Friday, September 15, 2006
ONE PARTY COUNTRY
ONE PARTY COUNTRY
There is talk of significant Democratic gains in the 2006 elections, perhaps, a majority in the House or Senate. Hope springs up for a Democrat President in 2008. After all, with record of the Bush administration has accumulated---these outcomes seem certain.
However, one consideration is missing: the contrast between the effectiveness of the Republican Party in actually winning elections and the ineptness of the Democrats resulting in losing them.
A new book has just been published, One Party Country, written by two reporters from the Los Angeles Times. It points out some telling reasons why --- despite the mistakes, incompetence, secrecy, and ruinous decisions of this administration --- The GOPhers may win again.
1. Conservative Coalition meets every Wed. at Americans for Tax Reform, the activist ON organization founded by Grover Norquist.
The GOP top conservative leadership is constantly strategizing their moves: week by week. Both long range goals and tactics, as well as short range.
Under the leadership of Mr. Norquist, top representatives of all conservative factions within the party week after week, year after year. They are organized and ruthless. And they spend the time, effort and money to outclass the feeble Democratic approach.
(All quotes are from the two authors of the book during a recent interview with Amy Goodman on LINK TV.)
"And it's a place where the disparate members of this group can come together, and do come together, every week to plot strategy and to air their differences, but to do so in private."
The Republicans have been marvelous in redistricting states to win more seats.
"And the reason for that is because the Republicans realized that when you take minorities and pack them into districts that would elect, say, a minority member with 60% or 70% or 80% of the vote, that bleaches out the surrounding districts. It creates more white conservative districts. This happened in Florida and across the South. And that helped create this map that is now, we argue, tilted in favor of Republicans, especially when it comes to districts that are maybe a little more closely competitive but lean Republican. The fight for control of the House is not fought out on a level playing field. It is on a playing field that benefits Republicans."
The Latino vote was in the past considered to belong mostly to Democrats--as the Afro-American vote did. Latinos are the most rapidly growing element in the U.S. The GOP intends to gain a strong foothold.
3. Latino Vote
"as we lay out in the book, that really under the leadership of the Bush brothers, George W. and Jeb, they tried to redefine the way the Republican Party goes after minority voters. Latinos, George W. Bush won 40% of the Hispanic vote nationally, which is a pretty remarkable number for Republicans. Jeb has won with huge numbers, not just the Cuban Republicans, but non-Cuban Hispanics in Florida who tend to vote Democratic, as well. And they did this with a strategy that some strategists call the “I love you” strategy, where they manage to appeal to a sense of emotion, rather than issues, in the case of Latinos."
The fundamentalist stand of the white Christian right could have appeal to some black churches.
4. Afro-American Vote
"but one that we lay out in the book is called the White House faith-based initiative, where the White House actually helped -- created a program to funnel taxpayer dollars to African American churches across the country, kind of bringing influential ministers into the fold, so they would turn around and campaign for Republicans."
It is not necessary to gain the majority of the Latino and Afro-American vote --- just enough to make an election win possible.
>>>>." There's lots of reasons right now why this outreach to minorities is strained. What we argue, though, is that the point was never to win a majority of these groups. The Karl Rove vision is to peel away slices of the electorate. So, Republicans don't need to win the majority of African Americans to win elections. They don't even need to win 20% of them. They could win 15% of African Americans, and that would give them the chance to really keep Democrats in the minority."
Here it would appear that the GOP has a problem, but not if they leave things up in the air, and do not have a final immigration vote until after the 2006 elections.
The harshly punitive House bill proposed by Sensenbrenner pleases the right wing of the party who would like all illegals declared felons if they do not surrender within a certain time, and then, most of them would either be deported or be faced with a program that might or might not lead to citizenship, but in a long long time.
However, if this bill passes before the 2006 elections, it will sabotage efforts to make inroads into the Latino electorate.
Solution: With President Bush leading the way for a kinder/gentler immigration approach and support from the Senate, the Latinos will see that the leadership of the party is friendly to them.
The right wing is pleased with the existence of the Sensenbrenner bill. The Latinos are pleased with Bush's efforts on their behalf.
5. Immigration Debate
"one of the big threats to the Rove-Bush plan for building this majority is expanding entree into the Latino community, and this split on immigration within the party, Sensenbrenner’s bill versus the White House position, is a threat to that plan."
Although Democrats receive money from some corporations, the majority of these donations arrive at Republican doors. This administration has been devoted to corporate America.
6. Corporations a wing of the GOP
"You know, for decades, business executives have written checks to the Republican parties, inordinately to Republicans, 60% to 70% GOP, as opposed to 40%, 30% to the Democrats. But what's happened over the last six years, as Republicans have grabbed on and there's been a general understanding of the importance of reaching out in a campaign to individuals through niche person-to-person marketing, is that business has been engaged in this effort in a way we've never seen before. So it's no longer just writing checks, but it’s actually using the email systems of large corporations, mobilizing the workforce on the factory floor and, in some cases, actually having employers urging their employees to vote or to recommend voting for a specific candidate. This is new, and we argue in the book that it's had a powerful effect, and we expect to see more of it in 2006, even a year in which some business executives, always very practical, are at least publicly trying to hedge their bets."
Sidelined by threats of indictment, Rove, now seems to be in the clear---and should have a full head of steam built up for the 2006 elections.
7. Rove is back in action
"We think he's playing an enormous role, contrary to some of the news stories that appeared of late suggesting that his influence isn't as great. He’ll be, we believe, once again the field marshal for these midterm elections, even if not quite as visible as he’s been in the past."
I found Vote Vault the most interesting part of the interview. The GOP outclasses the Democrats with their use of technology, and, they have the money to be in this position.
8. Vote Vault
"Another important tenet of the one party strategy, Amy. Voter Vault is a massive database of millions of names, not just names of voters, but their tastes, their opinions on issues, what brand car they drive, what kind of alcoholic beverage they might prefer, whether they have -- what kind of features they have on their home telephone. And this is a database that’s kept here in Washington at the Republican National Committee headquarters, but that is accessible on a web-based program to Republican operatives around the country. If you’re a Republican strategist running a state senate campaign in Florida or a congressional campaign in Arizona, you can have access to this database and within minutes have a list of names of people in a particular neighborhood, where you want to send a volunteer to go knock on doors, based on whether they’re -- based on what level of conservative they are, if they’re very conservative, moderately conservative, not conservative at all."
"It's a way that the Republicans can go into, you know -- they can focus their attention not only on well-known conservative areas in an exurb or a suburb, but they can go into the middle of Cleveland or the middle of Philadelphia, and in a neighborhood of liberal Democrats, they could find a person to vote Republican."
"And this allowed the party to make a series of entreaties to the family, and particularly to Felicia Hill, like which they had never seen before, to woo her to Republican events and to convince her that the Republican Party, based on her interest in supporting private schools and school vouchers, for example, might be a home for her. So for the Republican Party, getting Ms. Hill to attend Republican events and to be open to Republican argument was an enormous victory. It was an example of how you can use a database or data on individuals to reach out to new voters who might not traditionally be in your corner."
"I was going to say that the Voter Vault also has helped them find -- going back to the point of the ethnic politics, in 2004, the Bush campaign managed to track down millions of Hispanic voters that they viewed as potentially sympathetic and who might vote Republican, especially in the Southwest, which was such an important -- which continues to be such an important battleground. And what they did with these people that they found is they sent a DVD, a five-minute-long DVD narrated by President Bush, which was remarkable if you viewed it, especially in the current climate of the immigration debate, because in this DVD, it opens with President Bush on his vacation property in Texas fishing. And he's talking about how all this land used to be Mexico, and the people who lived here weren't foreigners, they weren’t necessarily Hispanics, they were Mexicans. So some congressmen like Tom Tancredo first of all might find it interesting that the President of the United States is somewhat ceding Texas to Mexico."
"But on top of that, the DVD goes on to have the President bragging about all of the Hispanics he's appointed to high office, how he hopes more Hispanics will run for office and how they’ll be Republicans. And kind of amazingly, the DVD ends with an image of then-Governor Bush marching in a Mexican Independence Day parade in Texas, waving a Mexican flag, which is interesting because many of the conservative Republicans now are critical of some of the protesters who have shown up at these immigration protests waving Mexican flags."