Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

DeMint to resign, all eyes turn to Nikki Haley

December 6, 2012

Nikki HaleyIn a move that surprised even the insiders , Senator Jim DeMint announced he would be resigning from his Senate seat in January to take the helm of The Heritage Foundation.

He will be replacing Ed Feulner, who has been president since 1977. In remarks made at the foundation’s headquarters, he said:

“This is a critical time for America and there is no organization in the country, in fact, the world, that is better positioned to convince the American people that the conservative policies that The Heritage Foundation has developed over the years are the solutions to the problems that we face as a nation,”

Speculation immediately turned to who Governor Nikki Haley would choose to replace him. His successor will be named by the Governor – the special election to replace him won’t be until 2014, when SC will elect not one but two US Senators. The top name being mentioned is Rep. Tim Scott, who would become the first black GOP Senator in decades. There are a long list of reasons why he is at the top of the list. Other names already being bandied about include Reps Mick Mulvaney, Joe Wilson, and Jeff Duncan, state Senator Tom Davis, former Ambassador David Wilkins and former Attorney General Henry McMaster.

The Washington Post outlines why they think it’s a balancing act for Nikki Haley:
On the plus side:

On the cusp of her own re-election bid in 2014, Haley gets to make a pick that will have lasting consequences on how the state is represented in Washington. If you think that choice will be made separately from Haley’s own political needs, you haven’t spent much time watching how politics is played.

On the down side:

As we noted above, Haley will be able to make a pick that solidifies a group (or groups) for her own re-election race. But almost no matter who she picks, there will be some within the party who feel as though she slighted their preferred candidate — particularly in a state with as fractious a Republican party as South Carolina. Haley must tread very carefully — not only in her final pick but in the public and private deliberations that get her to that final pick.

Then again, she COULD appoint herself – that could be interesting…..


Will Republicans learn?

November 30, 2012

learnI’m worried.

In spite of super-super majorities of Republicans in the Utah House and Senate, we lost races we “should” have won.

I’m worried that finger-pointing and blaming diverts us from being accountable. There’s a difference between learning lessons and avoiding accountability by looking to blame “everyone else”. We often do one without the other – can we reverse that and actually learn without trying to pin losses everywhere but where it belongs?

I’m worried that our chest-thumping blinds us to the cracks appearing in the foundation. Ask the GOP in Colorado if they wish they would have paid attention to the signs prior to the Dem take-over a few years back. The signs were there. The Blueprint was laid. And it’s being ignored.

I’m worried about our complacency and our arrogance. It will cost us, as it always does.

I’m worried that candidates who “got lucky” don’t realize it was luck and not skill that won their election.

I’m worried that our ability to look down the road goes about as far as the next election cycle. There are individual exceptions, of course and thank goodness. But there are far too few.

I’m worried about the circular firing squad, public flogging, eat-our-own mentality that Republicans do so well and so often. Example #1: Mitt Romney. Within nano-seconds of the race being called for Obama, people who had been Romney’s BFF’s – and scrambling for a spot in the new administration, I might add – started pushing him under the bus as fast as they could. Ann Coulter had a pretty great piece last week titled: Mitt Romney was not the problem. Read it. Learn from it. Then stop it, already.

I’m worried about the 100% or nothing litmus test we give to candidates, irrationally expecting our version of perfection.

I’m also worried at the conflicting sentiment that exists that we should never challenge or hold our own accountable, and the pedestal we sometimes often put our elected officials on.

I’m worried about candidates who make campaign promises they promptly break when the election results are finally tallied.

I’m worried that people think that getting better and learning from the past means abandoning our principles. It does not.

I think we need a good dose of this:

The New Republican Party I envision is one that will energetically seek out the best candidates for every elective office, candidates who not only agree with, but understand, and are willing to fight for a sound, honest economy, for the interests of American families and neighborhoods and communities and a strong national defense. And these candidates must be able to communicate those principles to the American people in language they understand. Inflation isn’t a textbook problem. Unemployment isn’t a textbook problem. They should be discussed in human terms.

Our candidates must be willing to communicate with every level of society, because the principles we espouse are universal and cut across traditional lines. In every Congressional district there should be a search made for young men and women who share these principles and they should be brought into positions of leadership in the local Republican Party groups. We can find attractive, articulate candidates if we look, and when we find them, we will begin to change the sorry state of affairs that has led a Democratic-controlled Congress for more than 40 years. I need not remind you that you can have the soundest principles in the world, but if you don’t have candidates who can communicate those principles, candidates who are articulate as well as principled, you are going to lose election after election. I refuse to believe that the good Lord divided this world into Republicans who defend basic values and Democrats who win elections. We have to find tough, bright young men and women who are sick and tired of cliches and the pomposity and the mind-numbing economic idiocy of the liberals in Washington.
Ronald Reagan, 1977

What do you think?

What mattered in the 2012 election cycle

November 27, 2012

It’s been almost 3 weeks since the general election of 2012 finally, painfully, blessedly, wrapped up.

For some reason, we as Republicans seem loathe to do the type of introspection that is healthy after a loss. Perhaps it’s because there’s a fine-line between learning from your experiences and placing blame when things don’t go as planned or desired. Learning = good. Blaming = not good.

With that, here are 5 things I think really mattered (besides money and incumbency – those always matter).

1. Data matters. Holy cow, does it matter. The Obama campaign told us what they were going to do. There are scads of articles over the last couple of years talking about how data was driving the 2012 election. Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, took the Obama campaign into new territory (again), where his plethora of data geeks hung out in “The Cave” and analyzed input day in and day out for months. Data is not enough, however. It has to be used! The Obama campaign knew this. So did Jim Matheson. He dug deeply into data – and I mean deeply. His entire campaign was data-driven AND he translated that data into a plan. He worked the plan. He tested and tweaked the plan and worked some more. Other Utah candidates used data to drive winning campaigns as well, perhaps most notably Ben McAdams and Orrin Hatch.

2. GOTV matters. Get-out-the-vote strategies in close elections can make the difference between waking up as a president-elect, or a footnote on Wikipedia. (I know. Ouch.) GOTV sounds SO basic – and it is – yet Democrats beat us at this game over and over and over when it matters most. (Let’s be honest – if you’re down 30 or 40 points, it’s not going to get you a win.) In Utah, I think the Democrats have us beaten on GOTV. I know, I know, Republicans have super-majorities in the House and Senate, have the Governor’s mansion, and have almost all of the federal delegation. BUT – most of those races are decided by convention and almost all are decided by the June primary at the latest. When it really counts, we don’t do GOTV all that well. Largely, we don’t need to know how – so we ignore it or we hope we can figure it out on the fly. Plus, it’s not a “sexy” campaign position, so there aren’t many people scrambling to do the job…….

3. Social media and an online presence matter. Obama won younger voters, plain and simple – and they’re online. You can get some good insight into the level of engagement any given campaign has by looking at their online presence. It’s not a perfect predictor of outcome but a candidate that “gets it” is much more likely to win when matched against a relatively equal opponent who doesn’t get it. Here’s a nugget – the Obama campaign outspent Romney online by a margin of 10 to 1 – and they used data to drive those spending decisions. Messina predicts that future campaigns will be a combination of online work plus old-fashioned GOTV efforts. He says the TV markets have reached (probably passed) their peak effectiveness. Times, they are a’changing, and just like 2008, the Democrats are catching the wave of the future while Republicans are wondering what hit them.

4. Likeability matters. We may not like that likeability matters. We may grumble and complain because it seems so shallow and contrived – but it matters. Who “connects” better? Who would you rather hang out with? A lot of times, that’s who you vote for. It’s all an illusion, of course – only the tiniest fraction of people actually KNOW presidential candidates. A slightly larger percentage know Congressional candidates but the bottom line is, how likeable a candidate appears to be is a determining factor for many voters. Obama had it in spades. Matheson ran “You know me” ads and worked to portray his opponent as someone NOT likeable – because it matters.

5. Messaging matters. “Legitimate rape,” anyone? The limited-government, pro-family, pro-freedom platform of the Republican party is a good one. It carries broad appeal, but we lose the messaging war time after time after time. We seem to forget that all politics is personal. Every voter wants to know why it should matter to THEM. From top to bottom, politics is personal. Why should I care? How does this affect me? How does this affect my family? My friend John English put it well: “The GOP needs to resist the urge of demographic pandering but more importantly, they need to stamp out the appearance of demographic dismissal. Saying “Oh, single women voted 67% for Obama? Eh, they just want big government as their sugar daddy” will do nothing to leave the door open to sway single women in the future.”

We can – and we must – learn the lessons of the 2012 election cycle or be prepared to keep losing races we “should” win.

A post-election conversation

November 14, 2012

The day after the election, I joined host Doug Fabrizio, Kirk Jowers, Quin Monson, Robert Gehrke and Jim Dabakis for an hour-long discussion of the 2012 elections.

Listen in here, then let me know what you think.

Romney: We’re doing this for something bigger than ourselves

November 6, 2012

The contrasts could not be clearer.

We need a strong America

November 6, 2012

Matheson tries to mislead voters again.

November 5, 2012

In a last-ditch, desperate attempt to cling to power, Congressman Jim Matheson sent one final mailer. Did it include his plan for the future? A list of the issues Utah could count on him to champion? Even a tally of everything he got accomplished during the last 12 years? Of course not!

He tried once again to tie himself to Romney’s coattails, claiming he was the best fit for a Romney presidency. The expert source he quotes to affirm that stance? His own campaign website. *Eyeroll*

In case you missed it, the Republican presidential nominee has not only endorsed Matheson’s opponent, Mia Love, but has even cut a direct-to-camera ad for her telling Utahns SHE is the one he trusts.

Apparently he’s counting on voters who #1, don’t watch TV, #2, don’t listen to the radio, #3, don’t read the newspapers and #4, don’t turn to the Internet for a little fact-checking. Good luck with that.

Every single poll but his own shows him losing. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.

Is it any wonder he’s worked so hard to distance himself from Obama and his 20-something-percent approval rating in Utah? (But just for the record: he IS voting for Obama tomorrow. He will NOT be voting for himself. He doesn’t live in the 4th Congressional district.)

Mitt Romney: Vote for love of country. Obama: Vote for revenge

November 3, 2012

Clear differences. Vote for the grown-up on Tuesday. Vote Mitt Romney.

ICYMI: 4 yo in tears over Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney

November 2, 2012

Now really – who DOESN’T feel this way?! (At least a little!)

Biden: Never been a day I’ve been proud to be his vice-president

November 2, 2012

Not a single one…..

Joe Biden – the gift that keeps on giving…..

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