Democrats sweep 2020 elections – M&M’s seen as cause of upset

Dateline, Washington DC,  November 4, 2020: 

You didn’t read that wrong.  If nothing changes, the Democrats will definitely sweep the 2020 elections.  Yes, the Republicans are defending 22 seats in the Senate against just 12 on the Democrat side.  Yes, prognosticators right now are saying that little, if anything, will change in the makeup of the Senate.  Yes, the House changed majority in 2018 and that’s already in the Dems column.  And Yes, Donald Trump is the encumbent which carries powerful weight in the voting booth.  So why the gloomy headline (gloomy if you’re a Republican or Conservative?)  Because the M&M’s will make the difference.   Messaging and Millenials.

Millenials march against and vote against HATE

There needs to be a wakeup call for the Republican National Committee, because continuing along with the standard Republican modus operandi will result in a failure of catastrophic proportions.  And not just for the Republican party – but for the entire country.   Why point out messaging?  Because in spite of the good things that Republicans stand for, they can’t seem to generate any buzz, and without buzz in today’s world you are without voters.  Think about it – the entirety of social media and cable news is about buzz.  Get on the right side of it and you win.  It doesn’t matter that every policy line item in a conservative agenda makes for a sustainable, secure society.  Snore.  It doesn’t matter that most, if not all, of those line items have actually improved in people’s opinions in the last 2 years.  Crickets.  The Republicans are always 2-5 percentage points behind Democrats in all the “who do you favor” for “this-or-that-policy” polls.  For years Republicans have known that they need to do a better job of messaging, but never change their tactics.   Republicans just can’t get out of their own way.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that Donald Trump won in 2016 because he knew how to create a buzz.  Maybe part of that ability was because he wasn’t really a typical Republican.  Here’s one big distinction between Republicans and Democrats:  Reason v. Emotion.  Republicans (and even some Republican politicians) are generally people with principles and a solid moral compass.  They think through issues and make their determinations grounded on facts.  Without question it’s the best way to govern – and also without question, it’s the worst way to campaign.  Democrats (and 100% of democrat politicians), on the other hand do just the opposite.  They respond to emotions.  Pictures of children in cages make them weepy and willing to vote for open borders.  Hearing hyperbolic predictions of the earth boiling up under clouds of toxic greenhouse gases will make them consider buses, bicycles, and green new deals.  Of course, none of that is reality on the ground, but that’s irrelevant to a Democrat.  They campaign with wild empty slogans like “I’m for jobs” with no actual ideas behind them.  Who could really be against jobs?  They use phrases like “we can’t rip babies out of mother’s arms” because we’re the party that ‘cares’ about children, while at the same time voting for late term abortions.   They never campaign on taking away guns.  Instead they show images of school shootings and then shout that “we need common sense gun control.”  They are masters of these tactics.  How can a rational person look at school shooting images and not agree with gun control.  The fact that their proposals simply want to take guns away from law-abiding citizens is immaterial.  It’s a horrible and hollow way to govern, but it’s a surefire winner at the voting booth. 

How to fix it:  Forget what you think are the good points of Republican policies – that requires people to think.  Create your campaign around the disastrous results of Democrat policies – and make them emotionally charged – and of course blame some Democrat personally.  Show pictures of homeless tent-cities and make the claim that this is the result of Democrat wealth re-distribution policies.  Say that Democrats are ‘personally responsible’ for it, that Democrats have blood on their hands.  Call it Pelosi Town perhaps.  It doesn’t matter that a thoughtful person wouldn’t connect the dots.  You’re not looking for the thoughtful votes.  And for goodness sake, don’t cite the constitution about protecting gun rights, freedom of speech, due process, equal justice, or religious freedoms.  Sure, you’re behind the constitution, and on solid footing with citizens who think those things are the very fabric of a successful country.  No one will care where you stand if you lose your seat.  You can’t be up at a podium and tout all the freedoms that you’re in favor of.  More crickets.  Guaranteed loser.  Never make the cardinal mistake of claiming that you’re for something.  You’ve got to demonstrate the emotional side of being against losing those freedoms. You must BLAME the other side and hang an emotional tag on them!  Messaging problem solved. 

Sanders captures the emotions of Millenials

Now add Millenials into the equation.  Like it or not, they are part of the crazy-quilt of voters.  Making disparaging remarks about them getting participation trophies, being snowflakes, and needing safe spaces is not how you win friends and influence voters   This bloc polls pretty solidly as favoring socialism more than capitalism.   A few points higher every year in fact.  New polls show this group is now about 52% pro-socialism.  From a Republican perspective (read understanding history so you don’t repeat it), this is absolute insanity.  But responses like: “they just don’t understand what socialism really is”, or “how can they say that stuff while using a smartphone and wearing $100 sneakers”, won’t resonate it will alienate.  To succeed with this group Republicans will need to ‘feel like they feel’.  Don’t be condescending – be understanding.  Republicans need to take a vastly different approach to this group.   They have wants and needs just like everyone else in the country.  Appeal – emotionally – to those needs.  You can’t make statements like “socialism is a disaster”, you need to get millennials to make that statement for you.  Use images of Venezuela maybe.  (Let me just add that nobody can feel anything but sadness and compassion for all Venezuelans right now, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.)  There has to be lots of footage of Venezuelans looking for dinner in dumpster, or going barefoot, or not having electricity.  Make the forceful case that these images are the direct fault of Bernie’s policies.  He has this blood on his hands.  So what if he had nothing directly to do with Venezuela, he supports that government.  Make him come out and reject it.  Make him try to defend his policies with reason instead of emotion.  He can’t do it.  Then watch his supporters slip away.  And when they do, Mr. or Mrs. Republican candidate,  you will be right there with your emotional open arms for a cuddle.  I understand your pain, I can help you avoid that disaster, I just need your vote. 

Oh, and by the way, there’s a slim chance that Republicans can avoid that headline.

Supercommittees.. Then and Now

“A Horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”   (King Richard)  William Shakespeare

AHH, the “Supercommittee”.  Rewind the clock six months, back to last summer, and you can watch most of our Congressmen and Senators climbing all over each other to get appointed to the Supercommittee that would be charged with finding ways to reduce our national deficit by $1.3 trillion.  That’s trillion with a “T”.  There are three truly astounding aspects of this process.  The first is that 1.3 TRILLION dollars is only a drop in the bucket compared to what we spend in this country.  The second is that everyone knows that if you want something to be left undone – appoint a committee to do it.  And third is that we could even dream of allowing the same people that are responsible for the mess in the first place to try to fix it.  It’s really mind-boggling (and I don’t mean the amount of money).  If they fail to reach any agreement then the consequences are disastrous for the ecnomy – but there are absolutely NO consequences of failure for the individual members of the committee.  No wonder every lawmaker wanted in, it’s a classic no-lose situation for them.  At the end of the scrum, twelve of the nations “finest” lawmakers were seated at this most prestigious table. As we can see, each had their own individual agenda and their own party agenda.

john kerry

Will anyone remember who this man is in 20 years?

But none of them had anything remotely resembling a national agenda – nothing, nada,  zippo.  How do I know this?  Because their game has ended.  The final buzzer has sounded on their game.  And the score is……Wait, not telling yet.  Humor me.

Rewind your clocks again – this time go back 224 years to the summer of 1787.  Take your time, I’ll wait, it’s a long rewind.  Follow me back to Philadelphia, in the sweltering heat.  The economies of the 13 individual free states (we weren’t really the United States of America yet) are on the brink of disaster.  The war had devastating effects and the states were all near bankruptcy.  So fifty guys get appointed to the second Continental Congress – 1787’s version of a Supercommittee.  They are charged with fixing things.  Things in the economy and things between the states.  Sound familiar?  Seems we’ve been here before (remember, one eye forward and one eye back).  That’s where the similarities end though.  These 50 committee members work throughout the summer, without air conditioning or running water.  They know the consequences if they are to fail.  It’s likely that the newborn country will die in its infancy.  They also know the consequences if they are to succeed.  It’s likely that each of them will have to give up some of their personal power and influence.  BUT – These 50 guys are STATESMEN!  So they wrangle and haggle, give and take, sweat and argue —  and they get it done.  They don’t just fix the problems with the economy, they create the Constitution and they create the United States of America in the process.  The results are even greater than the original task that we charged them with.  For many of them it signalled the end of their political power, because they created a republic that took away their power and invested it in the citizens.  They knew it was a possibility, but they also knew that the state they were saving was ultimately more important than their personal gain.  For others, they went home knowing that they didn’t achieve every goal for their individual state, but they also knew that their state would be the beneficiary of being part of a bigger country.

Does anyone need to be reminded who this man is? Can you tell the difference between a Statesman and a Politician?

This was their big game.  You might call it the very first national championship.  And when the final buzzer sounded in Philadelphia the score was Country 100 – Personal Ideology – 0.  A romp.  They crushed ’em.

Now, to the future again, all the way back to November 2011, back where we started.  When we left it last, we were looking for the final score of our game.  We gave our 12 guys through the end of November to come up with some answers to avert an economic disaster.  The result:  Nothing.  No progress, no plan.  None of them – not even one – could put their country in front of their personal agenda.  Think of it this way, on a committee with those other weak players if even 1 guy had any strength or statemanship in him, he could have carried the team.  But we employ 535 unskilled lawmakers between the House and Senate.  They have walked away from what may be the greatest responsibility of their lifetimes, without so much as an apology to us.  They have failed us and they fully expect that they will suffer no ill effects from doing so.  These guys will come to you looking to extend their overpriced contracts next year.  Underachievers, all of them.  So when they do come to you for votes, remember this:  no runs, no hits, no score.  Nobody even got on base.  Final Score Country 0 – Personal Ideology – 100.  We got crushed this time!


James Madison on liberty and the GPS

We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.

James Madison 1780s

The author of that quote was, perhaps one of the most statesman-like and forward thinking of the group of men that we call the ‘Founding Fathers’.  I believe this to be self-evident when you assess his herculean efforts at crafting our Constitution.  And still more so when you take into account his authorship of most of the Federalist Papers, which was his effort to garner grass-roots support to get the Constitution ratified by the individual states.  I assume that everyone in the country has already read the constitution (right?) but I’m not suggesting that anyone rush out a grab a paperback copy of the Federalist Papers. Believe me, that book is a difficult read.  The ‘Papers’ were largely written as a sort of “pre-rebuttal” in anticipation of the volleys that would inevitably be hurled by the anti-federalists. Pressed into this role of deflecting arguments before they were argued, he was forced to look into all the dark alleys of our Constitution and seal them off from criticism even before they could be criticized.

The result – a man that became as forward thinking as any man has ever been.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can state with some degree of certainty that the author of that quote never owned a car, or a cell phone, a laptop, or a GPS, not even a lightbulb! He never sent an email, saved his documents in the cloud, flew to London in 4 hours, or learned how to program his DVR.  I can also state with some certainty that he knew in some ways that future generations of Americans would be different than him, would want different things, would need different things, and would face new challenges.  And one thing for sure – they would not wear those god-awful tight knee pants.  But here’s where it gets interesting.  Instead of crafting a document that said, flat out, NO to this list and YES to that, he crafted a document that allowed for the future.  Allowed for the “future” – during a time when no one was quite sure that America would even make it into the following year, let alone centuries to come.  Remember that all of the European powers were perched on the beach, mouths open, waiting for America to go dashing towards the ocean like newborn baby turtles!

By now you must be asking what’s up with the quote.  And why that quote, which doesn’t even make it into the list of top 10 Madison quotes.  Here’s why;

This week the superior court overturned the conviction of a big-time drug dealer.  He got collared with about 80 lbs of drugs and around $850,000 in cash.  This, I assume, equates to a serious stash – certainly enough to bring a conviction.  Enough cash to make the Federal Government jealous too.  Initially the police had a hard time getting enough evidence to arrest this guy, until they put a GPS tracking device on his car. And then Whammo.  Evidence, Stash, Conviction.  The citizens of Gotham City were safe once again from this evildoer.  There was, however, one little glitch. The superior court overturned the conviction because the police hadn’t gotten a warrant to place the GPS device on his car. But wait, you say, that’s a travesty, do they even need a warrant to do that?  Well, no one knows.  Being the staunch ConservoLiberCentrist that I am, my first reaction was to side with the people that say the police don’t need a warrant.  Their argument goes something like this – if you are walking down the street in plain view, and a policeman could see you commit a crime like stealing a pocketbook, then they don’t need a warrant to arrest you and take that lady’s pocketbook back to her. Ok, sounds reasonable enough, my car is in plain view when I’m driving it (except for that one time when the lady crashed into me and said that she didn’t see me). So I’m going to side with the “no warrant necessary” crowd.

Then suddenly the other side of my CLC leanings kicks in.  Hey you just hold on one small minute – they couldn’t search my basement or harddrive or the trunk of my car without a warrant. So maybe putting that GPS device under the fender is similar to that?  Now I’m starting to think like a real card-carrying ConservoLiberCentrist, eh!  Just a while ago I said that nobody knows whether the police need a warrant or not.  And nobody does know – except for one person – James Madison.  He absolutely knows!  This is the big tie-in to the quote. He knew then, and we should know by now, that Liberty isn’t usually erased in one giant gulp, but gets gradually eroded. No one will complain too much about some criminal’s rights – because he’s a criminal right?  So off go some of our Liberties (his and yours and mine) in tiny, unnoticeable, painless pieces.  Madison is telling us in his well crafted style that we should be alarmed when pieces of our liberties get “experimented” with.   So, the guy that never even saw a lightbulb, knows that a GPS on a criminal’s car can easily lead to a GPS on my car, and then a GPS on Grandma’s car.  Just a little at a time, and it even seems like a good reason today.   This all adds up to me coming down on the side of “needing a warrant”, because even if it means a couple of extra bad guys don’t go to jail, it also means that a couple of million good guys don’t go either!  Let’s all pitch in a buy James Madison an MP3 player.