The $1 Billion Question: Can Obama Carry NC in 2012? The images in the campaign kickoff video disclose strategy

by johndavis, April 6, 2011

[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/April-6-1-Billion-Question.mp3|titles=April 6 Billion Question] “I don’t agree with Obama on everything, but I respect him and I trust him.” “Ed from North Carolina,” featured in President Obama’s re-election kickoff video, Monday, April 4, 2011 Obama’s 2012 Campaign Strategy Disclosed in Video Released Monday Shhhhhhhhhhh.  If you want to get the inside scoop on Obama’s 2012
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[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/April-6-1-Billion-Question.mp3|titles=April 6 Billion Question]

“I don’t agree with Obama on everything, but I respect him and I trust him.”

“Ed from North Carolina,” featured in President Obama’s re-election kickoff video, Monday, April 4, 2011

Obama’s 2012 Campaign Strategy Disclosed in Video Released Monday

Shhhhhhhhhhh.  If you want to get the inside scoop on Obama’s 2012 campaign strategy, watch his kickoff video with the sound turned down.  The images say it all:  a farm, a church, a middle-income neighborhood, an American flag, Ed from North Carolina sitting on his front porch saying, “I don’t agree with Obama on everything, but I respect him and I trust him.” And then there are the mountains out West, a Hispanic family in the kitchen of their home, Obama speaking at a 2008 rally, a TV image of Fox News projecting Obama the winner of the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, lots of young people attending volunteer meetings, volunteers registering new voters, canvassing door-to-door for support, and making voter turnout calls from a phone bank.

The Obama campaign kickoff video, released Monday, ends with the theme: It begins with us.

Strategically, it looks like the 2008 massive ground game again.  But there’s one thing missing: enthusiastic volunteers.  Barack Obama was one of the most inspirational presidential contenders in U.S. history, especially for the 18-29 year-olds who volunteered by the millions to do the hard work of registering voters; volunteers who turned out record numbers of voters on Election Day.

However, in 2009 we discovered that those enthusiastic Obama voters were not loyal Democrats when their failure to turn out led to the defeat of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey.  Again, in January 2010, a low turnout of Obama voters led to the shocking loss of Ted Kennedy’s seat to Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and a devastating "shellacking" of Democrats last fall throughout the country.

So, why are the Obama strategists introducing their 2012 campaign for re-election with a video that suggests another ground game? The answer is in a dollar figure: $1 billion, the fund-raising goal for the 2012 race.  You can buy a whole bunch of enthusiastic workers with $1 billion.

But, Can Obama Raise $1 Billion?  “Ummm, this ain’t rocket surgery folks.”

President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the White House was a spectacular event.  Using his skills honed as an inner city community organizer in Chicago, he won the race with 7 million more popular votes than any candidate in the history of presidential politics, employing 6,000 staffers who managed an all-volunteer army of 13 million enthusiastic workers.

Obama paid for his historic 2008 campaign by raising a $745 million campaign war chest, staggering when compared to the mere $368 million raised by the McCain camp; staggering when you consider that $500 million was raised online, most in increments of $100 or less.

David Plouffe, President Obama's 2008 campaign manager, revealed their strategic secrets in his book The Audacity to Win.  He tells the story of how a startup group of rag tag recruits defeated the dream teams of both the Democrats and the Republicans with a once-in-a-lifetime-candidate, a single powerful message, “Change,” and a website used to organize and communicate with staff and volunteers.  Oh, also, a website used to raise money unlike any campaign.

In September 2008 alone, the Obama campaign raised $150 million; $100 million of that had been raised online as a result of 10 fund-raising e-mails.  "There were times when we were raising $250,000, $300,000, even $500,000 an hour,"[1]wrote Plouffe.

The reason Obama launched his campaign on Monday, April 4, is that by filing papers with the Federal Election Commission he is now allowed to raise money.  A New York Times story on Monday titled, Obama Opens 2012 Campaign, With Eye on Money and Independent Voters, says Obama, “… is preparing to undertake the most ambitious fund-raising effort by a sitting president.”  What will the money be used for?  “The money will not be used for television ads – this year, at least – but rather to hire an army of workers to begin organizing supporters.”

There you have it, a massive ground game.  Obama’s role?  Run the country and raise money.

Can Obama raise $1 billion?  Well, he is starting early, he is the sitting President of the United States, he raised $745 million in 2008, and he is committed to the most ambitious fund-raising effort ever.  As my favorite uncle once said, “This ain’t rocket surgery folks.”

We made ourselves unbeatable in North Carolina

Throughout the primary, the Obama campaign defied conventional wisdom by targeting those least likely to vote … like younger white voters, independents, newly registered African-American voters, and African-American voters who had voted sporadically in the past.

In North Carolina, they invested heavily in early turnout of non-habitual voters with radio and Internet ads pushing early voting.  They also sent e-mail and text messages to tens of thousands urging early voting; they called tens of thousands more and sent volunteers door-to-door.

On May 6, 2008, Primary Election Day exit polling here in North Carolina was so conclusive that the moment the polls closed the national networks declared Obama the winner over Clinton.

Plouffe recalls the 14-point blowout in his book this way:  “As the returns came in, we could see the traces of our strategy’s design: by registering over 100,000 new voters, producing strong turnout among African-Americans and young voters, and winning college-educated whites thanks to our stand against the gas tax, we made ourselves unbeatable in North Carolina."[2]

Obama’s strategy for carrying North Carolina in November of 2008 was as unconventional as that of the May Primary Election.  He knew he could not defeat a Republican presidential nominee in the Old North State with TV ads, no matter how much money he spent.  His only hope was a massive ground game, registering and turning out non-traditional voters.

To carry out the unconventional strategy, the Obama campaign opened 47 headquarters in North Carolina and hired over 400 paid staff.  These young professionals were responsible for a record early voting total of 2.6 million (only 984,000 voted early in 2004), more voters than on Election Day.  Seven out of 10 of the early voters were either Democrats (51%) or Unaffiliated (19%).  African Americans comprised 28% of early voters, as compared to only 19% in 2004.

When the dust settled after Election Day, Obama had won North Carolina.  For the first time since 1960, North Carolina had elected Democratic sweep to the White House, the Governor’s Mansion and the U.S. Senate in the same election year.  An unconventional strategy produced an equally unconventional result: the first African American president, the first woman governor, and the first Democratic woman to represent the state in the U.S. Senate.

The $1 Billion Question: Can Obama Carry NC in 2012?

All of this brings me to the $1 billion question: Can Obama carry NC in 2012?

To answer that question, I need to remind you of this: John McCain was a weak nominee, too old and too boring; associated with one of the most unpopular presidents in U.S. history, and who blundered mightily by waiting until the last month to campaign in North Carolina.

If Republicans make that same mistake again, the answer is “yes,” Obama will surely invest a competitive amount of his $1 billion war chest in winning North Carolina and can surely win again with his unconventional ground game.  Slight gains in the nation’s economic condition are beginning to be reported.  If the economic trajectory is consistently upward, even if ever so slight, Obama’s job approval will return to 50% and he will win another term.

However, if Republicans field a strong presidential nominee … one who inspires the generosity of Republican donors and raises a conservative army of enthusiastic volunteers who will do the hard work of winning campaigns like registering and turning out voters, then the answer is “no,” Obama will not likely carry North Carolina again … even if he wins a second term handily.

Obama won North Carolina with only 14,177 out of 4.3 million.  He did everything right and his opponent did everything wrong.  The odds are that will not happen again.

- END -


[1] The Audacity to Win, by David Plouffe, Campaign Manager for Obama for America, page 327.

[2] The Audacity to Win, page 229.


Please subscribe to the John Davis Political Report for the 2011-2012 election cycle.  The Premium subscription is $485 a year.  Subscribe online today at www.johndavisconsulting.com/subscribe.

The Advantage subscription is $4,850 per year.  This subscription covers the John Davis Political Report with unlimited distribution rights to your employees or trade association members, along with private political briefings for you, your employees and leadership team, all conducted personally by me at your offices or conference locations.  Call me if you are interested and I will come visit with you: 919-696-3859.

Sincerely,

John N. Davis, President

On the Death of Geraldine Ferraro: NC Women have Defeated Men in 23 of 31 Statewide Campaigns Since 2000

by johndavis, March 30, 2011

[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/JDPR-MARCH-30-2011-Ferraro.mp3|titles=JDPR MARCH 30 2011 Ferraro] “Do not put such unlimited powers into the hands of the Husbands.  Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.  If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which
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[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/JDPR-MARCH-30-2011-Ferraro.mp3|titles=JDPR MARCH 30 2011 Ferraro]

“Do not put such unlimited powers into the hands of the Husbands.  Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.  If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

From a letter written by Abigail Adams to her husband, John,
who was attending the Continental Congress, March 31, 1776

We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems

When Abigail Adams threatened in her March 31, 1776 letter to her husband, John, that women would “foment a Rebellion” if they were not given a say in the new laws of the land, he wrote in reply, “We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems.”

The exchange between Abigail and John Adams amplifies the most important conclusion in this report:  women were not given equal rights by men, they had to seize them.

March is National Women’s History Month.  The 2011 theme is, “Our History is Our Strength.”  President Obama issued a proclamation in which he stated that this is the month during which, “we reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and honor their role in shaping the course of our Nation's history.”

Likewise, Gov. Beverly Perdue, North Carolina's first woman governor, formally announced Women's History Month with a proclamation that included this bit of history: "WHEREAS, in 1774, fifty-one women organized the Edenton Tea Party, one of the earliest political acts taken by North Carolina women in protest of the taxation of the colonies without representation within the British government.”

This report is written in honor of Women’s History Month and on the occasion of the death of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman Vice Presidential candidate of a major political party in American history (Mondale/Ferraro defeated in 1984 by Reagan/Bush).  Although she did not live to realize her dream of attending “the inauguration of first woman president of the United States," surely she must have been made proud a thousand times over as women, inspired in part by her example, seized opportunities to lead throughout every walk of life.

Women Governors and State Executive Elective Offices

North Carolina Leads the South with Women Elected to State Executive Offices

State Executive Elective Offices: In 2011, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, women hold 69 of the nation’s 317 state executive elective offices (38 Democrats, 30 Republicans, and one independent) … including six governorships.

Gov. Beverly Perdue, North Carolina’s first women governor, chairs the Council of State, comprised of 9 statewide executive elective offices.  Women hold 5 of the 9 positions, including Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, State Treasurer Janet Cowell and State Auditor Beth Wood.

In addition to Gov. Perdue here in North Carolina, Oklahoma has a Democrat woman governor.  There are four Republican women serving as governor, including Arizona, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and New Mexico.

  • Ella Grasso (D-CT) was the first woman governor elected in her own right (1974)
  • 34 women have served as governor in 26 states (19 Democrats, 15 Republicans)
  • All but 3 women governors have been elected since Ferraro’s 1984 VP race[1]
  • NC leads the South in 2011 with 6 women elected to state executive offices (5D, 1R)
  • Women currently serving in state executive elective offices in Southern states: AL 5, OK 3, FL 2, TX 2, KY 2, AR 1, SC 1
  • GA, VA, TN, LA and MS have “0” women serving in state executive elective offices

North Carolina’s Battle of the Sexes since 2000: Women 23, Men 8

In 1996, Elaine Marshall, a Democrat from Lillington, became North Carolina’s first woman elected to a statewide executive office.  Marshall out-raced her GOP opponent, “The King” of NASCAR, Richard Petty, by several car lengths.

Since November 2000, there have been 31 statewide general election races in North Carolina that pitted a man against a woman, including state judiciary offices, state executive offices, and federal statewide offices.  Women have won 23 of those 31 races, including two women elected to the U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, and Kay Hagan, a Democrat.

As a result of those 23 statewide wins, women have the majority of the Council of State and the North Carolina Supreme Court.  The seven-member court includes Chief Justice Sarah Parker, Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson (NC’s first African American woman on the court), Justice Robin Hudson and Justice Barbara Jackson.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals had an 8/7 female majority until Gov. Perdue appointed Judge Cressie Thigpen in January to fill the unexpired term of Judge Barbara Jackson, shifting the Court of Appeals to 8/7 male judges.

A toilet, not a urinal, in the judge’s chambers … or go to jail!

Susie Sharp was the first woman to serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court.  She was appointed in 1962 by Democratic Gov. Terry Sanford to fill an unexpired term.  Rhoda Billings was the first Republican woman on the Supreme Court, appointed by GOP Gov. Jim Martin.  In 1986, Justice Billings was appointed Chief Justice, the first Republican woman.

In 1974, Sharp became the first female in the U.S. to be elected Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court, with a landslide 74% of the vote.  However, in the early days of her distinguished career, while serving as the state’s first woman Superior Court Judge, she was not so well received.

On the occasion of the unveiling of Sharp’s portrait at the Supreme Court in 1996, Franklin Freeman, a former Associate Justice, gave the formal address in which he told the story of her confrontation with Burke County commissioners over the matter of the need for a toilet in the judge’s chambers.

“The Burke County commissioners refused, upon learning of her assignment to their county, to modify the only bathroom facilities in the judge's chambers; a sink and a urinal that hung on the wall. Judge Sharp opened court on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. and ordered the sheriff to "invite" the county commissioners over to the courthouse. By 11:00, the courthouse was aflutter with the scurrying about of plumbers, carpenters, and electricians, while the county commissioners narrowly avoided a few nights repose in the county jail.”

Restated for emphasis: women were not given equal rights by men, they had to seize them.

Here are the 31 statewide races in North Carolina since election year 2000 that pitted a woman candidate against a man:

Election Year 2000

Secretary of State

Elaine Marshall (D) defeated Harris Blake (R)

Commissioner of Labor

Cherie Berry (R) defeated Doug Berger (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture

Meg Phipps (D) defeated Steve Troxler (R)

Court of Appeals

Robin Hudson (D) defeated Paul Stam (R)

John Martin (D) defeated Wendy Enochs (R)

Election Year 2002

U.S. Senate

Elizabeth Dole (R) defeated Erskine Bowles (D)

Court of Appeals

Martha Geer (D) defeated Bill Constangy (R)

Sanford Steelman (R) defeated Loretta Biggs (D)

Election Year 2004

Lt. Governor

Beverly Perdue (D) defeated Jim Snyder (R)

Superintendent of Public Instruction

June Atkinson (D) defeated Bill Fletcher (R)

Commissioner of Labor

Cherie Berry(R) defeated Wayne Goodwin (D)

Supreme Court

Sarah Parker (D) defeated John Tyson (R)

Court of Appeals

Linda McGee (D) defeated Bill Parker (R)

Barbara Jackson (R) defeated Alan Thornburg (D)

Election Year 2006

Supreme Court

Sarah Parker (D) defeated Rusty Duke (R)

Patricia Timmons-Goodson (D) defeated Eric Levinson (R)

Mark Martin (R) defeated Rachel Lea Hunter (D)

Election Year 2008

President

Obama/Biden (D) defeated McCain/Palin (R)

Governor

Beverly Perdue (D) defeated Pat McCrory (R)

Secretary of State

Elaine Marshall (D) defeated Jack Sawyer (R)

Auditor

Beth Wood (D) defeated Les Merritt (R)

Treasurer

Janet Cowell (D) defeated Bill Daughtridge (R)

Superintendent of Public Instruction

June Atkinson (D) defeated Richard Morgan (R)

Supreme Court Justice

Justice Robert Edmunds (R) defeated Suzanne Reynolds (D)

Court of Appeals Judge

Judge Linda Stephens (D) defeated Dan Barrett (R)

Cheri Beasley (D) defeated Doug McCullough (R)

Sam Ervin IV (D) defeated Kristen Ruth (D)

Judge Jim Wynn (D) defeated Jewel Ann Farlow (R)

Election Year 2010

United States Senate

Sen. Richard Burr (R) defeated Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D)

Supreme Court Justice

Judge Barbara Jackson (R) defeated Judge Bob Hunter (D)

Court of Appeals Judge

Judge Martha Geer (D) defeated Dean Poirier (R)


Ferraro’s Dream: the inauguration of the first woman US President

When Abigail Adams wrote to her husband on March 31, 1776, “If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation,” little did she know that the “Rebellion” would take two centuries.

John Adams would follow George Washington as the nation’s chief executive, elected President of the United States in 1796.  It would be exactly 200 years later, 1996, before the first woman would serve in an executive role as important as Secretary of State of the United States … the highest-ranking cabinet secretary in line of succession in the event of the death or incapacity of the president. Her name was Madeleine Korbel Albright.

Madeleine Albright was born in Prague, the daughter of a Czech diplomat.  She was appointed Secretary of State in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, becoming the 64th US Secretary of State.  Since Albright, two women have been appointed Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, appointed by Republican President G.W. Bush in 2005, and the current US Secretary of State, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2009.

Although Geraldine Ferraro died last week before realizing her dream of attending “the inauguration of first woman president of the United States," surely she took great pride in just how close Hillary Clinton came to winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and in seeing another woman run on a major party presidential ticket with the selection of Sarah Palin by GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

She didn’t live to see a woman president, but she lived to see tens of thousands of women elected to governmental service and ascend to the highest positions of respect and authority in public and private life; she lived to see tens of millions of women seize their equal rights and opportunities.

One day these awe inspiring words will be spoken, and when they are, we will remember Geraldine Ferraro: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States and Mister ….”


[1] Refers to women elected in their own right.

Please subscribe to the John Davis Political Report for the 2011-2012 election cycle.  The Premium subscription is $485 a year.  Subscribe online today at www.johndavisconsulting.com/subscribe.

The Advantage subscription is $4,850 per year.  This subscription covers the John Davis Political Report with unlimited distribution rights to your employees or trade association members, along with private political briefings for you, your employees and leadership team, all conducted personally by me at your offices or conference locations.  Call me if you are interested and I will come visit with you: 919-696-3859.

Sincerely,

John N. Davis, President

Is the NC Democratic Party the Toyota of State Politics? #10: Obama is Walking on Oily Water in a Sea of Disappointments

by johndavis, June 11, 2010

Part V: Liability 10 “What’s disappointing to me,” said Stupak, “is learning that Toyota seems to have focused more on discrediting its critics than on solving the problem.” Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, May 20, 2010, U.S. House Commerce Committee Hearing on Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems[i] Obama: Walking on Oily Water in a Sea of Disappointments
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Part V: Liability 10

“What's disappointing to me," said Stupak, "is learning that Toyota seems to have focused more on discrediting its critics than on solving the problem." Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, May 20, 2010, U.S. House Commerce Committee Hearing on Toyota’s sudden acceleration problems[i]

Obama: Walking on Oily Water in a Sea of Disappointments

Obama’s inspiring oratory and hopeful message of change during the 2008 presidential race moved tens of millions from every walk of life to believe that he would be different; that he would be far greater than his predecessor.

And certainly President Obama would be able to manage a disaster better than the way President Bush handled Katrina.  But now, in the aftermath of a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf, what we see is a vulnerable and defensive leader with approval ratings plummeting to new lows.[ii]

North Carolina Democrats were counting on President Obama to inspire the winning difference in 2010 as he did in 2008.  Instead, what they have is just another bumbling president betrayed by his gift for gab … a mere mortal walking on oily water in a sea of disappointments.

Obama Disappoints: Average Weekly Job Approval Reaches All-Time Low in June

The great hope for change in Washington has been reduced to great disappointments following political disaster after political disaster.  It’s little wonder that President Obama’s job approval rating is only 44%, a 52-week low.  According to Gallup, Obama’s weekly average job approval has reached a new low as well, 46%, from a weekly average of 65% this time a year ago.[iii]

  • He ran as a man of great courage but has become a defensive scapegoater
  • He ran as a friend of the environmentalists but authorized more offshore drilling
  • He ran as a dove but has morphed into a hawk on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • He ran as a uniter but has become a partisan wrecking ball with his legislative agenda
  • He ran as a centrist but is governing as a liberal surrounded by liberals
  • He ran as a man of the people but put his priority, healthcare, ahead of their priority, jobs
  • He ran as a man who would close Gitmo and would not hire lobbyists … ha!
  • He ran as a leader committed to fiscal responsibility but is overseeing a doubling of the national debt (projected at $19 trillion by 2015); “unsustainable” said Bernanke 6/10
  • He ran against Wall Street but recapitalized their bonuses with taxpayer money
  • He ran as an economic and jobs stimulator but unemployment/underemployment is still at 20%,[iv] with almost all of the new jobs in May being temporary with the Census Bureau
  • He said his would be the most transparent administration in history yet he manages the news media with connivances, stonewalling and defensive double-speak

Obama would be well served to closet himself for a while at the White House and ponder Ralph Waldo Emerson’s sage caution, “What you are speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.”

Where’s the Unlimited Money? The Paid Staff? The Enthusiastic Volunteers?

Continue reading »

Is the NC Democratic Party the Toyota of State Politics? #7 & #8: Dissatisfied Voters View “Ins” as Dismissive and Un-American

by johndavis, May 20, 2010

Part III: Liabilities 7-8 “Our first job is to vote out all politicians, local, state and federal, who work against the founding philosophy and principals of our country.”[i] W. David Stedman, Ret. Chmn., Stedman Corporation, Asheboro, The Destruction of the Great American Dream This is Part III in a series of reports suggesting that the
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Part III: Liabilities 7-8

“Our first job is to vote out all politicians, local, state and federal, who work against the founding philosophy and principals of our country.”[i]

W. David Stedman, Ret. Chmn., Stedman Corporation, Asheboro, The Destruction of the Great American Dream

This is Part III in a series of reports suggesting that the North Carolina Democratic Party is much like the Toyota Motor Company in that they are both among the great organizational successes in American history, and both are losing market share because of sloppy standards and corrupt leaders.

Forbes.com carried an editorial on April 26, 2010, titled, The Real Reason for Toyota’s Troubles, in which Kenneth Brill, founder of the Uptime Institute, hypothesized that the random catastrophic failure of Toyota’s acceleration systems was most likely the result of multiple and perhaps unrelated interacting causes.  “At least five and as many as ten things must interact to produce the failure of a well-designed system,” said Brill, “Any one thing by itself will cause a problem but not a catastrophic event.”

What makes 2010 potentially catastrophic for North Carolina Democrats is that there are ten political liabilities unfolding at the same time.  Any one or several of the Top 10 Political Liabilities Leading to a Loss of Market Share would not be politically catastrophic.  Many times down through the decades, Democrats have weathered eras of corrupt leaders; they have overcome Republican-friendly years, weak governors, high turnover of incumbents, unpopular presidents, budget problems, economic slumps, anti-establishment voters, third party movements, low turnout, declining party loyalty, high unemployment, unpopular wars and a surge in opposition strength … but not at the same time like we are seeing today.

In Parts I and II of the series, I wrote about liabilities including:

#1:         A Weak Democratic Governor Will be a Drag on Democratic Candidates

#2:         Basnight’s Cash on Hand Down by 30% with a Tougher Hill to Climb

#3:         Democrats have all of the Power and Get all of the Blame

#4:         A Nation and State of Voters Fearing Financial Collapse Due to Spending

#5:         Corrupt Leaders: Toyota the Safety Automaker; Perdue the Ethics Governor

#6:         The Issue is the Economy, and Democrats Own the Economy

Here are liabilities 7 and 8:

#7:       Regnat Populus!  Dissatisfied Voters View “Ins” as Dismissive and Un-American

Wednesday, Gallup announced that so far in 2010, an average of only 23% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States.  The 2010 average is “well below the 40% historical average” over the past 30 years, and is the “lowest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, dating to 1982.”[ii]

To put this percentage in perspective, the all-time high was 71% in February, 1999, when we were enjoying the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history.  The all-time low was 7% in October 2008, leading to catastrophic losses for the “ins”: Republicans.

The dissatisfaction sweeping the county first became apparent last summer with TV news footage of awkward and embarrassed incumbents taken aback by the ire of finger-wagging-in-your-face constituents at Town Hall Meetings.  The political significance of the dissatisfaction played out with upsets in the governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey, and with the shocking upset election of Republican Scott Brown in former Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat.

In April, another key antiestablishment signal came with the stunning turnabout in the U.S. Senate GOP primary race in Florida, where incumbent GOP Gov. Charlie Crist dropped out to run as an Independent because the more conservative GOP candidate had a 2-to-1 advantage.

Last week, we saw the antiestablishment ouster of incumbents like Republican Bob Bennett in Utah and West Virginia Democrat Allan Mollohan.  This week we saw the antiestablishment overthrow of Pennsylvania’s Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, along with the big Tea Party antiestablishment upset in Kentucky as Rand Paul was elected GOP Senate nominee despite Republican Party establishment opposition.

In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln was forced into a primary runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter as the antiestablishment/anti-Washington virus spread west of the Mississippi, reinforcing the meaning of the state’s motto, "Regnat Populus," meaning "The People Rule.”

David Stedman, Ret. Chmn., Stedman Corporation, Asheboro, writes in his latest book, The Destruction of the Great American Dream, “Our first job is to vote out all politicians, local, state and federal, who work against the founding philosophy and principals of our country.”[iii] Based on what voters have done since last summer, it looks like a lot of folks read his book!

Just like Republicans, who were in trouble in North Carolina when satisfaction with the direction of the country was low in 2008, Democrats in North Carolina are in trouble with low satisfaction with the direction of the country in 2010 … the “lowest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, dating to 1982.”v]

#8:       Enthusiasm + Internet = Turnout; Party Infrastructural Advantage Threatened

Imagine a parade without a leader; a parade that simply forms in the street and grows in number as people come out of their kitchens and backyards and join those already on the march.  That’s what’s happening in American politics today.  Pundits and party pros snobbishly criticize the lack of organization of groups like the Tea Party movement, in denial that these folks are a bottom up parade of angry citizens who are using the Internet rather than the party as a means of communicating with each other and turning out their like-minded voters.

In a Politico story yesterday titled, Activists seize control of politics, Jim Vande Hei wrote, “The old structures that protected incumbent power are weakening. New structures, from partisan news outlets to online social networks, are giving anti-establishment politicians access to two essential elements of effective campaigns: publicity and financial support.”[v]

Take a look at the following political ad for Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture.  This is a great example of the power of the internet as an equalizer to traditional party communications advantages:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU7fhIO7DG0&NR=1

This ad has been posted for one day and has been seen by 818,244 people … including you.  Cost to the candidate for those 818,244 views?  $0.  This guy is going to win without the party.

Even the most liberal sources acknowledge the Internet as a means to bypass the traditional party infrastructures and win campaigns.  This week, Markos Moulitsas of the liberal Daily Kos said, “The old structures have been eroding, … we're building a world in which people can bypass their parties' institutional forces and make up their own minds on who to support.”

On Tuesday, Gallup unveiled a new national poll on enthusiasm in which they concluded, “Conservatives are significantly more enthusiastic about voting in this fall's congressional elections than are liberals or moderates. Those who say they are "very" conservative are the most enthusiastic of all.”

Experts have concluded that catastrophic failure of Toyota’s acceleration systems was most likely the result of multiple causes happening at the same time.  What makes 2010 potentially catastrophic for North Carolina Democrats is that there are 10 political liabilities unfolding at the same time, not the least of which are the historic low level of satisfaction with the direction of the country and the high level of enthusiasm for voting among conservatives.



[i] The Destruction of the Great American Dream, W. David Stedman, Published 2009; Pg. 37

[ii] Gallup, May 19, 2010; http://www.gallup.com/poll; Satisfaction with U.S. Historically Low for Midterm Year

[iii] The Destruction of the Great American Dream, W. David Stedman, Published 2009; Pg. 37

[iv] Gallup, May 19, 2010; http://www.gallup.com/poll; Satisfaction with U.S. Historically Low for Midterm Year

[v] http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37468.html#ixzz0oOWBrAJG

Is the NC Democratic Party the Toyota of State Politics? #5 & #6: Economy and Corruption – Democrats Own Both

by johndavis, May 12, 2010

Part II: Liabilities 5 – 6 NC Republicans do not have to raise the political bar closer to that of Democrats to seize power in 2010 if Democrats lower their political bar closer to that of Republicans. This is Part II in a series of reports suggesting that the North Carolina Democratic Party is much
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Part II: Liabilities 5 - 6

NC Republicans do not have to raise the political bar closer to that of Democrats to seize power in 2010 if Democrats lower their political bar closer to that of Republicans.

This is Part II in a series of reports suggesting that the North Carolina Democratic Party is much like the Toyota Motor Company.  They are both among the great organizational successes in American history, and both are losing market share because of sloppy standards and corrupt leaders.

Last Tuesday, May 4, the Associated Press reported that a U.S. Senate committee was recommending a major overhaul to the nation’s auto safety requirements following Toyota’s recalls involving 8 million cars and trucks.  Toyota was forced to pay a record fine for failing to disclose a safety defect with sticking gas pedals in a timely manner, and is currently facing an estimated $4 billion in personal injury/wrongful death lawsuits.[i]

On Monday, the AP reported that Toyota spent a record $2,498 per vehicle on incentives in March, a 53% increase over last year. [ii] Toyota is minimizing brand damage caused by faulty gas pedals and brakes the same way the state Democratic Party minimizes brand damage caused by sloppy standards and corrupt leaders: by spending a lot of money on spin control.

In Part I of the series, I wrote about:

#1:  A Weak Democratic Governor Will be a Drag on Democratic Candidates

#2:  Basnight’s Cash on Hand Down by 30% with a Tougher Hill to Climb

#3:  Democrats have all of the Power and Get all of the Blame

#4:  A Nation and State of Voters Fearing Financial Collapse Due to Spending

Here are political liabilities 5 – 6:

#5:  Corrupt Leaders: Toyota the Safety Automaker like Perdue the Ethics Governor

I was sitting at the kitchen table Tuesday morning reading a story in the News & Observer about yet another NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) investigation into Toyota’s failure to report problems with defective steering rods,[iii] when a Toyota ad came on the television.  The carmaker was extolling its commitment to safety.  Ironically, the N&O also carried a story Tuesday about Gov. Perdue extolling her commitment to ethics reform.

If you are committed to ethics reform, you really should do something besides just claim to be for ethics reform.  And, if you are going to make speeches around the state decrying the evils of "smoke-filled rooms," "pay-to-play" politics and “back room dealing,” you certainly don’t hire people like … ummmmm, well, to quote Gov. Perdue, “I don’t have to give any examples.  I don’t have to call any names.”[iv] (Actually, I was going to name former state Senator Tony “Back Room Deal” Rand, who served as Chairman of the Rules Committee and Majority Leader in the Senate until last year, but thought better of it.)  Second thought:

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Key Predictors Foretelling North Carolina’s 2010 Elections: The Republican, the Democrat and the Drowning Man

by ericstroud, January 7, 2010

There was a drowning man, 50 feet from shore. A 50 foot rope lay on the beach. A Republican came along and seeing the man struggling threw him 25 feet of rope and said, “If you’ll swim half way I’ll pull you on in.” A Democrat came along and seeing the man struggling threw him
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There was a drowning man, 50 feet from shore. A 50 foot rope lay on the beach. A Republican came along and seeing the man struggling threw him 25 feet of rope and said, “If you’ll swim half way I’ll pull you on in.” A Democrat came along and seeing the man struggling threw him 50 feet of rope, then dropped the rope and went off to do another good deed. The man drowned.

As we begin the 2010 election year, all indicators are pointing favorably towards Republicans. We saw in Virginia and New Jersey last year that President Obama’s base is a mile wide and an inch deep. They didn’t vote. Obama’s liberal notions are beginning to raise doubts about his leadership in a nation where 8 out of 10 voters are either conservative or moderate.1 In our state, Democrats are rocked by scandal, a budget crisis and the fall of the Basnight/Rand Empire.

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Character Issue: America’s Hypocrisy Pandemic or Political Morality Lessons for 2010 from the Clinton-Lewinski Scandal of 1998

by johndavis, September 24, 2009

On December 19, 1998, after a year of Congressional investigations and testimony riddled with salacious scandal, the U.S. House voted to impeach President Clinton. The next day, December 20, 1998, Clinton’s approval rating jumped ten points to 73 percent, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, an all time high for the embattled president, and higher
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On December 19, 1998, after a year of Congressional investigations and testimony riddled with salacious scandal, the U.S. House voted to impeach President Clinton. The next day, December 20, 1998, Clinton’s approval rating jumped ten points to 73 percent, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, an all time high for the embattled president, and higher than the highest approval rating ever achieved by President Ronald Reagan. At the same time, the number of Americans with a favorable view of the Republican Party fell ten points.

On Monday of this week, an Associated Press story1 reported that a new conservative group called Wake Up America has been organized here in North Carolina, a group intent on saving our state from corrupt, socialistic Democrats. Their TV ad2 states that “Corrupt Democrat leaders have been jailed in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008,” and raises the question, “Are NC Democrats the most politically corrupt in America?"

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NC’s 2010 Political Racing Season Kicks Off Monday: Does the Labor Day Pole Position Increase the Odds of Winning?

by johndavis, September 1, 2009

Labor Day marks the traditional kickoff of the 2009-2010 political racing season, with the victory lane winner earning the right to draw congressional and legislative districts for the next decade. Democrats start the race for partisan advantage in the pole position, the coveted front row, inside lane in motor sports. Democrats won the pole position
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Labor Day marks the traditional kickoff of the 2009-2010 political racing season, with the victory lane winner earning the right to draw congressional and legislative districts for the next decade. Democrats start the race for partisan advantage in the pole position, the coveted front row, inside lane in motor sports.

Democrats won the pole position by seizing all of North Carolina’s political power, including a majority in the state Senate and House, the congressional delegation, and the state Court of Appeals. Democrats own the keys to the governor's mansion, and have an 8 to 2 advantage on the North Carolina Council of State. The only majority held by Republicans in state government is their 4 to 3 advantage on the "nonpartisan" (wink-wink) state Supreme Court. But does the pole position increase the odds of winning?

The greatest advantage of having almost all of the political power is that you get almost all of the political money. Money, most of which is contributed by the affluent, matters a whole lot in political racing. The candidate with the most money wins 87% of the time.
However, there is growing speculation that we are seeing a decline in the influence of affluence in American politics due to the Internet and the recession. Of the $745 million raised by Barack Obama in 2008, $500 million was raised on the Internet, with 6 million donations in increments of $100 or less. The have-nots contributed more than the haves.

The declining influence of affluence will also be apparent in the 2009-2010 election cycle because there are fewer contributors financially able to write big checks. Americans have reportedly lost $3 trillion in home equity and $7 trillion in shareholder wealth. We are seeing an additional 2.4 million new foreclosures this year, and unemployment is expected to reach 10% by year’s end.1 Don’t count on contributions from these folks.

The greatest disadvantage of having almost all of the political power is that you get almost all of the blame for everything bad that happens. As of the last week of August, Gallup’s national poll shows Obama’s job approval in a free fall since his January high of 69%, down to 50% at summer’s end.2 Two major concerns are driving the growing loss of confidence in the president: his handling of the economic crisis and healthcare reform.
According to mid-August Rasmussen Reports,3 more Americans trust Republicans on the healthcare issue than Democrats by 44% to 41%, with Democrats way down from their 10-point lead on the issue in June. This time a year ago, Democrats led Republicans on every major issue of the day except terrorism. Today, according to Rasmussen, voters prefer Republicans over Democrats on 8 out of the top 10 major issues of the day, including education and social security, issues in which Democrats have long enjoyed a public opinion advantage.

Further evidence that the Democrats may have a tough race ahead of them in 2010 is the fact that for the first time in two years, Republicans lead Democrats in the “generic congressional ballot,” with about 42% of Americans saying they are more likely to vote Republican in next year's congressional elections and about 38% more likely to vote for the Democrat. This time a year ago, Democrats had a 10 point advantage over Republicans on the same generic congressional ballot.

Democrats in North Carolina are facing a litany of grievances that they will have to defend throughout the race, like their handling of the state budget crisis, which includes raising taxes by over $1 billion and making unpopular budget cuts like the loss of thousands of teachers and state employees and the closing of prisons, cuts that were deemed necessary by the same budget writers who approved a $25 million fishing pier. Can’t you hear that ad?

Democrats will also have to defend the out-of-control growth of high-paying administrative jobs in the UNC system, jobs characterized by system President Erskine Bowles as "an absolute embarrassment." They are also facing voters angry about the misuse of political power, like Mary Easley's $170,000 salary scandal that has led to the resignation of the Chancellor of NC State University, along with the provost and the chairman of the Board of Trustees. That scandal now includes allegations that State Auditor Beth Woods withheld an audit critical of Easley’s compensation package.

Former Governor Mike Easley, whose actions are under scrutiny by a federal grand jury, faces a growing list of allegations of a breach of the public trust that now include the mysterious disappearance of flight records in the hands of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. A federal grand jury has been gathering evidence for months. Surely indictments will follow.

This summer, we witnessed a spontaneous combustion among paycheck-to-paycheck voters at Town Hall meetings, voters shouting members of congress into a corner with in-your-face accusations of incompetence. Throughout the state and nation self-made challengers are stirring about, talking to family and friends and political insiders about exploiting this era of voter ire … an era in which voters are more likely to pull for the underdogs running on shoestring budgets and aided by unemployed volunteers using the Internet to organize and get out their messages … underdogs raising what money they can from many facing financial hardship but mad enough to write a small check to one of the little guys who will take a stand for have-nots.

Granted, the Democrats in North Carolina have the pole position at the Labor Day kickoff of the 2009-2010 political racing season. But, does the pole position increase the odds of winning? A recent study of the 2,102 NASCAR races held between 1949 and 2005, shows that "the marginal probability that the pole-sitter wins a race has been steadily declining over time.”4 Only 480 of the pole-sitters won those 2,102 races.

Pole-sitters beware.

References

  1. The Financial Forecast Center; http://forecasts.org/unemploy.htm
  2. Gallup Poll, 8/26/2009
  3. Rasmussen Poll, 8/13/2009
  4. The Value of the Pole: Evidence from NASCAR, Craig Depken, II, Department of Economics, Belk School of Business, UNC-Charlotte; May 2008