Category Archives: Campaign Tactics

Welcome to the Republicans’ 21st Century Jim Crow voting laws

All the signs look good:

As of Sunday night, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight gives President Obama an 85.5 percent chance to stay in The White House. Princeton Professor Sam Wang gives the president a better chance: 98 percent. The president has yet to trail in Ohio in any legitimate poll (sorry, Rasmussen) for months and leads in Florida in a few of the latest polls. Obama is even ahead in nearly every national poll despite trailing for most of October.

Even some Republicans, like Matt Lattimer, who worked for Newt Gingrich’s campaign, wrote that the entire right-wing punditry have deluded themselves into thinking the Romney has a chance:

What is propelling Team Romney and their cheerleaders in the media appears to be wishful thinking, not empirical evidence.

With all this data, I should feel like this election is game, set, match. But I don’t.

It’s not because Obama is a “weak” candidate, as Michael Medved suggested in an asinine column, “Why the Long Face, Democrats?

Not even the Romney campaign’s decision to start airing ads and having rallies in Pennsylvania and Michigan is making me nervous. These are signs of desperation and suggests that Romney & Co. are preparing to lose in Ohio, Nevada, and, possibly, Florida and Virginia and need to find a new pathway to victory.

I am worried because 12 years ago, an election was stolen and the political run-up to this one has some similarities.

I’m OK with Al Gore defeating President Bush in the popular vote, but losing in the electoral college–that’s the U.S. electoral system. And the Republicans didn’t really “steal” the election when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was too late to start a recount. That election was stolen when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had purged tens of thousands of voters who should have been able to cast ballots and, statistically (most would have been from Democratic constituencies) at least, would have reversed the outcome of the entire election since Gore lost Florida by only 537 votes.

Voter suppression is happening again.

Earlier this election season, Florida representatives purged eligible voters from the rolls. The Florida secretary of state tried to cut early voting hours. So did Ohio. The Buckeye State and Pennsylvania have tried to implement Draconian voter I.D. laws that would prevent mostly Democrat voters from casting ballots. At least 14 other states have attempted to suppress turnout with new laws meant to prevent the mythical voter fraud.

Just this Friday, Ohio Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a declaration which could invalidate some provisional ballots. In Florida on Sunday, early voters needed a court order to cast their ballots because the Republican secretary of state had ordered polling places closed despite long lines of waiting voters Saturday night. The longest lines were primarily at “polling sites in urban areas and locations most convenient to college students, senior citizens and minority voters.” All of which are Democratic constituencies.

The Republican strategy for winning an election is clear. Republicans who rule in several states are enacting the 21st Century’s versions of Jim Crow’s literacy tests and grandfather clauses: Voter ID laws and voter roll purges. These voter suppression laws create low turnout, especially among minorities and college students, and have been the driving force behind Republican efforts to rig elections for more than a decade.

These measures also seem to be the only way Romney wins.

However, for Romney to win, with state polls as they are, the GOP must undertake a gigantic conspiracy. There has to be massive voter suppression and other funny business (like losing boxes of ballots) in multiple states with no one whistle-blowing. I can’t see that happening…

Still, you never know.

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The bigotted finish

I’ve written this before, but tears welled up in my eyes when Barack Obama stood on stage at the Democratic National Convention repeating the words “thank you” dozens of times during a minutes-long standing ovation. And I cried because of some unknown patriotism that still dwelled within – none of our European allies with a large black population has ever had a non-white president or prime minister.

However, once the primary season ended and the general campaign began, I had the idea that in the end, many cultural demons would have to be slayed for Obama to become president of the United States. He’d have to slay the generational racism of several working class families, which began because businesses used blacks as strike breakers in the early 20th Century.

I knew that the Jewish vote would also have to be convinced that a black man would stand up for them. Same is true of the elderly and Hispanics.

But I also knew that if the McCain campaign found itself on the losing end, the new GOP wouldn’t go out the same way Sen. Bob Dole did in 1996, with honor.

And the McCain campaign has definitely taken a turn for the nasty in recent days.

Shouts of “kill him” were recently heard at a GOP rally after Sarah Palin made an erroneous connection between Obama and a Chicago activist and teacher, who admittedly set off bombs at government facilities. Warm-ups for McCain and Palin are often heard emphasizing Obama’s middle name, Hussein, in attempts to paint the future president as a Muslim, which, if you ask me, seems to be an accepted bigotry for those on the right.

Then there’s John McCain calling Obama, “that one.” Now, maybe I’m reading into this a bit much, but when someone calls an equal, which is what the two candidates are, “that one,” it shows strong disdain. Add to that McCain’s racist past, and his refusal to correct any of his surrogates blatantly racist comments (one said “let them have their Tiger Woods”) and “that one” can be seen as one step away from “that boy.”

It’s going to get uglier. And the ugliness will come from one side. I’m just glad it’s not from mine.

In the end, I’m hopeful that an Obama presidency will strip away much of the remaining racism in our country and will give us greater hope for a more unified nation.

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Learning from the past – Fear wins

So, ever since I heard about livingroomcandidate.org on Slate’s Political Gabfest, I’ve been hooked. It’s a roundup of almost all of the presidential ads since 1952. Some of the ads are pure genius (and sick) like this one, which basically said, “Vote for Johnson, or die”:

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However, for the Obama Campaign, I think several tactics can be learned from watching these videos. The first, and maybe most relevant ad, comes from none other than the prez himself:

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Message: Lie about what you bring, and disparage everything about the other candidate without even mentioning his name.
My Obama recommendation: [Kids playing in the backyard; Michelle Obama sitting next to Barack smiling] Too many Americans are out of work. Crime is on the rise. Sons and daughters are dying to support a nation that has asked Americans to get out. It’s time for a change. It’s time for hope and honesty to reign in Washington. I believe I’m the man to do this job.

But don’t talk about things that the average voter won’t get, such as a candidate’s past record (unless it has something to do with the death penalty and crime, military spending and immigration):

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Now take a look at this ad by Bush:

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My Take: Al Gore didn’t win Ohio in 2000 because he didn’t scare the average voter.

Advice: [Oil fields pumping in Saudi Arabia. Images of women getting stoned and men getting beheaded. Troops getting shot at in Baghdad. Finish with an image of Osama Bin Laden. Obama voice over.] In an era of war, we need a leader who will not back down to our supposed allies in the Middle East who allow the terrorists to run free in their hills. We can not allow our allies to terrorize their citizens because we depend on their oil. We cannot send our troops into battle without body armor or batteries to power night vision goggles. And most importantly, we cannot allow enemy No. 1 to roam free in the mountains of Pakistan. As president, I will defend this nation and hunt down the terrorists where they are.

Here’s another ad from a winning Democrat:

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My take: Take on a Republican scare issue, or several issues, and embrace them.

Advice: [Begin with Osama’s face] Terrorism is our No. 1 enemy. A dependence on oil from the Middle East is No. 2. That’s why I support a temporary increase in offshore drilling, the exploration of new nuclear power plants, and the development of clean-burning coal. We’ll need these valuable resources while we transition the United States to a new kind of energy.

Advice No. 2: [The Mexican border fence. People crawling through the mud.] We need to do a better job securing our borders. Every year billions of dollars in drugs cross into the United States. Illegal immigrants are taking Jobs away from legal immigrants and hard-working Americans. And shady employers do this because they can pay the illegal immigrants a third of what they’d have to pay legalized citizens. We need comprehensive immigration reform. We need to make it easier for immigrants to come to the United States legally. We need to give the children of immigrants the chance to fulfill the American dream. My opponent, after originally supporting immigration reform, now opposes it because he kowtowed to the Republican base. You won’t ever see that happen with me.

And finally, the Obama must avoid complicated issues:

Furloughs

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Environmental issues not focused on terrorism:

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And finally, don’t get caught doing something that doesn’t befit a candidate’s stature:
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Fear is a candidate’s most powerful tool. I’m not sure if Barack Obama can make it central to his campaign, which has been based on the theme of “hope.” But I think he needs to take on one of the fear issues that he has an advantage on: terrorism, immigration, crime in the United States, the war in Afghanistan. Without scaring the American voter and reminding them constantly that Bin Laden is still alive, the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, and the dependence on foreign oil, Obama might not win this very winnable election.

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Lost for words (so I use expletives)

I can truthfully say the following:

I can prove how radical Palin’s policies are by citing actual sources, but for many Americans, it won’t matter. “She’s just like me,” they’ll say.

What a fucking arrogant nation we live in in which the undecided voters want their candidate “to be like them.” They didn’t have that in John McCain, but they do have that in Sarah Palin.

If these idiots, which is what they are, want Sarah Palin to lead them, move to Alaska and secede from the union with her. But don’t fuck up my already fucked-up country.

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I’ve been to the moon

… just as Palin’s been to Iraq. Shocking: Republicans lying for political gain.

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