Republican 101 training for Democrats

Yesterday, I was dutifully rewarded from attending the all-afternoon GOPAC training by being presented with a complimentary pass to inside the MSG hall last night. Today, I'll put up some of the notes from the speakers that GOPAC presented during the training. Matt Stoller and I walked in as Newt Gingrich was speaking, and after tossing in our business cards into the bowl for the drawing, we settled down to listen, and I could have sworn, I've heard the exact same, "I can feel it about to happen" speech by him years earlier. On what? Why the migration of the black vote to the GOP, because... Newt said so!

At any rate, from the looks of the crowd inside the MSG hall last night, the even more obvious absence than blacks are noticed from the even fewer sightings of latinos. I don't typically notice or obsess about these things, but at more than one event I've heard the GOP talking point, so it's obviously on the Republican mind-- that they are a coming-soon demographic minority. What the Republicans are sensing is that the number of black voters, especially in the south, is increasing, but as for why Newt's decade-long prophecy hasn't happened, hopefully by the next time I hear him speak, he'll explain, instead of merely repeating what he's been saying for a decade.

We missed Haley Barbour's speech, and Ken Mehlman (invited) didn't show, but after the limelight names, we got into the political junkie speakers, which is why we came in the first place.

GOPAC's field trainer Rick Tyler has spent the last 8 years hitting state after state with a 4 hour, winning campaign seminar (Connecting with the Voter) for Republican candidates. He delivered the talk in 30-minutes instead, here are the notes I took:

Believe this: you are the majority. Make majority issues the core of your campaign.

An election is a binary choice. A challenger must demonstrate a contrast, particularly in the case of an incumbent. Make your opponent react to you, getting the attention of the news media. Frame for the voter what that choice is about; persuade them to fire the incumbent. Create a contrast, set the theme, and your choice makes the voter's life better. Stand in front of 70% of the people and smile. I'm with you, and they (the other 30%) are nuts!

Inclusion, not outreach, is the model. Winning people over, create an advisory council, with shared values. Voters care about results, not process, expecting things to work. Become the Solutions Party, opposite the Reactionary Party. Communicate over, under, around, and through the media through a resource network to gain endorsement, people (time), money & ideas.

Here are the Six Phases of political persuasion:

Name ID, knock on 400 doors a day.
Positive Image, photos with smiles & family, dogs get votes.
Attack & Defend
Get out the Vote

We, us, and we together, we can. What will you do that makes their life better?

Meet your reporters, so that you are in their stories. When you are effective, you'll be attacked.

Listen, learn, help, lead.

Most people are not ideological. On taxpaying haters: "FICA is the beginning of conservatism." Seniors vote 5:1 over younger voters--don't ever anger Seniors. It's personable to those in the middle that are undecided.

Issues, go back to values. Explain the value first.
Repetition + Penetration = Impact

Learn how to get your message across in 20 minutes, 5 minutes and 9 seconds. What is the 20-second answer that people will feel good about their hearing? Listen, and then give your message.

Campaigns are not about educating voters. Repetition. Offense. Defend & get back on message.

Campaign 101 in a nutshell. And as you can plainly see, lying is beside the point of winning.

Tags: Republicans (all tags)


1 Comment

I was thinking about this today
This should be the easiest campaign ever because the Bush record is the gift that keeps on giving.  Contrast is the key.  Make Bush defend his terrible record or claim it's good when everyone knows it isn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those "Kerry is doomed!" chicken littles, but I do think Kerry needs to articulate a clear case for change, and he's not doing that well enough.

Every issue should be presented as a contrast:

"George Bush has lost 1.X million private sector jobs under his watch.  Maybe he's satisfied with that record.  I think we can do better."  

There's your 9-second sound bite.  Your longer sound bite, if you get the chance, would quickly list proposals, e.g., "We can do better by changing the tax code to stop rewarding companies who outsource our jobs overseas..."

"3 millon more families have lost health coverage since George Bush took office.  Maybe he thinks that's not a problem.  I think we can do more to support the American family."

"George Bush used shaky intelligence to send our troops into Iraq without a clear exit plan.  Having experienced the horror of war, I can promise you that I will never put our troops in harm's way without giving them the proper tools to do the job, and without a clear exit plan."

Rick Tyler understands this.  If the Kerry people do, we should win this election in the landslide that Chris predicts.

by danielj 2004-09-01 12:08PM | 0 recs


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