If Mitt Romney is going to beat Barack Obama in November, he has to convince blue collar Reagan Democrats in key industrial swing states to vote affirmatively for Romney. Many of these Reagan Democrats voted for Obama in 2008 but are not solidly in Obama's camp for 2012.
In the New York Post, Jerry Della Femina, a member of the Advertising Copywriters Creative Hall of Fame, gives advice to the Romney campaign about how Romney can win over the critical Reagan Democrat demographic.
Famina writes that Romney needs to win over “a good number of intelligent, caring, middle-class Democrats who are a soft nudge away from casting their vote for Romney.” He notes that these Reagan Democrats “were mostly white, socially conservative blue-collar workers, who lived in the Northeast, and were attracted to Reagan’s social conservatism.”
This critical cohort can also be described as Catholics, white ethnics, voted for John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy in the 1960s. In fact, many Reagan Democrats were fervent RFK Democrats during the 1968 campaign during which Robert Kennedy was shot and killed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
Stan Greenberg, the Democratic pollster who works with Democrats like James Carville, once found that Macomb County, north of Detroit, embodies the quintessential Reagan Democrat county. Greenberg notes in his book The Two Americas, the county voted 63 percent for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and 66 percent for Reagan in 1984.
Greenberg concluded that these Democrats go away from the party when they do not see Democrats as “champions of their middle-class aspirations” and instead see them as “the party as working primarily for the benefit of others, especially African Americans and the very poor.” Of course, these Democrats also go away from Republicans if they see Republicans as the party of corporate welfare.
Famina says some commercials that could help Romney win over Reagan Democrats would be those that feature “Democrats who’ve actually decided to vote for Romney.”
“It would be word-for-word true, though soft in tone,” Famina writes. “The ad would open with a man, about 40, sitting in his living room with his wife and kids seated next to him. He looks into the camera and says:
“I’ve voted Democratic all my life. In 2008 I voted for Barack Obama. It was a vote I am proud of. I wanted to be part of the generation that voted a black man into the presidency of the United States. It was the right vote for the right reason. But, sadly, it was for the wrong man. I don’t think this country can survive four more years of Barack Obama as president. I know my family can’t. I lost my job two years ago, and I fear I’m going to lose my house. Mitt Romney has the business experience to bring back our economy fast. He has my vote.”
Famina writes that other "Democrats for Romney" commercials could feature:
A woman who wanted Hillary Clinton in 2008 but voted for Obama in the general election.
A middle-class African-American owner of a declining small business.
A student who enthusiastically cast his first vote in 2008 for Obama but hasn’t been able to find a job since then.