Republican congressional strategist predicts election will be close
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 00:10
Ken Spain, a Republican congressional strategist, predicted that the presidential election will be close due to growing public frustration with Republican and Democratic discordance.
Spain, who spoke as a part of the National Agenda Speaker Series in Mitchell Hall on Wednesday, has worked in Washington, D.C. for the National Republican Congressional committee as a communication director and national spokesman, in New Mexico as the communication director for the Republican presidential campaign in 2004 and as a strategist for several members of Congress.
According to Spain, Voters are frustrated with the lack of cooperation from both parties, especially with President Barack Obama and Republicans in the House of Representatives, who opposed Obama at every turn. If it continues to disrupt the progress for the country, he said he predicted there could be significant political fallout.
“In 2013, I think that the public is pretty sick and tired of not coming together,” Spain said.
Sophomores Allaire Stritzinger, political science major and member of the College Republicans club, and Danielle Staggs, international relations major and member of the College Democrats club, said they were most interested to hear Spain’s thoughts about the polarization of the parties in congress that occurred after the 2010 elections.
Stritzenger said she thinks party polarization is the cause of voters’ disinterest in this year’s election.
“I feel like it’s kind of created voter apathy because nobody wants to align themselves,” Stritzinger said.
Staggs, who is currently registered as an Independent, said political candidates’ bickering has discouraged her from faith in politics.
“Both sides are very volatile,” Staggs said. “They’re just like eating at each other for very insignificant things.”
Spain said that many of the public holds a similar to opinion to Staggs’.
He also said he suspects the GOP will redefine itself after this year’s election. Many Republicans have suggested abandoning social conservatives, but Spain said that action could backfire.
“What I’m seeing in terms of younger Republicans is that there is becoming much more of a Libertarian Party that cares more about fiscal and economic issues and less so about social issues,” Spain said.
However, social conservative voters are a critical part of the Republican Party, according to Spain. They are typically the most active volunteers, and the Republican Party’s abandonment of these constituents could result in a Democratic takeover of these citizens in future elections.
“We get two, four, six years down the road, and maybe an issue like the environment becomes more of a moral issue, or a moral calling, and Democrats are therefore able to break off 20 percent of the social conservative constituency by bringing people over on that—that’s the election,” he said.