The election results of last week's special election in NY-26 were 47%-D 43%-R 9%-Tea and 1%-Green. A disappointment for the GOP, of course, that has made the Left gleeful in their gloating over their victory, even going so far as calling it a 'political earthquake.' However, in looking at it from afar, it's natural to see how Republican Jane Corwin lost the race and her loss has more to do with what the Left did—and what the Republicans did not do—than it was an earthquake, tsunami, or wave.
It is true that the Democrats have out-messaged Republicans on the Medicare issue [it is, apparently, far more effective showing grandma being pushed over a cliff than kids eating cat food because the country is broke--grandmas vote and kids don't, after all]. However, there was more to losing NY 26 than mere messaging.
For example, there was the third-party candidate, faux Tea Party guy Jack Davis, that sucked some of the votes from Jane Corwin. However, beyond the messaging and third-party candidate, as is often the case, it was the Left's ground game left the Right's in the dust and, quite frankly, it is the ground game that will make or break 2012 for Republican candidates—if the GOP, or individuals who do not want to see America overrun by Marxist union bosses, can learn from the NY-26 loss.
Here's the first evidence that the GOP was asleep at the switch in its ground game:
OFA-NY hosted 22 phone banks in the district and in other parts of the state over the 12 days leading up to Tuesday’s election – logging a total of 23,520 calls since May 12; and about 20 percent of the campaign’s GOTV 77,000 calls – from Thursday to Tuesday –originated from OFA phone banks, according to internal campaign records.
The group also made 3,402 in-person contacts with voters out of a 53,000-contact door-knocking efforts led by local Democrats, unions and Hochul’s own field organizers.
And OFA used its vaunted email list to recruit volunteers, text likely voters and push blog posts and news stories favorable to Hochul – and whacking Republican Jane Corwin, who lost by a slim four points in a tight three-way race to replace shirtless and seat-less former GOP Rep. Chris Lee.
In a press release last week, the Teamsters gave some indication of what they did on the ground in NY-26.
"Many of our local unions supported Hochul by going door-to-door, phone banking, direct-mail activities and participating in a Labor Walk earlier this month," said Gene Delorme, President of Teamsters Joint Council 46 in Albany.
On its website, the Communication Workers of America stated:
CWA members in Buffalo and surrounding Erie County made phone calls and knocked on doors for winner Kathy Hochul, helping voters understand what was at stake. Local 1122 President Jim Wagner said that by Tuesday night, "We were feeling pretty confident."
"Our local, all of CWA in western New York and the rest of the labor community stepped up big time," Wagner said. "We had volunteers in here many nights working the phone bank, we did a labor walk last Saturday, and last week, on the 50th anniversary of our local, we had President Cohen here firing everyone up about the race and how important it was."
The SEIU, not unexpectedly, also had a hand at defeating Jane Corwin.
Corwin, for her part, did have phone banks—one of which was manned by her Green Party opponent (and anti-Walker phone hoaxer), Ian Murphy.
However, GOP efforts to get out the vote were no match for the Union/OFA/Democrat machine. As ColdWarrior notes:
Corwin’s vote total of 45,500 divided by the approximately 170,000 Republican and Conservative registered voters times 100 equals a pathetic less than 27 per cent vote turnout. In other words, over 73 per cent of the registered Republicans and Conservatives were just too dang busy to vote.
By contrast, Hochul’s 50,888 vote total divided by the 135,088 Democrat and Working Families registered voters times 100 equals a 37.6 per cent vote turnout.
Corwin had 5,388 fewer votes than the winner, Hochul. And ignoring the Independents, and assuming Corwin got all of her 45,500 votes from registered Republicans and Conservatives, 125,500 Republican and Conservative too-damn-lazy-to-vote-in-a-special-election voters, who could have easily given her the 5,389 she needed to beat Hochul, lost the election for Corwin. Maybe those 5,389 needed to win would have voted if the Republican Party had done a better job at GOTV. [Emphasis added.]
With 2012 right around the corner, unless people want to see the country fall to the Left permanently, it is time for people inside and outside the GOP to start working harder and smarter.
Those on the Left are masters at taking the offensive by any means necessary (the ends justify the means, see Saul Alinsky).
The Right, on the other hand (with few exceptions), are masters at playing defense and ceding ground where none should be ceded.
On messaging, the Right needs to get much bolder. Sure, the Left can run an ad and use grandma being pushed off a cliff due to Medicare reform. However, the Left is also driving Medicare (and the country) into bankruptcy and the Democrats do not have a plan except fear tactics (solely relying on eating the rich won't work to solve the problem). The fact is, if our nation does not wean itself from the crack-habit of spending soon, grandma won't likely have a wheelchair from which to push her anyway and she will be relegated to eating
cat dog food (as will her kids and grandkids). [Actually, Dog Food Democrats does have a nice ring to it.] Moreover, there are already a few examples of what happens when over promising meets reality (see Central Falls, RI and Prichard, AL), with more most assuredly on the way.
Creating the Constant Campaign. Democrats run a non-stop campaign of attacking the Right. As they're doing now with Paul Ryan's budget proposal, they did for almost eight years of the Bush presidency, and will do through 2012 and beyond. Republicans do not seem to understand this Alinsky tactic. Or, if they do, they either do not how to use it themselves, or are afraid to.
On a smaller scale, as Wisconsin clearly demonstrated, Scott Walker did little to sell his needed reforms prior to igniting a firestorm of criticism. Walker failed in what the Left does constantly—build support for change. Further, and just as importantly, once he launched his reform efforts, he (and Republican lawmakers) appeared (at least to those of us outside of Wisconsin) to lock themselves away, giving the Left much needed time to marshal their troops and steal the message.
Wars Are Won By the Boots on the Ground (and superior firepower, of course). To paraphrase an old quote: You cannot win a war if you're not on the battlefield. The Left, primarily through the unions, have a continual source of boots on the ground during election season. In addition to their full-time staffers, under many union contracts, unions' ability to have members sign out of work for "union business," gives them a ready made army of soldiers for the Left to do phone banking and GOTV. The Right, for the most part, has to rely on volunteers.
Following the 2010 mid-terms, some have noticed the tapering off of attendance at rallies and meetings. Though not unexpected (people do have other lives outside of politics), activist and GOP leaders must work twice as hard as to keep their base motivated and, more importantly, engaged...Which is where technology (superior firepower) comes in:
In 2008, the Right was blown away by the machine that Barack Obama built. While his supporters' were buoyed by their enthusiasm for "hope" and "change," it took a technological system to coordinate what became known as Obama for America, a campaign tool that integrated a variety of systems (for example, go here) to keep supporters engaged and mobilized.
The Democratic's winning technology is a massively powerful, yet easy to use, web based campaign system by Voter Activation Network (VAN) called "VoteBuilder". With its "Catalist" database, this national Software / System is used by more than 700,000 liberals, and has often been referred to as "Obama's Secret Weapon."
Obviously, conservatives are kept far away from this guarded technology. The RNC's pride and joy, "Voter Vault 3" system is like an old DOS relic next to this system. No other system comes close to the power found in VoteBuilder This is why it has been chosen as the national technology platform for ALL Democrats in the US and several other English speaking countries.
Despite the Right's disadvantage in election technology for the last few years, the Right has held its own. Now, however, thanks to the expiration of an non-compete agreement, the technological barrier has been broken.
As of January 2010, the system that powered OFA has become available to conservatives through rVotes. [For background, go here.] According to its website, as well as those who have spent hours researching and demo-ing the product, rVotes is something that conservative groups (be it the GOP or Tea Parties) must have in their arsenal for 2012. Without it, there will be races, like NY-26, that should be won, but won't be.
Last week's loss in NY-26 was one that gave the Left some talking points for the next few months. However, given the superior ground game that the Left ran, it should be kept in perspective. The only question is, will the Right learn from their own ineffectiveness to counter and beat the Left in 2012?
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776