Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The GOP's Strategy for Winning Hearts and Minds, and the 2016 Election

The GOP has been working at winning the 2016 Presidential Election since Barack Obama won the 2008 election. Mitch McConnell made that clear in a talk to the Heritage Foundation way back in 2010. You remember that business about the Republican priority being to limit Obama to one term? That was just one of among the many things Republicans didn't accomplish in all those 8 years.


It may be that initially, Republicans saw their opposition to President-Elect Obama as part of the "loyal opposition" tradition in politics. But when they began to see the handwriting on the wall -- the public mood and demographics meant that Obama wasn't going away anytime soon -- they turned their sights on another goal; turn Americans against government. After all, it wasn't "their government."

The Republican strategy was simple. Turn loyal opposition into outright obstructionism. If nothing works, if policies aren't prosecuted, if laws aren't passed, if vacancies aren't filled, it thwarts the Obama "liberal agenda," and as a bonus, Americans become disillusioned with government. When that happens, they'll be less likely to turn out for elections. That would favor Republicans, as it historically has, and as it did, ultimately putting the "Grand Old Party" back in control of both the House and the Senate.

The American public's approval rating for Congress has reflected the success of the GOP strategy. Back in the Year 2000, 56% of Americans approved of the way congress "handled its job." Today, that percentage has dropped to 18%.

Now, moving into the 2016 election, the presumptive nominee for the GOP, Donald Trump, trumpets the slogan, "Make America Great Again." You can buy a hat from Trump's campaign site with that slogan on it. I'd be cautious about buying anything else from Trump. His track record with truth is not good, nor are the business deals he brags about, which no less a conservative voice than the National Review, has described with poison-pen contempt.

How did such a man become the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States? The answer to that truly puzzeling question can be found in the strategy employed by the GOP leading up to the debacle that is their pending armageddon. That strategy started first with the burn down government program already addressed, followed by this general plan.

Reach out to "low information, low propensity" registered Republicans, who make up some 35% of the Republican base and generally don't vote.

Make a concerted get out the vote (GOTV) effort through direct, personal contact. These folks don't do social media. Some of the organizations leading the charge on this GOTV effort are:

UNIFIED PATRIOTS

REDSTATE

THE PRECINCTS PROJECT

US PRECINCT PROJECT

Unite the right-wing base, including the following:

National Rifle Association (NRA), Gun Owners of America (GOA), other gun groups, and militia organizations whose membership have exploded since Barack Obama was elected. Militia membership often overlaps with gun group membership. Republican strategists estimate that only half of the membership in these organizations are registered voters, and of those, only half vote. They consider this fertile ground for plowing.

The Tea Party, which has split into the Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Express, and unaffilated voters who call themselves Tea Partiers. A unified Tea Party gave the Republicans the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014 (with the complicity of an apathetic democratic electorate). In some sense, the success that Tea Party affiliated voters achieved in 2010 and 2014 was their undoing. They lost momentum, lost faith, became divided, and lost their punch. The Republican establishment, although anathema to Tea Partiers, will try to regain their trust, and their vote.

The 9-12 Project is a Ayn Rand sort of group with god thrown in for good measure. They describe their organization as a "non-partisan movement focusing on building and uniting our communities back to the place we were on 9/12/2001." Their principles include, "Government cannot force me to be charitable." The Republican establsihment sees 9-12 as a fringe of the Libertarian Party and hope to embrace them, at least until the 2016 election is over.

Smart Girl Politics Action (SGPA) describes itself as, "a grassroots community of women activists who believe in the free market, personal responsibility, and limited government." SGPA began with the mission to "engage, educate, and empower conservative women to get involved in the political process." They are essentially an organized component of Republican women. The RNC won't have to do much to entice them into the fold, but they may be pressed to GOTV for "The Donald."

SarahPAC.com is just what you'd expect it to be. Sarah Palin's personal money making venture desigend to capatilize on what she terms "her historic endorsement of Donald Trump." Palin's fund-raising message to prospective donors is that she's supporting "anti-establishment" candidates, but the RNC isn't particular. If they can glom on to Sarah's "momma grizzlies," they will. 

Grassfire formerly Patriot Action Network. This organization appears to be very social media centric. The RNC will use it to network with the organizations outlined above.

Evangelical Christians. In the recent midterm elections, white evangelicals or born-again Christians made up 26 percent of the electorate and voted for Republican candidates 78 percent to 22%.During the primaries, a plurality of self-identified white evangelicals voted for Trump (40%), while the majority split their votes between Ted Cruz (34%), Marco Rubio (11%), and John Kasich (10%). The RNC's challenge is to unify that voting block behind their presumptive nominee. It shouldn't be a problem, unless Trump says something really outrageous ("Two Corinthians" notwithstanding).

AsaMom is a "sisterhood of mommy patriots," or so it's website says.  Their mission is "to empower Moms and Moms at Heart in preserving our Constitution, country and children’s future." Their 9 principles are the same as The 9-12 Project's principles. The RNC has to convince this voting block that Donald Trump is only kidding when he says it doesn't matter what the media say as long as you have a beautiful "piece of ass" with you. Some moms might object to being objectified.

The problem the RNC had in trying to unify these groups whose commonality was primarily angry dissatisfation, was that the RNC was the "establishment" and it was peddling the same, tired establishment bullshit about Obama Care "death panels," "abortion on demand," the refusal of Obama to say "Islamic terrorism," the climate change "hoax," transgender "predators" in bathrooms, violation of Americans' Second Amendment rights, and the need to donate to the RNC to compensate for George Soros's flood of money going to the DNC. In other words, they totally misjudged the give-a-shit basis for their audience's disatisfaction, which was poor-paying jobs, no jobs, shitty jobs, and Mexicans taking all the shitty jobs that they didn't want, but were unhappy to see said Mexicans making money at. So yeah, "Fuck you, RNC, we'll vote for an asshole. That'll teach you!" And voilà -- Donald Trump.


“I will be the greatest jobs president God ever created.”
Donald Trump 2015 camapign announcement

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