Shackelford: Obama, Wolfe And The Protest Thing

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 132 views 

Scott Shackelford provides opinion columns for our content partner, The City Wire. In his latest contribution, Shackelford attempts to dissect the protest vote in the Democratic primary against President Obama by little-known Tennessee attorney John Wolfe.

But why did Arkansans vote their displeasure in such strong numbers? Aside from the possibility that some Republican votes for Wolfe may have boosted his election night tally, the fact remains that Arkansas is quickly becoming more like the rest of the nation, where the electorate views compromise as a sign of weakness and ideologues as the true believers. In that world, where leaders who strive to broker legislative deals — as President Obama has done throughout his first term — can lose public confidence, the president’s reelection may be less of a sure bet than his supporters realize.

It’s worth noting that many Arkansas D’s are among the nation’s most conservative, which makes Wolfe’s stated progressivism an unlikely desire. Furthermore, Wolfe’s support largely came from the state’s rural counties. It is easy to understand pent-up frustrations over perceived presidential mistakes, but to choose an unknown candidate with no hope of winning seems like something else entirely.

If you see voter turnout in this race as a measure of widespread public discontent with the direction the country is going, that they would back such an unknown name is beside the point. Maybe people were looking for a cheap and easy way to send a tough message to the nation’s boss — and perhaps no more thought went into it than that.

You can read his full column at this link.