HOW MAIL AND PHONES CAN TAKE DOWN A STRONGER OPPONENT
Dane Strother of the Democrat consulting firm Strother Strategies lays out how traditional phone and direct mail help crack an election rigged in favor of a political dynasty — the powerful three-term president of the Cherokee Nation. Previous opponents had tried the traditional debates, rallies and TV ads, only to fail.
Strother, writing for Campaigns and Elections, says in part:
“The race to head the Cherokee Nation isn’t typically a contest favorable to the use of more traditional campaign techniques–new media, direct mail and phones. So the question for our team upon deciding to take on the challenge of unseating a 12-year incumbent this past year was whether modern campaign tactics could work in a storied and somewhat closed political culture…
“…The goal was to unseat Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith, who was running for another term as head of America’s largest Native American tribe. We knew from the start that it would be no easy task. Smith was an attractive, charismatic politician who understood how to use the mechanism and resources of government to completely control the Cherokee Nation–and to maintain a stranglehold on the tribe’s election process. Previous races against the chief ended in lopsided losses as vendors and insiders contributed the $5,000 max to the incumbent and challengers were left with no avenue for contributions.
“The imbalance was easy to understand. As chief, Smith named the tribe’s Supreme Court, the election commission, the attorney general, the secretary of state and the treasurer. The Nation’s Council of the tribe must approve the appointments, but Smith had long ago gained control of that body. In his position, he single-handedly controlled an annual budget approaching $1 billion, nine casinos and a myriad of businesses. Arguably, chief of the Cherokee Nation is a better job than Oklahoma governor…
“…(Smith’s opponent, Cherokee councilman Bill John) Baker had a friend in one-time Oklahoma congressional hopeful Kalyn Free. EMILY’s List had previously backed Free as a challenger to Rep. Dan Boren. She agreed to help Baker and phoned me. We decided to bring on John Jameson of Winning Connections to handle phones and Merv Wampold of Wampold Strategies to develop a direct mail program…
“…The results of our baseline poll were daunting–Smith’s approval rating was 67 percent and his reelect was 53 percent, most of which was very solid. The first horserace question had Smith leading Baker 52 percent to 10 percent, and more than 65 percent of Cherokee voters thought the Nation was moving in the right direction. Given those numbers as a starting point, I’d usually advise a challenger to save his time and money, but in this case our goal was to surprise the establishment with modern tactics and a message-driven campaign. So we pressed forward…
“…Following a couple of bio pieces we mailed to voters introducing them to Baker and his business and family background, we started hammering folks with mailers demanding the plane be sold and the proceeds distributed to health clinics…
“…But even after the start of a solid outreach effort, anchored by a message we were confident would help bring Smith back down to earth, the incumbent still wasn’t taking us seriously. He had his tribal employees respond to the attacks with lengthy and poorly crafted mail pieces and newspaper ads [PERSONAL NOTE: NEWSPAPER ADS ARE A WASTE OF MONEY. YOU CAN REACH MORE VOTERS WITH THE SAME MESSAGE FOR THE SAME MONEY WITH DIRECT MAIL.]
“By the time our next poll came back, we saw progress. Smith was leading 45 percent to 25 percent. In a matter of weeks, we had managed to grow by 15 percentage points, while Smith had dropped by six points. Most importantly, he was a well-known incumbent under 50 percent and we managed to bring his job approval down from 64 percent to 56 percent…
“…Our phone program identified undecided voters and soft Smith supporters, and then we bombarded them with mailers. We sent a dozen pieces of mail to both universes and called them all at least six times. Two weeks out, our polling showed the race narrowing to an uncomfortable margin for Smith–44 percent to 36 percent. That’s when the Smith camp woke up and realized they were in serious trouble.
“The first move from Smith’s camp was bringing in Tulsa-based political operatives and quickly hitting us with negative mail alleging Baker was a slumlord. The mail barrage went on for each of the final seven days of the race. But by then it was too late. About half of the ballots had already been mailed back, so there simply wasn’t a large enough group still out there to be persuaded by Smith’s negative mail campaign.”
After much legal wrangling Baker would be declared the victor, a stunning victory made possible by cost-effective direct mail and phones. Read the full story at http://www.campaignsandelections.com/case-studies/293627/breaking-through-a-storied-political-culture.thtml.
OBAMA’S “BUFFETT RULE” GIMMICK: BY THE NUMBERS
Will Obama’s “Buffett Rule” which jacks up taxes on dividends, really balance the budget?
Absolutely not. Even if Obama were to seize and liquidate everything owned by every billionaire, it wouldn’t even begin to pay off his spending.
Here are the numbers:
$1.5 trillion: Combined net worth of every billionaire in the U.S. (Source: Forbes)
$4.9 trillion: Federal government debt racked up by Obama (Source: CBS News)
We can’t tax our way out of trouble. We must cut spending and privatize entitlements now.
Republicans won’t do it. Only Libertarians will.
THINKING OF RUNNING FOR OFFICE, OR RUNNING A CAMPAIGN? THEN YOU NEED TO BE AT THE LNCC CANDIDATE WORKSHOP!
The Libertarian National Campaign Committee (LNCC) is providing a FREE all-day training class for Libertarian candidates and activists, at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV on May 2, 2012 (the day before the LP National Convention opens there). You won’t want to miss this great opportunity to hear from experts. And although some seminars can be boring and sleep-inducing, this workshop is just the opposite! You’ll find it high-energy and entertaining, as well as extremely informative. To RSVP, fill out the response form at:
Although this response form is oriented towards candidates, you don’t have to be a candidate to attend. If you’re thinking about the possibility of running for office in the future, or you want to help out on somebody else’s campaign, or you just want to generally learn more so you can be an effective Libertarian activist, this free seminar is perfect for you. Just check the “YES” box under the question of whether you’ll be attending the workshop. Afterwards, you’ll be the one telling other people what a fantastic event they missed, instead of vice versa!
Wayne Allyn Root, Chairman
Libertarian National Campaign Committee