CB: You don’t have the luxury of being ideological when you have to deliver for your people. Christie knows that middle-of-the-road independent voters don’t want politicians who simply will fight and say no for political reasons.
The idea that the New Jersey governor is willing to work with the president to get something done positions Christie well for 2016 [if he chooses to run for president]. There is definitely the perception that it is a political calculation. Voters, particularly women, are turned off by the polarization in Washington and the Tea Party. The photos of the governor with Obama position Christie with those voters.
TR: The polls show Obama and Romney neck and neck in the battleground states. What are the early-voting trends indicating?
CB: Early voting is outperforming 2008. I attribute that to the base of the Democratic Party being determined to come out to vote and put the president back in office. There’s been a lot of Republican spin about how Democrats, especially minorities, weren’t going to turn out for the president.
If Republicans are betting their chances on winning this election on African Americans and Latinos not turning out, it’s fool’s gold; it’s idiotic. Republicans are betting the house that this election is going to buck a historical trend and be whiter. If you look at presidential elections over the past two decades, the electorate is not going whiter — it is going more diverse. And the early vote is indicative of that.
Leila McDowell is a journalist and former broadcast reporter. She also serves as managing director for communications at Advancement Project.