How Republicans could blow the midterms in what should be a slam-dunk state
Based on current polling, Democrats are set to expand their majority in Congress and sweep Arizona races because many GOP candidates are campaigning ineffectively. GOP candidates are having trouble reaching Millennials, Zoomers, and Arizona independents from California, Oregon, Washington, and the north, who make up the decisive plurality of voters in AZ elections.
The conservative generations, the Greatest Generation and Baby-Boomers, are dying at tremendous rates and are being replaced by Millennials and Zoomers. The youngest of the Greatest Generation are in their late 80s, and the youngest Baby-Boomers are in their 60s. They are being replaced in the voting populace.
No Arizona GOP candidate can win without the independent voters. In the 2018 and 2022 Arizona primaries, GOP voters far exceeded Democrat voters, by around 100,000. But in the 2018 general election, Republican Martha McSally still lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema because of Arizona independents, who typically vote Democrat unless they are convinced that GOP policies are better for cost of living and reducing crime.
Arizona independents don't care about the border or Critical Race Theory. In 2006, Republican Len Munsil ran against Democrat Janet Napolitano for Arizona governor using the border as his campaign focus. Munsil lost in a landslide.
A candidate cannot campaign only to his base in Arizona. Arizona is a swing state that has lots of fair-weather Democrats from other states; they came to Arizona to flee crime, high taxes, and high cost of living. That is what they care about.
Cable is a dying medium. It is estimated that millions of American households have canceled their cable as of 2022. This trend of canceling cable service has been ongoing for years. Smart TVs come with free streaming services, and these are becoming the U.S. consumer's favorite method of watching news and entertainment. Millennials and Gen Z use free streaming services on TVs and computers to consume their news and current events. GOP candidates rarely advertise on free streaming services.
Knocking on doors is unsafe anymore; it is unethical to ask people to go around neighborhoods, accosting strangers in their homes. Due to increases in crime and home invasions, very few people open their doors for strangers anymore, and if they do, they are likely to be armed and ready for a confrontation. By the same token, robocalls, spam texts, and emails don't work; they just annoy people. These are outdated campaign tactics that, unfortunately, most GOP campaigns still use.
GOP candidates often field weak campaign ads. I was a big fan of Jim Lamon until I saw his funny but silly and uninformative (and fantastically expensive) Super Bowl campaign ad. I feared then that his campaign would flounder for lack of substance. I was a fan of Blake Masters until I emailed his campaign and volunteered my services and experience as a 21-year veteran DEA special agent to advise him on southern border issues and the drug cartels. His field director emailed me back with a thread from Masters's campaign director trying to recruit me to knock on doors. That's when I concluded that Masters's campaign was likely to be ineffective against sitting Arizona Democrat Senator Mark Kelly.
Democrat campaign ads are well made with actual people who are relating experiences, or the candidate himself speaking. They address the camera (the voter) directly and speak with intensity and sometimes righteous anger.
GOP campaigns must draw cause-and-effect relationships between Democrat failed social and economic policies and the soaring crime, rising energy costs, rising cost of living, and unemployment and chronic impoverishment in America's big cities.
Why can't GOP candidates hammer these concepts home to the public and influence public opinion and public perception?
Lastly, when a GOP candidate throws his hat in the ring, he is usually rushed by multiple opportunists who sign on as campaign staff or consultants. Consultants frequently charge fantastically high fees to tell a candidate what anyone should already know (Jeb Bush's campaign in 2016). Campaign staffers frequently operate from their outdated college communications or political science curriculum playbook. These campaign methods often fail.
GOP candidates often savage each other in campaign ads during the primaries, spending huge amounts of campaign money in the process. GOP candidates don't seem to realize that GOP voters will vote for whoever best demonstrates that he can defeat their Democrat opponent. Consequently, it makes sense for GOP candidates to field campaign ads that attack their Democrat opponent, because whoever fields the best campaign ads will get our vote. GOP candidates attacking each other during a primary campaign simply turns off GOP voters and gives their Democrat opponent material to use against their eventual GOP opponent during the general election.
Let's hope the GOP, in Arizona and across the U.S., turns it around before the 2022 midterm elections.
Image: hansgklein via Pixabay, Pixabay License.