Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ELE-101: How to Win An Election

Weekly Presidential Politics - 4/18/07

Quick housekeeping note: Over at my Presidential Politics for America website, I've been using the nine days off during April Vacation to write one post a day, each post dedicated to a possible general election showdown. (Examples: McCain vs. Edwards, Giuliani vs. Clinton, etc.) Today is day five and I will tend to a new match up in short order. Yesterday, in my Giuliani vs. Clinton preview, the terrific author of 1% More Conscious weighed in with a lengthy, well thought-out comment that deserves a response. I felt there was no better venue than on his blog.

Thanks for the comment Sptmck. I will take your points one at a time.

Hillary/Richardson ticket - On the Richardson point, I concede the high ground. Always the sucker for electoral math, I have these numbers in my head every time I sit down to write a column. I admit that Bill Richardson's presence on a ticket does attract Latino voters, and while I won't exactly genuflect at New Mexico's five electoral votes, the possibility of turning Florida blue is magnetizing.

If you recall, I paired Richardson with both Obama and Edwards in their faux battle against John McCain. I understand all the positives brought forth by having Richardson on a ticket. Therefore, perhaps he's the best choice for the #2 spot regardless of the winner. The Dems better make damn sure, however, that they win Florida, because a Hillary Clinton nomination with no true southerner (Grits and NASCAR) on the bottom half will alienate more than half the country. We're talking a guaranteed loss of the popular vote.

Hillary/Dodd ticket - Talk about alienating 80% of the country. Two Northeast Dems? Dodd could recite Cervantes while riding a unicycle and eating chiles en nogada and the Hispanic community wouldn't care any more than they did in 2004.

Hillary/Obama Ticket - At this point, it’s either all or nothing for Senator Obama. After being thrust into the spotlight like the offspring of two celebrities, he won't be swallowing his pride to accept a #2 spot. Moreover, no Presidential nominee is going to choose a running mate that will outdraw and overshadow them throughout a campaign. Still, I'd say that the #2 spot is the perfect situation for Obama. He’s young, he’s got little national experience, and frankly, he might not be able win a general election yet. In fact, my Dream Team for the Democrats has him as the Vice-Presidential nominee.

He just won't do it.

Okay, Giuliani time - Many think that winning an election is having the right answers to questions on a variety of issues. Well, it's not about the answers. It's about the questions themselves. The questions that are being asked during a Presidential campaign dictate the winner more than the scripted and tested ten-word answers to these questions.

If the primary questions during an election are regarding national security, Republicans are going to win every time. Every time. I don't care what the Democrat is saying. Republicans will win national security elections. If it were about the economy, job, health care and other domestic issues, the Democrat would win, right? Again, the questions being asked are more important than the answers.

So what will the questions be in a Giuliani-Clinton campaign? They've both already hung their hat on the war and national defense. In Rudy Giuliani, you have the classic national security candidate. No one doubts that national security is his bread and butter. He's soft on the inside (the Baggage you mentioned), but first you have to get past his exterior polarized hull plating.

One more note on Giuliani's Baggage before I sign off: My general election previews are operating under the assumption that they won the nomination of their party. If Giuliani can get through a Republican Primary with all of these problems, he might come out invincible on the other side. So minorities won't vote for him...they weren't excited about George W. Bush either, and he's staggering across the finish line of his second term.

So how do you win an election? Forget about having the right answers. Make sure the right questions are being asked. Stick to your strengths and don't wander onto your opponent's home field. Hillary Clinton has become tethered to national defense, and both John McCain and Rudy Giuliani would defeat her in a general election.


sptmck said...

IC--I do appreciate your insight and analyses, and we (my multiple personalities and I) do appreciate your weekly contributions to this blog; you have developed quite a following. So my props to you, dawg.

I certainly agree with you with respect to Dodd on a Hillary ticket--a major crater in my argument. However, the money trail is everything and the fact that Hillary (who--for the record--is not my candidate) has already wiped downtown Manhattan with Rudy's butt, is enormously telling. Stories emerged on the...Internets last summer about Hillary's high level meetings with the Wall Street, hedge fund crowd. Even the mad money, madman Jim Cramer on Tweety's (Chris Matthews) weekend show indicated how WS likes the Clintons. Also, let's not forget that it was Giuliani who went after WS demigods like Marc Rich way back when; it was Clinton who pardoned Rich. So that deck of cards remains to be seen, but it definitely plays in favor of Hill.

Again, Rudy on national defense is a...joke. Unlike McCain who has the military experience and a hero's history, Rudy is a big poser who had his Big Apple Moment. And this IS the stength of his campaign. After the '93 bombing of the trade center, what did Rudy do? He put part of the emergency response the WTC. Nice. How about Rudy's relationship with, oh, let's say the firefighters who were so instrumental in the 9/11 response? That will raise an eyebrow or a few million. Also, much to the dismay of our conservative colleague, Rudy is a FLIP-FLOPPER extraoridinaire; take a visit to YOUTUBE for the evidence Sure, should he be up against Hillary, he'll get some of the conservative vote; however, many strategists have already indicated that several conservative cohorts will do what they always do when they feel they don't have a choice: stay home. Rudy's meglamaniacal treatment of law enforcement in NYC will NOT win him any favors with Civil Rights/Civil Liberties or minority groups. Just check out the wikipedia dish on Rudy and his lopsided treatment of certain suspects of certain skin colors. Lastly, Rasmussen (not exactly left-leaning) has reported recently that both Clinton and our preferred candidate Edwards have gained ground on Rudy-Tunudy-Flip-Flop-For-A-Votey; Clinton and Edwards this early out are leading. So, should Hillary get the nod and get the right person on her ticket, she'll wipe Rudy's butt with the Northeast, possibly Florida, the West Coast, and some states in the Southwest; it won't be a landside but she will win. Run, Rudy, R U N.

IC said...

Excellent, excellent points. I just hope you don't give the voting public too much credit. I agree that Giuliani isn't nearly as strong on security as he wants us to believe, but that doesn't change the *perception* that he'll keep us safe.

Listen, I don't think he'll win the nomination. Of all of the Big Six candidates, I think he has the worst chance to be in the general election next year. But if he DOES get there, it shows he was able to convince a skeptical bloc of voters to vote for him. And that ain't nothing.