Campaign goes south: Pandering for the vote

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign stop at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mobile, Alabama.
GETTY IMAGES

For complaints, suggestions and digital attaboys, e-mail us at brayden.simms@metro.us.

You might be a redneck if you’re voting in the Deep South primaries in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday. (We mean no offense by this; more on it in just a bit.) Of course, there are many possible neck colors among the Southern voting populace, but Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are probably hoping for the darkest crimson as they attempt to convince conservatives that they best represent old Dixie ideology in an effort to amp their flagging candidacies.

Now, we belong to the camp that sees Mitt Romney as the inevitable GOP presidential nominee. That’s based on the potent combination of his superior (estimated) delegate haul and his advantages in establishment support and, the real vote-buyer, campaign cash. But math and numbers have never had strong support among the Republican base, so we’re guessing that today’s elections will exist outside of this framework.

Romney understands his campaign’s failure to gain serious conservative traction in the South, with its large evangelical demographics. (He admitted that the contests were “a bit of an away game” for him.) As such, he’s stooped to Gingrich-levels of obvious pandering, telling a Mississippi audience last week that he’s “learning to say ‘y’all’ and I like grits, strange things are happening to me.” He’s also enlisting the support of You Might Be A Redneck luminary Jeff Foxworthy. (See? Foreshadowing, not hate speech!)

What makes the whole situation even more cringeworthy, though, is this: There is some evidence to suggest that these deceitful tactics might actually work. According to Public Policy Polling data, a near-plurality of likely Republican voters in Alabama and Mississippi hold seriously questionable views on Barack Obama, including the pervasive belief that the president is in fact a secret Muslim. It’s not a huge leap to imagine that a group of people so fundamentally opposed to Obama that they believe this sort of unsupported fallacy might actually fall victim to the irreconcilable idea that Romney may truly be representative of the Deep South, with its historical poverty and, yes, love of grits.

The Not-Romneys must be hoping that the South asserts its famous independence and refutes Mitt’s awkward vote-shopping. It’d take a huge upset to change the campaign narrative. But then, stranger things have happened.


Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter
@metropolitik


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.