What Are the Key Issues for 2012?

I got a call today from a man who wants to run against Keith Ellison in Minnesota’s Fifth District. He seems like a good candidate and I suspect that he will get the nomination and that we will have more to say about him here. What I liked even more than his background (African-American born in the South Bronx, retired Marine officer) was his focus on what I think are the key issues: jobs and economic growth. Those words, in my opinion, are the talisman for 2012.

Yahoo News is running a poll on what is the top issue for 2012. The results, I think, are revealing. Yahoo News is a left-leaning site and its survey, like any internet poll, is unscientific. Yet when more than a quarter of a million people vote, the results are not meaningless. Here is where the voting currently stands:

These results are striking. Jobs–my vote–win in a landslide. In second place is “role of government,” which I take to be shorthand for “Tea Party.” Everything else is way behind. Income inequality gets 10%; those are the hard core liberals, but they aren’t numerous enough to scare anyone. Taxes are right behind at 9%. Some people care about immigration and health care–8% each–but those are secondary concerns at best, and education (3%), foreign policy (3%) and environment (dead last at 2%) are footnotes.

So, the bottom line is: any Republican candidate who doesn’t talk 24/7 about jobs and economic growth, in the context of getting government out of the way, is crazy.