How to win an election intelligently, one point at a time

Alex Sink, Democrat, lost to David Jolly, Republican, in the recent Pinellas County, FL election to Congress by countering her claims point by point; and it worked.

Ms. Sink, for instance, rolled out the GOP-Wants-To-Throw-Granny-Off-The-Cliff line. Democrats beat on Mr. Jolly on seniors’ issues, claiming he wanted to privatize Social Security and cut Medicare. Rather than run from that debate, the Republican reassured voters that he supported honoring current benefits for those in, at or remotely near retirement.

Yet he also made the case for long-term reforms to entitlement programs—insisting that, yes, Social Security privatization needs to be among the options considered. He pointed out that the only folks who have done serious recent damage to Medicare are Democrats who robbed the program to pay for ObamaCare. The district’s large senior-citizen voting population knew this to be true.

War on women?

Democrats also unfurled the “war against women” theme, claiming that Mr. Jolly opposed “equal pay for equal work” for women and abortion rights. He responded that wage discrimination based on gender should be illegal, and in fact already is. He laid out a straightforward pro-life position, highlighting standard exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother—and didn’t waver from it. The Democrats couldn’t get much traction.

Rich vs. poor?

Democrats simultaneously worked the “class warfare” theme, highlighting Mr. Jolly’s lobbyist past and claiming he was in the race to reward special interests and fleece the middle class. Outside conservative groups ran ads and flyers pointing out the billions the state’s pension fund lost when Ms. Sink sat on a panel overseeing it, and also noting the $8.8 million in compensation she made as a bank executive. Turns out voters are a bit skeptical of wealthy ex-bankers posing as populists.

The Koch brothers?

The left even tried a Conservative-Special-Interests-Are-Buying-The-Election approach, with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee putting out a memo that warned that the billionaire “Koch Brothers” would “prop up” Mr. Jolly to ensure that they have “more power in Washington than Pinellas families.” It was hard for voters to take this claim seriously when the airwaves were blanketed with Sink ads—many paid for by liberal “special interests” such as House Majority PAC.

The writer, Wall St. Journal’s Kimberley Strassell, has advice for Democrats: “Harry Reid, recall your strategist.”

Same goes for Republican strategists, including here in the great state of Illinois, of course, including the great village of Oak Park.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: