Get out the Trump

Election 2016 is proving educational if nothing else. Thanks to Hillary, we are learning to tell the difference between a stroke, a seizure, and a fainting spell. Donald Trump, meanwhile has been overturning the conventional wisdom of our political class, even puncturing some of the Beltway GOP’s most cherished superstitions.

It turns out all the millions the Mike Murphys of the consultant/pollster complex spend on television dreck don’t help candidates in Republican primaries. It is much better to speak directly to Middle America about real, compelling issues. For example, agree with him or not, everybody knows about Trump and his border wall and his opposition to trade deals. But John Kasich? I seem to remember his dad was a mailman. Was there anything else?

Trump is now being roasted for another campaign sacrilege -- denigrating the get-out-the vote portion of the campaign. But I think Trump is once again on to something. Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman were hailed as geniuses in 2004 for the Bush effort, but only because it went down better than reporting the real reason Bush won -- John O’Neill’s devastating takedown of John Kerry that year, along with all the anti-same-sex marriage referenda (this was in the days of the Old Republic, before Justice Kennedy proclaimed himself galactic emperor).

GOTV, get-out-the-vote, is without a doubt very important for Democrats. As Bernie Sanders said, "poor people don't vote", not that is, unless you provide some incentives, i.e., street money. Thanks to their union buddies alone, Democrats can fund this activity with something approaching $2 billion per election cycle. Is there any difference between GOTV and plain old-fashioned vote buying? In my home state of Kentucky, none that a federal grand jury can see.    

Democrat’s GOTV works best in states with both strong labor unions for the organizing the effort, and dense sections of poor minority neighborhoods to target. That’s the formula they have used to turn red states like California a deep blue. Democrats’ hopes of building on minority votes in places like Arizona, Texas, and much of the South have so far been frustrated by the lack of union strength; as private-industry labor unions effectively disappear along with their pension plans the next decade, we may have seen the high tide of GOTV politics in America.

For potential Republican voters, GOTV has never seemed to be very effective. Few of them are looking for “walking around money” on election day and would be deeply offended if offered. There is very little utility after a minimum threshold of yard signs, phone calls, and TV commercials. It’s much more important for Trump, and any Republican nominee, to look confident, in command of the facts and project leadership in the final months of a campaign, and especially during the debates. 

Hillary’s path to victory is a lot different. She has spent the last two years raising money, and will need billions to literally buy enough votes through GOTV to win. We will just have to see if she can pull it off. But the one certainty is, even George Soros himself doesn’t have enough money to pay people what it would take to get them to actually attend one of Hillary's speeches.

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, KY.

Election 2016 is proving educational if nothing else. Thanks to Hillary, we are learning to tell the difference between a stroke, a seizure, and a fainting spell. Donald Trump, meanwhile has been overturning the conventional wisdom of our political class, even puncturing some of the Beltway GOP’s most cherished superstitions.

It turns out all the millions the Mike Murphys of the consultant/pollster complex spend on television dreck don’t help candidates in Republican primaries. It is much better to speak directly to Middle America about real, compelling issues. For example, agree with him or not, everybody knows about Trump and his border wall and his opposition to trade deals. But John Kasich? I seem to remember his dad was a mailman. Was there anything else?

Trump is now being roasted for another campaign sacrilege -- denigrating the get-out-the vote portion of the campaign. But I think Trump is once again on to something. Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman were hailed as geniuses in 2004 for the Bush effort, but only because it went down better than reporting the real reason Bush won -- John O’Neill’s devastating takedown of John Kerry that year, along with all the anti-same-sex marriage referenda (this was in the days of the Old Republic, before Justice Kennedy proclaimed himself galactic emperor).

GOTV, get-out-the-vote, is without a doubt very important for Democrats. As Bernie Sanders said, "poor people don't vote", not that is, unless you provide some incentives, i.e., street money. Thanks to their union buddies alone, Democrats can fund this activity with something approaching $2 billion per election cycle. Is there any difference between GOTV and plain old-fashioned vote buying? In my home state of Kentucky, none that a federal grand jury can see.    

Democrat’s GOTV works best in states with both strong labor unions for the organizing the effort, and dense sections of poor minority neighborhoods to target. That’s the formula they have used to turn red states like California a deep blue. Democrats’ hopes of building on minority votes in places like Arizona, Texas, and much of the South have so far been frustrated by the lack of union strength; as private-industry labor unions effectively disappear along with their pension plans the next decade, we may have seen the high tide of GOTV politics in America.

For potential Republican voters, GOTV has never seemed to be very effective. Few of them are looking for “walking around money” on election day and would be deeply offended if offered. There is very little utility after a minimum threshold of yard signs, phone calls, and TV commercials. It’s much more important for Trump, and any Republican nominee, to look confident, in command of the facts and project leadership in the final months of a campaign, and especially during the debates. 

Hillary’s path to victory is a lot different. She has spent the last two years raising money, and will need billions to literally buy enough votes through GOTV to win. We will just have to see if she can pull it off. But the one certainty is, even George Soros himself doesn’t have enough money to pay people what it would take to get them to actually attend one of Hillary's speeches.

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, KY.