Again, the instances of voter fraud are so insignificant in Minnesota and across the country that one has a better chance of being struck by lightning than fraud affecting the outcome of an election.  Study after study has substantiated this proposition and there is no good evidence to contradict this assertion.  The most recent national study to support this argument was done by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program.

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