Thursday, October 14, 2004

Bush Election Strategy Looking Good

The debates are now over, but the presidential race certainly isn’t. The Big Media, already in the tank for Kerry, are about to go into their final sprint to get him those fifteen points. The race is tightening as we near the finish. Many conservatives are wringing their hands about Bush losing the lead he carried into the debates, and failing to hit a “homerun” in any of them.

But I’m feeling pretty good about Bush’s chances. Even right here in “liberal” Minnesota. Why?

Let’s talk about the “evil genius” Karl Rove for a moment. He has a strategy; many aspects of which are getting little or no media attention. Most polls and pundits – left and right – are analyzing where the two campaigns stand in light of their experience with the 2000 presidential race. But we’re not re-living 2000 here. Karl Rove has made a few strategic moves to change the shape of the election battlefield this time around. Let’s look at three I consider crucial and under appreciated:

1. The military vote.

Remember Al Gore attempting to block military votes from being counted in Florida in 2000? Doesn’t matter if you do, because Karl Rove does. And in response to a question on that topic in a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt back in late August, here’s what he had to say:

“…the Secretary of Defense has made it a priority to make it easier for military to apply for an absentee ballot and to speed up the delivery of those ballots through the system and that’s going to be very helpful and then in all of the states that there are significant military installations and with troops deployed overseas and likely to be larger than number of absentee ballots, we’ve been encouraging and lots of nonpartisan groups and Veterans service organizations have been encouraging local elected officials to give this a priority and to make certain that every cast by our military abroad is cast with ease and counted with accuracy.”

In other words, expect a stronger election turnout from the military than in 2000. And expect that Republicans are going to make sure those ballots are counted. The most recent poll I saw on the military support in this election was 78% Bush to 18% Kerry (looking for a link, but can’t find one at the moment). That’s quite a bit more tilted in favor of Bush than even his 2-1 advantage over Gore among the military last election. So here we have a HUGELY Bush favoring voting-block, from which we can expect greater turnout than in 2000. Does anyone know of any polls that are even attempting to factor this into their numbers?

2. Grassroots effort.

I remember analysts noting as far back as 2000 that Karl Rove was going to focus on establishing a national grassroots effort to mobilize the Republican base, and improve turnout over 2000. Yet this really isn’t getting much attention in the Big Media. I can understand if they want to take a wait-and-see approach before giving this much credence. But we already did have one chance to see it, on a smaller scale.

The first election we had a chance to see this was 2002 when, against conventional wisdom, the incumbent president’s party actually picked up seats in Congress rather than lost some. Conventional wisdom explained this away as a one-time post 9-11 anomaly. Perhaps. Or perhaps that explanation was similar to the one explaining Kerry’s lack of a convention bounce as a one time anomaly both candidates would share because of this year’s uniquely polarized electorate – revealed to be baloney when Bush got quite a large bounce out of his convention.

I blogged a bit about the steady grass-roots improvement in Minnesota in this post. And about Common Tator’s observations on the topic in Ohio in this one. You can find anecdotal evidence many places over the blogosphere – Rove’s mobilization effort is in full swing, and almost none of the polls or pundits are paying any attention to it.

If the grassroots effort pays off by improving Republican turnout on election day by even a couple of percentage points, most polls are incorrectly weighted; overstating Kerry’s share. Think about that when you look at some of those very tight polls in battleground states.

3. Poll watching.

Much worry in Republican circles is about the Democrats cheating and stealing votes. This is assumed to be inevitable, and the Republicans are assumed to be powerless to do anything about it. Back to our friend on the ground in Ohio: Common Tator from Free Republic responded to that very issue in the battleground state of Ohio.

“The Democrats can't get away with what they have in the past in any county in Ohio. There are Republicans watching what is happening at boards of elections everywhere in the state.

What Democrats can't do is what they have done in the past. In the past they would register a lot of people in inner cities where all the poll workers are Democrats. Then have the poll workers vote those "registered" voters.

The Ohio Republican party will have at least a poll watcher in every precinct in Ohio. One of the poll watchers in each troubling precinct will be an aggressive lawyer. If the Democrats try to steal votes in Ohio, as they have in every election since 1932, they are going be stopped and they are going to jail.

Ask secretary of State Blackwell how that works!!!!!

Lots of people think Republicans are not doing anything about the fraud. This is not 2,000 when Bush and Rove only had about 3 months to prepare. This time they have had 4 years.. and they are prepared. The democrats are trying to counter by accusing the Republicans of keeping Blacks from voting. The Democrats can complain... but the illegal votes are not going to be cast.”

This is another one the press is missing even while it occurs right under their noses. Democrats stuff ballot boxes. Not newsworthy to the Big Media. But they do. They even rely upon it because they get away with it every election.

This election, Karl Rove is going to go after this stuff aggressively, at least in the battlegrounds. Common Tator was only speaking about Ohio, but Rove has announced poll watchers in every precinct as part of his strategy in every battleground state.

Ah, but the Democrats will scream disenfranchisement and that will make the Republicans back down you say? Guess what? They’re planning on doing that no matter what the Republicans do. And they’re about to learn a little lesson about crying wolf when they scream this stuff to the press after the election. Rove wouldn’t have backed down regardless, and now their canned “disenfranchisement” claims will be tainted.

Like I said, things are looking good. Kerry supporters are banking on one or two points of undecideds breaking their way come Election Day. Rove has already planned to have at least that number of additional Republican voters turn out to counter them, if not overwhelm them.

As I said from the start, this isn’t over. Keep pressing hard. The media is serious about delivering their points for Kerry. If Bush is even now, they plan to have him behind on Election Day. Rove is counting on turnout to beat them. So make sure you turn out, and bring as many Bush voters with you as you can.

But most importantly, don’t buy into the despair the media are going to try to use to depress Bush’s turnout. It’s junk. We’re going to catch them by surprise November 2nd, provided we keep our enthusiasm strong.


Blogger subutane said...

Keep dreaming, it's what the GOP does best.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Win or lose, I'm taking your advice.

11:42 PM  

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