Mitt Ignores the Kung-Fu Bowler Vote

At the New York Times, Jeremy Peters has written one of those ubiquitous Matrix-inspired stories where the veil is lifted and us lay people are exposed to the realities of politics from the perspective of the wizards who run the campaigns, and who are playing a way, way different game than any of us realize.

Peters is focused on the online strategy of the Romney campaign, and particularly its response to the very real phenomenon of voters drifting away from live television and thus from maximum exposure to TV ads. It appears that Team Mitt has become convinced that web ads can and must be used for voter persuasion and not just donor or volunteer harvesting or base mobilization.

It’s not clear from Peters’ somewhat murky account whether the context of Romney’s media strategy is strictly the GOP nomination challenge, or the election on the broadest canvas. at large. But it is interesting to read the Mittbots’ sense of their own voting base.

[T]he Romney campaign has learned a few common characteristics of its online supporters. They tend to like to take online quizzes on news and entertainment Web sites. They like to share photographs. And they are interested in topics like technology, literature, home repair and child care.

But just as important is knowing where a message is likely to fall on deaf ears. In that case, the campaign has discovered certain traits that tend to be associated with people who do not respond to Mr. Romney’s ads. For example, their online behavior shows they are interested in video and casino games, bowling, martial arts and jazz.

Gaming, martial arts, bowling and jazz, eh? Well, I’m one out of four on anti-Romney indicators. As I once told a friend who assumed I had to be interested in either golf or tennis: “I don’t play any of those Republican games; I bowl.” But do martial arts and jazz fit with the bowling demographic, or at least the anti-Romney potion of it? Beats me. Sometimes I think the people quoted in this kind of story are completely making it all up to mess with our heads–you know, they are peering into our souls when we think we’re just checking email.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.