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
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.