William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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FASCINATING – AT 11:18 A.M. ET:  Even the Democrats are doing some soul-searching.  From the Washinton Times: 

The Democratic Party's nominee for president in 2016 won't be able to count on the President Obama's vaunted ground organization, which analysts say was one key to his re-election victory Tuesday night, a key adviser to the president said Thursday.

David Plouffe, a top White House aide, said the ground operation all stemmed from voters enthusiasm for Mr. Obama as a person and a candidate, and that kind of relationship with voters can't simply be transferred to the next candidate the Democratic party nominates for president.

"We just can't transfer this," Mr. Plouffe told reporters on a conference call Thursday. "…All of the door-knocking on Election Day, the contributions and the phone calls made is because they believed in Barack Obama."

In the final week of the campaign, political analysts questioned whether Mr. Obama's efficient ground game could overcome the enthusiasm of GOP rival Mitt Romney's supporters, which showed up in poll after poll in the days preceding the election.

But the president returned his Democratic base to the polls in higher proportions than he did for his historic 2008 election, with young voters, women and minorities all approached or exceeded their support of Mr. Obama four years ago.

In the end, Mr. Obama's turnout operation overcome what polls said was lower enthusiasm for the president and his handling of the economy.

COMMENT:  It is the oldest cliché in politics.  "The only poll that counts is the one on election day."  It wasn't only that Obama's people got out their vote, it's that Romney's people didn't.  It is shocking to realize that Romney actually received fewer votes than did John McCain. 

The Democrats practiced old-time, pre-TV Chicago precinct politics.  Their operation is designed around knowing their voters, knowing their problems, their beliefs, where they live and how they live.  In Chicago precinct politics the precinct captain knows every person in his precinct.  If Mrs. McGuire complains about a dangerous traffic corner for children, the precinct captain makes sure a crossing guard is assigned.  If Joe Torrago just returned from military service, the precinct captain makes sure he gets his G.I. benefits.  Voters go to the polls one by one, not as a mass statistic.

By the way, I'm not sure that Plouffe is entirely right that the Dem ground game won't translate to 2016.  It may not be as effective because the candidate might not be as magnetic to certain parts of the population.  But that infrastucture remains in place.  Those files can be used.

November 10, 2012