Tuesday, May 8, 2012

North Carolina's gay marriage debacle provides an opportunity for Gary Johnson--Now let's take it

So North Carolina turned the calendar back to 1835 (that was the year the Tarheel State removed civil rights from free people of color) by constitutionally blocking marriage equality or even civil unions for LGBQT people.

There's an opportunity here, however, for the Johnson campaign.

Start here:  Amendment One passed with numbers currently being reported a 61-39%.

Next think about, as Dana Milbank does, how badly President Obama has bungled the issue of same-sex marriage over the past week by allowing Joe Biden and Arne Duncan to come out in favor, while leaving himself looking like he's afraid to make a statement until after the election:

CNN's Jessica Yellin asked whether Obama was trying to "have it both ways before an election" and whether he should "stop dancing around the issue."
ABC's Jake Tapper said that "it seems cynical to hide this until after the election" and that "I don't want to hear the same talking points 15 times in a row."
NBC's Chuck Todd said with a grin, "So help me out here. He opposes bans on gay marriage, but he doesn't yet support gay marriage?"
Carney tried to parry the questions, gamely at first and then testily as reporters began to laugh at his answers. He grew uncharacteristically flustered. When an unrelated question came about whether Obama would support the re-election of scandal-plagued Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., Carney answered: "I mean -- well, yes, sure. I just don't -- I haven't -- I haven't been asked it before so I … the president -- I'll have to -- I'll have to get back to you."
From there, go to the MAP projection that there are 252,444 LGBQT citizens of North Carolina (about 3.5% of the total population).

Then think about North Carolina election results in 2008.

Bob Barr, infamous in the LGBQT community as an author of the Defense of Marriage Act, received only 25,419 votes, despite his partial recanting of his position.  Libertarian Senate candidate Chris Cole (who is openly gay) managed to pull down 130,591 votes; Libetarian Gubernatorial candidate Michael Munger (pro-gay rights) also garnered comparable numbers--120,876.

If we take Cole's numbers as a base that's 3.1%.

That's equal to, or even slightly larger than what RCP gives President Obama as an advantage over Governor Romney.

Now recall that while Cole is gay, he wasn't running in a year when being gay was a ballot issue, per se, and President Obama had done a masterfully deceptive job of convincing gays that they would get something out of his administration.  Moreover, the similarity between Cole's and Munger's numbers suggest that very little of the Senatorial vote was at all related to gay rights issues.

So what happens if Gary Johnson comes to North Carolina and says, "Here's the difference between President Obama and myself.  My position finished evolving--I believe in marriage equality, I believe in my principles.  If you believe in marriage equality, you need to send the Democratic Party a message:  principles count.  Either you stand up for us, or we don't stand up for you; we're tired of taking the crumbs off the floor under the table.  We need to be at the table.

"The way you get to the table is to tell pollsters you support Gary Johnson for President, and when I get into the Presidential Debates this fall, I won't be ashamed to represent you and your rights to the entire country."

That 252,444 number of LGBQT Tarheels suggests a possibility for the Libertarian ticket to double its potenital poll performance overnight--from a floor of 3.1% to the 6% range--just on one issue.

Will those numbers potentially evaporate in the final weeks before the General?  Possibly.  But NOW and throughout the summer is when we need them, and now is when North Carolina's Libertarian, LGBQT, and pot-smoking communities can be best be approached to engage in what you might call . . . Polling Nullification.

Polling Nullification is a concept that says, "Tell the pollster you support Gary Johnson because you want to see him in the debates, because in the debates he'll be your voice on the stage.  Send a message to Obama and Romney that if they don't start talking seriously about your issues, your vote is not secure."

There's gold in here for us, if we but mine it.

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