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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

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You are currently viewing all posts written by David Domke. David Domke is a former journalist with The Orange County Register and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is now a Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. He is the author of two books, including (with Kevin Coe) The God Strategy: How Religion Became A Political Weapon in America (updated edition 2010). In 2006 he was named the Washington state Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

June 20, 2012 at 6:45 AM

Mitt Romney’s immigration choice


A Tea Party supporter makes clear her views on illegal immigration at a public event in November 2009. (Photo courtesy of Flickr member katerkate.)

Mitt Romney has arrived at his first general election crossroads.

President Barack Obama on Friday announced his administration would grant work permits to the children of illegal immigrants, provided the children came to America before they were 16 years old and have no legal troubles. This was an executive-branch act, controversial but seemingly within the limits of the law.

Yesterday a Bloomberg poll found that almost two-thirds of likely voters support the president’s decision, and that independent voters do so by a 2-to-1 margin. Another poll in five key “battleground” states suggests that Obama’s action has — at least initially — elevated enthusiasm among Latinos to vote for the president in November.

But the Tea Party base of the Republican Party is not close to on board. In the GOP primary, Rick Perry was torn apart for a relatively moderate position on immigration, and Romney ran to Perry’s right by encouraging illegal immigrants to “self-deport” themselves back to their countries.

But now it’s the general election, and Romney must choose: party base or independents?

He hasn’t decided yet. But he will have to.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, deportation, elected officials

June 14, 2012 at 6:45 AM

The return of pop culture: “Obama Boy” has a crush on President

A youtube video of a passionate Barack Obama fan, self-identifying as “Obama Boy,” signals the return of popular culture as a creative force in presidential politics.

Just over a month ago, President Barack Obama announced that he personally supports same-sex marriage. How this position will affect him in the election is unclear.

But we now know this: Obama Boy has a crush on him.


Comments | More in Culture, National | Topics: Justin Brown, Obama Boy, Obama girl

May 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM

President Obama’s Embrace of Gay Marriage: An Act of Political Courage? Or Not?

Obama became the first U.S. president to endorse same-sex marriage on Wednesday. Please join me and other UW Election Eye contributors to talk about this decision—what it means, what impact it might have this year and beyond, and how you view the president himself.

SEATTLE — President Barack Obama made history Wednesday by announcing his support for same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News. Today he is here in Seattle. In fact, this morning he will be standing in my footprints—literally.

Gay Marriage

Citizens outside the Manhattan Marriage License Bureau on February 12, 2009 (Photo courtesy of Flickr member Brittany Travis).

Obama’s announcement would have been a remarkable political decision at any time, and is especially so in the middle of a tough re-election campaign.

Here’s a remarkable statistic: 33 times gay marriage has been on the ballot in states since 1998, and 32 times opponents of gay marriage have won. The impact of this decision on the 2012 presidential campaign is a huge unknown, but there is more than a little chance that it will hurt the president. Obama won North Carolina by less than 1% in 2008, and two days ago 61% of voters in the Tar Heel State approved a constitutional amendment banning both same-sex marriage and civil unions. The president has taken a huge political gamble. Why he did it will be debated for days to come.

But he did it. And America will never be the same.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, gay marriage, Same-sex marriage

April 26, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Eight words that will decide the future of gay marriage in America, including Amendment One in North Carolina in two weeks

On May 8, citizens of North Carolina will vote on Amendment One — a bill regarding the definition of domestic unions. For younger voters, it is about civil rights. 

Gay Marriage

Citizens outside the Manhattan Marriage License Bureau on February 12, 2009 (Photo courtesy of Flickr member Brittany Travis).

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — In eight words, the young woman shredded the plan of the National Organization for Marriage and provided a glimpse of the future, if the data are to be believed.

I met her while ordering some food in this tough, strong town in the Piedmont Triad region of this state. She was African American, and I told her we were out her way from Seattle, finding stories and people in the midst of the 2012 election campaign.

Then I asked her what she thought of Amendment One, a proposition on the North Carolina ballot on May 8 that would revise the state constitution so that it legally recognizes only one kind of domestic union: that between a man and a woman.

In response she said, “That’s the thing about civil rights, isn’t it?”

Eight words. They could shake North Carolina on May 8, when Amendment One will either be passed or voted down, and they could foretell the future of same-sex marriage in Washington if a referendum makes the November ballot.


Comments | More in Culture, National, State | Topics: African Americans, Amendment One, civil right

April 19, 2012 at 5:56 AM

Staging of campaign events is a learning curve for Romney campaign

The backdrop and podium at Mitt Romney speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 18, 2012. (Photo by Elizabeth Wiley/UW Election Eye)

Despite months of primary election speeches and events, the Romney campaign is still working out the kinks of their stagecraft as they transition to the general election.

CHARLOTTE, NC — Presidential campaign events are the ultimate in political stagecraft. Advance teams make sure that everything is carefully planned, from the choice of the location to the makeup of the audience to where TV cameras are placed to who introduces the speaker.

Mitt Romney’s campaign is still getting up to speed, I’d say.

Yesterday Romney delivered a speech on the rooftop of a building that is a long stone toss from the Bank of America Stadium, where President Barack Obama will speak at the Democratic National Convention in September. Romney’s campaign called it a “prebuttal” — an opportunity for the likely Republican presidential nominee to frame the general election on the turf of the Democratic candidate. Romney will deliver a similar speech in Ohio today.

In theory, it was a good idea. In practice, it was labored.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Barack Obama, campaign events, Charlotte

April 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Seattle might learn from Philadelphia on sports stadiums

Citizens Bank Park

View from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by David Domke/UW Election Eye).

PHILADELPHIA — Sports stadiums are a big deal for cities.

They cost a lot of money to build, their teams inspire passion among fans and loathing among rivals, they spur significant revenue among restaurants and other businesses in the vicinity, and they draw traffic like honey draws bees. We know all this well in Seattle.

In Philadelphia on Sunday, I saw the upsides.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Citizens Bank Park, Cultural sights, Philadelphia

April 7, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Rick Santorum to return to campaign trail Tuesday — joined by wife Karen in higher profile role

Rick Santorum appears to have a plan for moving ahead. It involves his wife. To squelch murmurs and questions about whether he might be dropping out of the Republican Party presidential contest, Santorum released information Saturday on some of his campaign events planned for this coming week. He announced he will campaign in Pennsylvania, where he served…


Comments | More in National | Topics: Ann Romney, Family, James Dobson

April 4, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Mitt Romney faces battle on two fronts — Barack Obama launches general election, yet Rick Santorum fights on

Signs, signs everywhere a sign.

On Tuesday the signs all suggested that the Republican presidential primary was over, done, finito, and that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were ready to rumble. Someone needs to tell Rick Santorum, though, because he was defiant in defeat.


Comments | More in National | Topics: Associated Press, Barack Obama, budget

March 26, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Rick Santorum uses Supreme Court hearings to hit Mitt Romney on health care

Rick Santorum is holding a public event and press conference outside the Supreme Court right now to hit Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on health care. It’s a smart move by Santorum as Romney has to navigate one of the “landmines” I mentioned in my post this morning. On Fox News this morning, Santorum said this: “The…


Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, healthcare, Heath care

March 26, 2012 at 5:45 AM

Party leaders, news media say Republican nomination is over, but Romney still faces landmines

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum bowls in Wisconsin on March 24, 2012. (Photo by Wausau, Wisconsin Daily Herald)

Note: this is the first of two related posts on the state of the 2012 Republican presidential contest. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow morning.

The leaders of the Republican Party and the national news media have decided that Mitt Romney is going to be the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012.

For example, national news outlets barely waved at Rick Santorum’s big win on Saturday in the Louisiana primary. The New York Times story included this as the second sentence: “The win gave Mr. Santorum a much-needed psychological boost but it will be unlikely to change the dynamics of the race.” And Politico led its coverage with this: “Rick Santorum picked up another win on Saturday in Louisiana, but the victory won’t significantly change the delegate advantage held by Mitt Romney in the GOP nominating contest.”

On Sunday morning, Republican establishment types left no doubt. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN, “I think the primary is over. Romney will be the nominee. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. But she’s warming up.” And former Mississippi governor and GOP insider Haley Barbour said on NBC, “Unless Romney steps on a land mine, it looks like he will be the nominee.”

Romney is certainly the most likely candidate to be the nominee, but I think it’s too early to make the call.

Many news outlets and the GOP leadership are ready to move on to the general election, but the party’s base of evangelical Protestants is not ready to do so. Romney has yet to win a state where the Republican electorate is more than 50% evangelical.

There are at least three serious land mines still out there for Romney.


Comments | Topics: bowling, Caucuses, delegates

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