Getting the Band Back Together

A while ago I suggested that a very shrewd plan on Obama's part, geared towards driving GOTv efforts for the 2010 midterms, would focus on three things:

1. passage of some form of health care reform
2. significant movement on the DADT / DOMA front
3. significant movement on immigration reform

We've now seen #1 happen. #2 continues grinding forward, and while you can debate whether there's been 'significant' movement so far, there's definite momentum.

#3 remains up in the air. Tens of thousands of people marched on Washington in support of immigration reform on Sunday (depending on which estimates you trust, they may have outnumbered the tea party HCR protesters about 7:1) but the Congressional calendar could be tight in '10, given that a jobs bill or two plus financial industry reform are pretty much givens.

boo suggests putting it off until 2012 and using it as a wedge issue against the Pubs (suggesting a climate change bill in its stead) but I personally think that's bad strategy for two reasons. One, even though we're two years out and it's impossible to predict what the landscape will be like, I find it really hard to believe the Pubs will be able to mount any kind of credible challenger to Obama unless the economy has bottomed out, in which case no wedge issue is likely to save him. Two, if the Dems don't minimize their losses in the midterms there's a good chance of complete gridlock in Congress, which means their best shot of getting anything done in the second half of Obama's first term is to maintain control over both chambers -- which means immigration reform will only be useful as a wedge issue, since it'll have no chance of passing.

Just to give some concrete numbers on why I think those three items are key to a successful GOTV effort in November:

1. Voters worried about being able to afford health care broke for Obama 60%/38%, and represented about 2/3rds of the population
2. LGBT voters broke for Obama 70%/27%
3. Hispanic voters broke for Obama 67%/31%

Those are solid Obama voters, and big parts of the coalition that got him into office, but they need a reason to head to the polls without Obama on the ballot to provide some coat-tails.

We already know the Pub GOTV effort will be big. The tea partiers are howling for liberal blood, and sadly that's not just a metaphor. Dem success in November (or, at least, minimizing the usual midterm damage) could depend a great deal on getting those voting blocs energized and organized.

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