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

School zones across city to get speed cameras

New Yorkers who speed through a school zone may be more likely to get a ticket in the coming weeks, whether or not a uniformed…

Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sep. 3: 'Houdini,' 'Colbert'…

Watch "Homeland" star Mandy Patinkin on "The Colbert Report."

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

Gossip

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth apparently love each…

Miley Cyrus may have broken off her engagement to Liam Hemsworth almost a year ago, but that doesn't mean she doesn't still have feelings for…

The Word

The Word: Charlize Theron isn't perfect, so stop…

We've been thinking a lot about famous women's bodies this week, obviously, so here's some food for thought to go with all that virtual ogling.…

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Style

5 minutes with..Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff on her Spring '15 show.