Find The Blue

The strategy of the White House is clear, five weeks before the elections, as President Obama and his team try to spur Democratic voters to get to the polls in November.

Find the pockets of “Blue” voters, and get those Democrats to the polls.

Today, Mr. Obama has two events in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Bernalillo County is the largest county in terms of population, one that has gone for the Democrats in the last five Presidential elections.

But Albuquerque is also an example of the difficulty Democrats are having, as last November, Richard Berry was elected as the first Republican mayor of that city in 24 years.

Now the President hopes to re-create some of his 2008 magic, and get more Democrats out to vote this year.  Bernalillo County gave Obama almost 60% of the vote two years ago.

Later today, it’s on to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where the President will urge college students and more liberal voters to make sure they vote.

I never did find a complete answer on how long it has been since Dane County, Wisconsin voted for a Republican Presidential candidate – it could be 1908 – but you get the picture. 

This stop in Wisconsin is in another area that is strong Democratic territory, where votes will be needed in five weeks in both races for Senate and Governor.  Polls show Democrats behind in both.

“The Republican advantage is largely predicated on a small turnout,” said chief political advisory David Axelrod, who is the Democratic version of Karl Rove in this White House.

“If there’s a large turnout, Democrats are going to do well,” Axelrod argued about these blue counties and states.

There is a grain of truth in Axelrod’s arguments, but polls also indicate that the energy and the big turnout is going to be on the Republican side, the exact opposite of what we saw in 2008.

One note about the Democratic get-out-the-vote machine, which functioned so well in 2008, but seems to have stumbled this year.

On Monday evening, I got a text from the group that did a lot of campaign work for Obama, Organizing For America.

The text was promoting an appearance at the University of Maryland on Tuesday by Health Secretary Sebelius, where people could also watch President Obama’s speech from the University of Wisconsin.

But the text was part of a much longer string of texts that were sent about other events.

One was about President Obama’s birthday in August.  Another was on his Oval Office speech on Iraq from a few weeks ago.  And there was one about an announcement by the Democratic National party chair Tim Kaine.

It struck me that this errant text wasn’t a mistake OFA would have made in 2008, when the Obama machine was a well oiled animal.

But now, it seems to be leaking some oil, and that text only raised more questions about Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.

Five weeks to go.


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