The Lonely Republican

I have been canvassing in Evanston, Illinois.  For those of you not in the know, Evanston is home to Northwestern University and is the first suburb north of Chicago.  In 2016, 88% of the vote went for Hillary Clinton.  It is a community of 75,000 people – diverse by skin color, non-diverse by ideology.

In an effort to minimize the winter weight gain, during election years, I canvas for the Republican Party.  Typically, I distribute 3,000 to 4,500 homemade flyers in an effort to persuade the locals to change their voting pattern.  The flyers are not hyper-partisan (they focus on economic issues and the state of Illinois compared to neighboring states in terms of unemployment, labor participation, unfunded pension liability, taxes, etc.) and do not show pictures of knuckle-dragging Democrats, as I personally doubt that this tactic would persuade voters to think about changing their voting.

As you can see by the 2016 results, it was difficult to move the needle.  In 2016, I was talked into distributing official Republican-branded literature (no "Trump for President" material) at the train station, and I will tell you it was combat pay – without the compensation.  People angrily told me Republicans wanted to kill the elderly and don't believe in education among other lowlights.

This led me to think about areas around the country that vote Democratic.  How do you persuade voters in New York City?  Boston?  Philadelphia?  Milwaukee?  Baltimore? How do you persuade viable candidates to run in districts that have historically voted 80% Democratic with the thought that moving the vote to 70% helps the statewide candidate?  What kind of support would be needed to move the vote from 80% Democratic to 70% Democratic?  Should the statewide Republican Party be willing to provide the support (coaching of candidates, debate preparation, website development, nominal financial support) to help these campaigns?

The other side of the coin is, by presenting viable Republican candidates (who will lose or are massive underdogs), do we just end up driving up the vote?  For example the Democrats get 80% of 10,000 votes with a weak candidate.  With a viable candidate, voter turnout moves to Democrats getting 70% of 20,000 votes.  The net effect is moving the number of Democratic votes from 8,000 votes to 14,000.  The Republicans gained 4,000 votes (going from 2,000 votes to 6,000 votes), while the Democrats gained 6,000 votes. 

In the short term, the Republicans lose.  Then again, in the above example, if the Republicans move to 40% after two elections, the net gain using the example of 10,000 votes initially moving to 20,000 votes ultimately shows a gain of 2,000 votes.

How do you structure a viable campaign?  Should candidates running in overwhelming Democratic districts stay away from abortion and guns and focus on economic issues?

How do you find candidates who are willing to give up at least two months to run a campaign (going to debates, making themselves visible, etc.) that is a losing venture on a micro-scale but ultimately benefits the larger Republican brand on a macro-scale?

For me to distribute 3,000 flyers house to house takes about 40 hours.  How about you?  I'll let you know my A1C after the election.