The Democrat Party in California did something the national party could not do; they ran a unified campaign for the entire state. The themes of the Democrat campaign was attack Republican opponents and avoid their own records. Unlike most campaigns however, they did not rest with attacking their Republican opponents, they actually attacked the Republican base. Democrats employed focus group results, push polls and targeted mailing.
The Democrats employed a “campaign in a box” strategy. Republican candidates were classified into categories and then attacked by the same accusations that were used on the neighboring Republican candidate. It was literally a form letter “insert name here” approach. For example, Jack Sieglock and Abram Wilson were attached with the same accusation with the exact same wording in several flyers mailed into their districts. The only difference was the color scheme of the flyer. By centralizing printing operations and using “cookie cutter” mailers, not only did they save lots of money but they were able to use tested materials to maximize the damage inflicted on Republicans.
In their mailers Democrats divided the electorate into three groups. They tried to increase their own base, sway the fickle Decline to State voters and depress Republican turn-out. Many mailers appeared with subtle variations to micro-target various sub-groups of voters. Many districts saw 30 to 40 different mailers with different distributions.
In addition, high propensity Republican voters were targeted with “push polls” to try to reduce their support of Republicans and if possible discourage them from voting. “Push polls” disguise gossip and distortion into a Dr. Seuss style litany. They ask questions similar to these: If you knew your candidate was an axe murderer would you still support him? If you knew he beat his wife and liked the New York Yankees would you still support him? If you knew Sarah Palin sent him an email would you still voter for him? The voters are subjected to psychological warfare to separate them from their candidates.
By waiting for the month before the election, they caught the Republicans flatfooted again. Republicans knew that the Dems would “go negative” but by running decentralized campaigns with no coordination they had no idea what hit them. What I wrote in this blog is known only to a few outsiders to the Democrat campaign machine. The beauty of this strategy is that it uses the strength of the Republicans against themselves. Democrats divide and conquer by uniting.
My overall score for election night was 15/23 or 65%.
I am not counting the correct statement that Meg Whitman had no coattails and did nothing to advance the rest of the Republican ticket. In fact Meg established herself in the primary as a vindictive bitch in her treatment of Steve Poizner and continued that image through-out the campaign. Nicky-gate continued and reinforced that image. It is likely that she hurt Carly and the rest of the field. She was robbed blind by her consultants and up until the end she was happy to shovel out the cash to them. I hope to look in detail at the race in a future post.
I did better than fifty percent in picking the winners.
Winners 5/9 Correct with one undecided
Wrong Carly Fiorina—US Senate
Awaiting results Steve Cooley—AG
Right George Runner—BOE-2
Right Dan Lungren CD-3
Wrong Andy Pugno AD-5
Wrong Jack Sieglock AD-10
Right Prop 20—Redistricting commission draws congressional lines
Right Prop 26—require 2/3 vote for fees
Partial credit Republicans win House with 70+ seats and win 51 in Senate
Republicans won sixty House with ten undecided
Republicans won at least 6 with a few not decided election day
As a certified nerd, I can spot a looser a mile away and did well in this category.
Losers 8/9 Correct
Right Abel Maldonado—Lt. Governor
Right Tony Strickland—Controller
Right Mimi Walters—Treasurer
Right Damon Dunn—Secretary of State
Right Abram Wilson AD-15
Wilson was the worst Assembly candidate in the Sacramento area but he was the darling of the California Republican Party and had much of Jack Sieglock’s resources diverted to himself. Wilson’s consultant also was able to keep Sieglock from any independent expenditures by undercutting Sieglock. I will touch on this in a future post.
Right Prop 19—Pot
Right Prop 21—More car taxes
Wrong Prop 25—drop 2/3 vote for budget
Right Prop 27—abolish redistricting commission
This is what you get with hope and not listening to what you know in your heart to be true.
On the Bubble 2/5 Correct
Wrong Meg Whitman—Governor (likely win but no coattails)
Right Mike Villines—Insurance Commissioner (likely loose)
Right Larry Aceves—public instruction (likely loose)
Wrong Prop 23 (election will bring change but not enlightenment to voters)
Wrong Prop 24 (class envy card may propel this to victory)
Carly Fiorina—US Senate
Dan Lungren CD-3
Andy Pugno AD-5
Jack Sieglock AD-10
Prop 20—Redistricting commission draws congressional lines
Prop 26—require 2/3 vote for fees
Republicans win House with 70+ seats and win 51 in Senate
Abel Maldonado—Lt. Governor
Damon Dunn—Secretary of State
Abram Wilson AD-15
Prop 21—More car taxes
Prop 25—drop 2/3 vote for budget
Prop 27—abolish redistricting commission
On the Bubble
Meg Whitman—Governor (likely win but no coattails)
Mike Villines—Insurance Commissioner (likely loose)
Larry Aceves—public instruction (likely loose)
Prop 23 (election will bring change but not enlightenment to voters)
Prop 24 (class envy card may propel this to victory)