Days of Change

Is There a Horse Race? | April 4, 2015

While Americans like to argue that there’s no difference between political parties or the fix is in or other arguments, this country’s democracy has usually been pretty effective. In fact, the ability of people to clean house occasionally resulted in the attempts at imperial presidency where one person has more power. This is the attempt by politicians to moderate the power of the people who elect them. We have to be aware of this when we vote.

The hope of most people who don’t love Obama is that some Republican (they would like Walker or Rand Paul, they would maybe tolerate Jeb Bush) will come along and win in 2016, undoing every deal Obama made in 8 years. That in and of itself would require some imperial presidency to accomplish. It would also be like trying to un-ring a bell. Obamacare may get replaced, but the replacement will be a government “plan” regarding health care of some sort.

The problem is that elections aren’t always about change. Democrats controlled the House for 40 years straight. That’s 20 election cycles. They kept either Roosevelt or Truman in the White House for 20 years. The closest Republicans came to that kind of run was right after Reconstruction.

Standard political calculus says that Republicans have a good chance at the White House. Obama approval is low and the Republicans now have enough local victories to claim both the House and the Senate. Still, Republican gains in 1994 did not lead to a presidential victory until 2000 and the Senate got a defection to move the majority back to the Democrats in 2001.

Presidential elections since 2000 have been using more and more micro-targeting. These methods are not especially effective in statewide elections but have serious advantages for Democrats in National elections. Here’s the method.

  • Divide your resources into three areas: States with high probability of voting your way, states with low probability of voting your way and swing states where there are a few percentage points in play.
  • Minimize your resources in states where the results are a foregone conclusion.
  • Target the high-density population centers of the swing states. There is a high correlation between densely populated areas and Democrats.
  • Focus on states with early voting and registration.
  • Use early voting rolls to determine who hasn’t voted. Harass them into voting as much as possible before election day.
  • Use the media to plant stories about how bad the other guy is and how much danger there is of your guy losing to stir up the voters you want.
  • On Election Day, round up stragglers who haven’t voted by running buses through neighborhoods where voting has not occurred yet.

Republicans need to counter this strategy since they can’t replicate it. If they ignore it like in 2012, they will lose. Even if they fight it, they may have a hard time. No matter whose running, I’d like there to be a chance that either one could win the election.

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  1. Republicans need to counter this strategy since they can’t replicate it.

    Why not? Fight fire with fire.

    Comment by Mary — April 5, 2015 @ 1:16 am

    • The Democrat strategy relies on people who crowd themselves into cities and can be leveraged by knowing where their monthly check comes from. They accept that politicians will sometimes expect their vote and get on a bus to go to the polls.

      Republicans generally space themselves further apart. They can’t be bused easily. They don’t like being told by politicians they owe them something. A Republican voter is more likely an independent than a Democrat.

      The best tool for getting Republicans to the polls is targeted advertising and social media. The GOP needs to get on Youtube, Vine, Facebook, Instagram. They need to put national ads on The Hallmark channel. They should have been doing something about voter fraud since 2006.

      Comment by 1539days — April 5, 2015 @ 2:02 am

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