Social media has only magnified this process. In the last go round, President Obama was successful in bringing the electoral process to the modern information age with his use of social media and effectively connected with the electorate. His messages of “hope and change” led him to a victorious path.
So why is Mitt Romney not connecting? On the surface he has the traits needed to shine in the media age: good looks, optimism and a personal fortune.
It is hard to believe that the Republican Party that is facing an incumbent president that is serving in a down economy with low popularity numbers and running on a weak record is struggling to pick a formable candidate.
I attended Wednesday’s rally in Atlanta to get a firsthand look at this presidential contender. Romney spoke to small crowd of around 500. The crowd was friendly and one handmade sign captured the mood, “Georgia is comMITTed to Romney.”
My impression of Romney is that he is a nice guy. If I needed someone to pick up my mail, feed my dog and water my plants, he would be the right man for the job. However, would he be the right choice for my president? Romney seems to have garnered the support of the establishment. But is he building a winnable coalition within the party?
In this friendly gathering Romney struggled. His stump speech did not flow and he failed to connect. The polite applause did not roar with excitement, ready to ignite the troops.
He did make a few references to fellow contenders Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as being “Washington insiders,” but I would have thought he would have said something to make a memorable mark. Romney failed to explain why he needed those in the audience to vote for him.
When I asked him “Why should Georgians support him,” he responded, “I’m sure you got something from my speech.” A shocking response from a seasoned presidential candidate.
The Romney camp has down played the recent three-state sweep by Rick Santorum. These losses have exposed the major vulnerabilities of Romney.
What Romney is saying now is not connecting with voters. Romney should take a cue from a former two-term Democratic President who like a laser beam reiterated in his campaign, “It’s the economy stupid.” People are tired of the malaise. They want to go back to good times. Why else would Madonna have been chosen to perform the Super Bowl half time show featuring her song from the 1990s “Vogue”?
Romney needs to transfer the optimism that he has and excite the electorate with a message that “tomorrow is a better day.” He needs to discover his groove while breaking through the noise and showcase that he can be a leader, not a manager. Voters crave a visionary leader during difficult times.
The highlight for me was a comment from a Secret Service agent. There was a man in front of me with a strange plastic package. The agent called out to him and asked “Is that glitter?” (referring to the incident in Colorado when the Secret Service apprehended a man who attempted to throw glitter on Romney on the primary night speech). Turns out it was a baseball in its original packaging.
But maybe the agent was on to something; maybe Romney needs some glitter to glisten a direct path to the White House.
Political scientist Dr. Wilson Triviño of Cobb is a speaker and writer for www.T4Vista.com.