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For Obama, Still Not Too Late to Correct the Course

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Last month I wrote a blog saying:

"Don't let the Republican Party and its allied Super PACs define and limit the congressional districts' playing field to only the issue of supporting or opposing candidates who voted against or in support of Obamacare. The Democratic Party political strategy for the mid-terms elections should be based on national issues, such as: minimum wage, equal pay for women, income inequality, immigration reform, and protection of the right to vote."

Notwithstanding the national racial dialogue provoked by the comments of the owner of the NBA Clippers basketball team, the pending House Select Committee to investigate Benghazi, the Syrian crisis and Boko Haram in Nigeria, the 2014 congressional elections remain a formidable challenge to President Obama. He has to activate and motivate those strategic components of his presidential campaign-voting base to convince them to actually go to the polls and vote.

When some members of a crowd to whom the president was speaking at a recent funding raising event in San Jose, Calif. booed the names of Republicans or their proposals recited by the president, his response was, "Don't boo, go vote!"

Consequently, it completely confounded us and some Obama supporters, who had waited patiently to see and hear him after he arrived three and a half hours late to the San Jose event that the following day, that he would visit a Wal-Mart in the nearby community of Mountain View.

The president's visit ignited a firestorm of criticism from supporters here in Silicon Valley. Robert Reich, former secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, asked the question that best reflects the views of many local Obama supporters: "What numbskull in the White House arranged this?"

During the past several months our travels to several college campuses and communities in "blue" and "red" states persuades us that the support for Obama continues among substantial segments of those voters who elected him. While such support appears to be "a mile wide," it is more likely only "an inch deep."

Substantial numbers of people among his voting base like and personally admire the president, the first lady and his family. But his drone policy, the Snowden revelations, the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay prison, the uncertainty as to whether or not he will approve the Keystone pipeline (these supporters oppose it), the failure to effect a "two state" resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, growing economic inequality, the continued burden of college loan debt, etc., have substantially dampened and eroded their active enthusiasm for his administration.

"A Pew Research Center/USA Today poll found this week that 65 percent of Americans would "like to see a president who offers different policies and programs." Only 30 percent said they wanted ones "similar to those of the Obama administration. Some of those disaffected citizens are presumably Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who will ultimately support the party's nominee in 2016." (Column by Brendan Nyan, May 8, 2014 New York Times)

Redistricting has increased the "white" share of the average Republican district. Unless significant, consistent and immediate outreach to white women, the 18-24 youth voter, and the African-American, Hispanic and LGBT communities is achieved, TODAY, most indications are that the Republican and Tea Party backed candidates will sweep the mid-term congressional elections.

Successful passage of a bill reforming our immigration policy is a double-edged sword. Some people who voted for Obama and who might otherwise support immigration reform may not do so if such "reform" is, in fact and law, perceived as "amnesty with a path to citizenship AND the immediate right to vote " for 12 million undocumented persons.

This is an issue that appears to be lying beneath the surface among the very people being polled by "the experts" among persons assumed who might vote for Obama. On a best case basis based on our travels and observations we believe such potential voters are more likely to stay at home than vote. Or, on a worst case basis, likely to vote for a Republican congressional candidate.

The White House should not dismiss or try to kill the messengers. Prompt and immediate attention should be given to addressing the content of their messages.