Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 10:13 am
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There appears to be no question that President Obama will win the lion's share of Hispanic support. But there are still very big questions to be answered about how many votes such support will translate into.
"What we know is that we don't know," says Ruy Teixeira, a political analyst at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.
"If you're the Obama campaign, there's cause for concern, because at least so far, [Hispanic support] is not translating into encouraging data on the turnout front," he says.
There's a growing bipartisan consensus that criminal justice policy needs to change, because of the costs and social consequences of keeping more than 2 million Americans behind bars. Host Michel Martin discusses the parties' platforms on criminal justice with the Sentencing Project's Marc Mauer and Marc Levin of the group Right On Crime.
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney promised to pursue a permanent fix for the country's "broken" immigration system during a Univision forum. Despite pointed questioning, Romney offered few details about how he would deal with millions of immigrants who are already in this country illegally.
And in one of the closest Senate races in the country, it looks like two politicians may be reversing their positions. Massachusetts Republican incumbent Scott Brown had maintained a slim lead in the polls for months, now suddenly he's trailing his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren in four of the five most recent voter surveys. From member station WBUR in Boston, Curt Nickisch reports it may be the result of an unusual convention bounce.
Both presidential campaigns are focusing on just a few swing states, and the relatively few remaining undecided voters. One of those states is Virginia, where a key swing constituency is military veterans.
Troops and veterans have long been considered a natural part of the Republican base. But President Obama is pushing hard for the veterans' vote to help him in a state he captured in 2008.
Here are some other guidelines for connecting with voters: Never explain anything. Subtlety is your enemy. Every campaign needs a theme. Keep it simple. Rhyming is good. And, pretend you are the voice of the people. These maxims may sound like fundamentals of today's political campaigns but they were the ideas of the country's first political consultants, Leone Baxter and Clem Whitaker. They got their start in California in the 1930s.
From the race for president, now to Congress. It's caught in a serious time crunch, not to finish its legislative business, though it hasn't done much of that this year. No, the real squeeze is in the campaign fundraising. As NPR's Peter Overby reports, lawmakers are trying to fill up lobbyists' schedules with events hoping to extract a few more dollars for their re-election bids.