I occasionally enjoy reading the news from back home, and I was surprised to read today that the RNC has put together a website specifically targeting Mormon voters. The site, kerrywrongformormons.com, runs through a laundry list of ways in which Kerry deviates from a rather conventional list of Republican and conservative standards. The list itself, comprised of the campaign’s regular stock of anti-Kerry bullet points, is nothing new, but its targeting of members of the LDS church is sort of interesting, given that Utah has about as much chance of going Democrat as I have of sprouting antennae. (What of Mormons outside the state of Utah? I would be interested to see if their political affiliations are less locked in.) Still, as an article in the Salt Lake Tribune pointed out a couple of months ago (the article has vanished into their pay archives, unfortunately), the broad Western U.S., long a Republican stronghold based on claims regarding property rights, taxes, hands-off government, and old fashioned family values, is slowly shifting its political base. Pushed by in-migration from the coasts (come enjoy the clean air! the skiing! the good schools!), a dramatic surge in immigrant labor, and growing progressive coalitions in many western states, the votes in the West are shifting—if just barely.
The RNC has put up a number of “kerrywrongfor” sites, appealing to Catholics, Evangelicals, and, adhering to the awkward domain naming scheme, Asian Americans. All of these sites are essentially the same, but the Asian Americans site pays no attention to the religious and culture war hot-button items, focusing instead on taxes, education, health care, and the war—again, it’s the standard stock, minus the fire and brimstone. It’s odd: These sites are generic attack pieces, recirculating the same old lines, and retooled only in the slightest so as to appear targeted (“Insert population here”); the appeal to Asian Americans that Kerry is wrong for them only applies to the extent that Asian Americans are just like all other Americans. It might as well say “Cowboys” or “Man-Bugs” for all the specificity it has.
Alas, the RNC didn’t see fit to put together campaign appeals that promoted their guy or genuinely took the interests of their target population seriously. Perhaps some other enterprising organization will pick up the torch. I checked, and kerrywrongforcrooks, kerrywrongfornobidcontracts, and kerrywrongfortoptwopercentofearners are still available.