Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Picking Ryan Could Cost Romney Florida
state of Florida. Florida is regarded by most political pundits and media outlets as a swing state. All of the previous polls have shown that Florida is definitely in play, and could go to either Romney or President Obama. And Romney needs the electoral votes of that big state. If he doesn't win Florida, Romney would pretty much have to run the table with all of the other swing states to make up for it and have a chance to be elected.
With the battle for Florida being so close, there are two large groups in that state that Romney cannot afford to lose -- the elderly population and the Cuban community. And by picking Ryan, Romney may have hurt himself with both groups.
The elderly people in Florida make up a large part of the population there -- and they vote in higher percentages than any other segment of the population. Romney was never going to win a huge majority of this group, but he needed to keep President Obama from doing that also. And it looked like he was accomplishing that, since a recent AARP Poll showed that people over age 50 were split (with 45% supporting Romney and 45% supporting the president and 10% undecided).
By picking Ryan, Romney has put Ryan's plan to abolish Medicare and replace it with a voucher system back on the front page as a campaign issue. Ryan's plan would force seniors to purchase private insurance, which would mean they would have to spend thousands of dollars more each year than they currently have to spend -- a definite hardship for the millions living on a fixed income (like Social Security or an annuity).
Romney and Ryan are hoping that the elderly are as selfish and greedy as their own rich friends. They are telling them this would only apply to those who are 55 or younger, hoping the seniors will only care about themselves and not care about future generations. I think they are wrong. More than any other generation, seniors vote to protect future generations (their children and grandchildren), and they're not going to like the idea of Medicare (and possibly Social Security) not being available in the future.
This same issue will play in the Cuban community also. Elderly Cuban-Americans depend on Medicare (and Social Security) just like other Americans. But they also have long memories about another issue. Ryan has, in the past, proposed removing the embargo the United States has long had in place against the island of Cuba. Even though he has now flip-flopped on that issue, he may have trouble with trust among Florida's Cuban-American community.
The right-wing teabaggers love Romney's choice of Ryan, but those people were never going to vote for President Obama anyway. But the teabaggers can't carry Florida alone. They need about half of the elderly and most of the Cuban-American community to vote with them -- and by picking Ryan, Romney may well have destroyed the chances of that happening. He may have just given Florida to the Democrats.