Associated Press report this week, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and Senator Joe Manchin both decline to support the president due to his energy policies. Manchin announced his decision not to endorse Obama last month.
Tomblin told the AP, “President Obama has apparently made it his mission to drive the backbone of West Virginia's economy, coal and the energy industry, out of business. That will not only hurt thousands of West Virginia families, it will destroy the economic fabric of our state."
Neither Tomblin nor Manchin said that they would support Republican Mitt Romney against Obama. Tomblin criticized Romney for “supporting policies that will end Medicare and Social Security as we know it,” a reference to the Republican budget plan crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan that would reform Medicare, which is rapidly approaching insolvency.
There are indications that other Democrats are deserting the president as well. In many campaign stops prior to the 2010 elections and since, Democratic politicians have been conspicuously absent from Obama’s visits. When President Obama visited Atlanta in August 2010, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes was a hundred miles away in Monroe County near Macon according to 11 Alive. Few Democratic politicians have opposed the president as overtly as Tomblin and Manchin, although Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga. – 8), who lost to Republican Austin Scott in 2010, was singled out as one of the “top ten Democrats opposing Obama” by Newsmax.com.
Many Democrats are opposed to the president’s policies. A report and video of interviews with protesters at Occupy Wall Street on May Day by the Washington Free Beacon revealed that many members of the left feel betrayed and angry by the president’s foreign policy, saying that little has changed since President Bush left office. Others are unhappy with what they see as the president’s assault on civil liberties. President Obama’s corporate bailouts have also earned him the ire of some in the Democratic base.
Anecdotal data indicates that some disaffected Democrats are crossing party lines to support Ron Paul. A number of groups such as Democrats for Ron Paul and the Blue Republicans are comprised of Democrats who have dumped the president for Ron Paul’s anti-war, anti-bailout philosophy. At Occupy Atlanta last year, more protesters told Examiner.com that they supported Ron Paul than President Obama.
Natural News listed ten reasons why “Democrats, liberals and progressives are choosing Ron Paul over Obama.” The list ranges from his support for legal marijuana and opposition to war to Paul’s desire to end the Federal Reserve and stop the bailouts of “wealthy banksters [sic].” The article also cites the belief that Obama will use the NDAA to put Americans “in secret military prisons, interrogate them and even kill them with no due process.” The ACLU agrees that Ron Paul is more progressive than Obama on a host of civil liberties and anti-war issues.
The Democratic opposition to Obama is reflected in an April 2012 CBS News poll. Thirteen percent of Democrats disapproved of the president’s job performance and more than a third of Democrats believed that the country was headed in the wrong direction. In comparison, in a February 2009 CBS poll, “nearly all” Democrats approved of the president. According to New Hampshire’s official Democratic primary results, Ron Paul finished second behind Barack Obama with almost five percent of the vote.
Although many of the Democrats who are dissatisfied with Obama will vote for him anyway, if even a small number write in Ron Paul or vote for Ron Paul on a third party ticket, it could be enough to cost Obama several important swing states. In the absence of a Ron Paul candidacy, many Democrats might simply stay home rather than go to the polls for Obama. With the election in a statistical dead heat, even a small number of disaffected voters could sway the outcome.
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