Monday, December 21, 2009

Get Ready for the Campaign Deluge

I spent a relatively politics-free weekend (nice for a change), but in the back of my mind, I was thinking with a sense of morbid curiosity about what we're about to experience starting in about two weeks, given that the Illinois primary is so ridiculously early (Feb. 2nd).

After the first of the year, we're going to have little over 30 days for dozens and dozens of candidates all vying for public office to make themselves and their positions known to voters. Through radio, TV, direct mail, social networking, and just about every other medium you can think of (old-fashioned billboards, anyone?), we are all going to be inundated with the smiling faces of these clean-cut, American-as-apple-pie candidates trying to worm their way into your hearts and living rooms to get you to come out and "VOTE!" Of course, some of those pictures may be of scowling candidates and nasty messages if the ads are negative, which many of them will be. Just look at the stuff being put out by Alexi Giannouias and David Hoffman as they go toe-to-toe for the Dem nomination for U.S. Senate.

Of course, many candidates are not waiting for the beginning of the new year to push their message (I've already been carpet-bombed by the Bob Dold campaign with one-page mailers in my mailbox), but conventional wisdom holds that average voters are simply not going to be engaged until after we get past New Year's Day.

The conundrum- save everything you have for when the voters will start paying attention (but risked being drowned out by the torrent of mailings and evening news ads) or start early and spend a significant amount of your war chest now, when the voters might not be focused, but will be less inundated. ???



Anonymous said...

Interesting chatter at RALC holiday party the other night---i.e whos' gonna be the conservative party's 'writein' candidate if Coulson and/or Bassi win their primaries?? yikes

Anonymous said...

That's pretty amusing, but harmless. The RALC has never elected a candidate yet. And even good conservative candidates like Curran and Sugrue can't count on them because they are so ineffective. Just because you gripe to no end has nothing to do with being able to turn out votes.

Show me a candidate who ever got a check from the RALC and I'll show you a... well, never mind, I'll never have to show you a thing, so why bother to come up with something.

Anonymous said...

I think pretty much every mailer sent to-date ended up unread in someone's recycling bin. They did at my house.

At some point I start to get a bit irritated. The Green television ad just crossed that threshold for me.

Team America said...

I hear you, Anon 9:17. So, if you were advising a candidate, what would you suggest is the most effective way to get your message out? Door knockers? TV-only? Free doughnuts at the train stations?

You obviously are interested in politics, or you wouldn't be on this blog. So, if the die-hards are already sick of this, what does the general populace think?

Badge of Honor said...

Dearest TA and faithful readers - I thought I'd share a quote from yesterday's New York Times to cheer you all as it cheered me:

"The debate spotlight was on Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer and front-runner, who is clearly improving as a candidate but given to a too-slick-by-half, frat-boy superficiality à la Mr. Blagojevich."

Merry Christmas Alexi - Mwahaahaaahaaha

for more deliciousness see here:

Anonymous said...

I attended the RALC Christmas party, and I didn't hear anyone say that anyone would be write-in candidates, if Coulson and/or Bassi won their primaries. I've been a member for seven years.

The RALC's state filing status prohibits them from donating or endorsing.

Team America said...

Thanks, BOH. That's an interesting article and probably not one I would have likely picked up on, since the NYT is not on my usual reading rotation.

Here's a live link to the article for everyone's convenience.

Note that they don't even hazard a suggestion that anybody but Kirk will be the GOP nominee, tee hee.

Anonymous said...

It was a pretty good piece. The put downs on the democrats are amazing. Warren is a liberal.

Ross Douthat is in the times, Team and a guy to watch. Also david brooks at the new york times (who predicted on the news hour that kirk would be our next u.s. senator 5 weeks ago) is probably the biggest Mark kirk cheerleader in the national press corps after mort kondracke at roll call.


Anonymous said...

Re the best way to get to people. I think the very best thing is human-human contact. While a candidate can't meet everyone in a district, they need to get out enough that people hear about them getting out (if you get my drift). Next comes volunteers - enthusiastic people who talk about a candidate face-to-face with potential voters. Next would come signs that a real human being has stopped by - a good door hanger with a trinket or two.

The rest of the stuff is lower yield I think. Commercials, mailers, radio ads, etc. They probably work best if they imitate a personal interaction with the candidate - that's why I think Dold's ad is probably better than Green's. But, people still like their privacy and any kind of campaigning that starts to intrude will be a net negative. Green's ad is definitely irritating people I That's why you can't substitute TV ads for real live human campaigning.

I remember when I was in my twenties I saw Paul Simon walking down Michigan avenue by himself the day after his first senatorial election. He was shaking hands and thanking people for their vote. From that moment on I loved the man - just due to that personal interaction. And everyone I told about it felt similarly.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:33, Mark follows in the Porter tradition of thanking voters in person the morning after each election. He works the Metra station downtown shaking hands and thanking all for their support. That was a Porter standard and was always well received. You are right in the how to's of campaigning. Some get it, most don't. Mark Kirk does a super job of getting out and meeting his voters and it has always been well received. I think that's obvious.

Anonymous said...

dold has a video of him at a manufacturing plant which I will give him credit is a great political optic generally seen only at higher levels. That said watching the 7.5 minute thing I fell asleep after minute 1 and the content was not that all enlightening. Porter wasn't the most charismatic guy (although he could give a heckuva speech, and mark won't make anyone's mr. charisma list), but I need something more than the tone of a librarian. Pup has had 5 years of prep and is a master at talking out of ellen on the stump-I'll let you decide on the term for his content. Dold is going to have to win over people and generally speaking vanilla isn't the favorite flavor of political persuasion.

Happy Holidays and to Tribesmen like Tikkun, enjoy your chinese food and movies.

Fan of King Louis Astaves the Ellen and Alexi Slayer

Anonymous said...

BTW, here is the Dold video at the manufacturing plant. Judge for yourself.

Anonymous said...

It's a really smart political move. Hillary won her senate race in 2000 when she went on a listening tour to manufacturing plants and places all over her adopted state, but the guy needs to be injected with coffee and a lot of new ideas.