So Goes Poland, So Goes America
After months defending traditionally red states like North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, and Ohio, Romney has finally decided to launch an offensive. Where? Poland: The predictably undefended flank of Obama’s route to 270 electoral votes.
Poland is the ancestral homeland of about 3 percent of the American population, but a higher share of a few traditionally Democratic but potentially competitive states, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where Polish-Americans constitute between 7 and 10 percent of the population. Most American Poles are Catholic, adding another reason besides geography to suggest they’re a competitive group. Romney’s visit to the old ojczyzna is sure to appeal to the hyper-nationalist descendents of immigrants that abandoned their country.
But most striking is Romney’s decision to visit Poland at all, given that the Romney campaign isn’t airing advertisements in Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania. And if the Romney camp isn’t well positioned to take advantage of gains among Polish-Americans, they would have been better able to exploit a visit to the Netherlands, since Romney is counting on the strong support of Dutch Americans to win Iowa, a state that figures increasingly prominently in the Romney camp’s electoral calculus, or Michigan, a longer shot where Romney needs both Poles and the Dutch. Santorum crushed Romney in the heavily Dutch and evangelical counties of northwestern Iowa and western Michigan, so Romney presumably has some work to do to ensure the great performance necessary to carry either state.