Skip to comments.How to Win a Presidential Election
Posted on 08/18/2012 4:32:45 AM PDT by Kaslin
The mainstream media claims independents, the great unwashed in the middle, decide presidential elections. Conservative orthodoxy claims otherwise. Who is correct?
The answer is they both are to an extent.
Lets face it, the mainstream media detests grassroots conservatives, therefore it will advance any dogma that seeks to marginalize the base of the Republican Party they absolutely loathewhether its true or not. Since the Republican Party establishment hates us as much as the media does, and doesnt want you aware of just how much sway you hold over the process, they dutifully play along in dispersing the DNC propagandist talking points. On the other hand, to compensate for this slight, I think conservative orthodoxy has overlooked the importance of reaching independents to win a national election.
This debate is a lot like whats going on in our evangelical churches nowadays, with some churches focused on evangelism and others focused on discipleship, as if these are mutually exclusive properties when theyre really part of the same process. The first step in the discipleship process is conversion, which requires evangelism. However, the process doesnt begin and end there, but must continue to mature and grow those converted. Evangelism and discipleship are not competing church missions, but rather complement each other to complete the churchs mission.
This explains why youll often see churches out of balance resemble certain stereotypes. Those focused too much on evangelism at the expense of discipleship will often look younger, trendier, and have a more spiritually shallow and transient church population. Mature believers at these churches often feel left behind while the church leadership is always looking for the next wave of new attendees, and then they often bolt for more discipleship-focused churches as a result.
Churches focused on discipleship too much at the expense of evangelism will often look older, corporate, and have consistent attendance by the same families who are growing in their faith but not effective in reaching out to others. Baptisms are too rare at these churches, or too often the baptisms taking place are the children of the families who have been coming all along. You could leave that church and return in six months, and see many of the exact same people there.
Similarly, Republican presidential candidates often make the mistake of playing conservatives in their own base and independents off of one another as if theyre competing with each other. The successful Republican presidential candidate recognizes he needs both of these groups to complement each other in order to form a coalition of voters capable of winning the election. He doesnt play them off of each other, but rather secures one and then launches an effort to reach the independents without having to defend his rear flank.
This explains why Republican candidates who win over the conservative base in the primary win presidential elections, and Republican candidates that fail to do so dont. The latter ends up fighting a two-front war all the way to November, triangulating himself against both the Democrat (and the biased media) and his own base. That candidate then becomes embittered by his bases unwillingness to trust him just because the Democrat is so bad, so hell sanctimoniously send his surrogates out to essentially lecture these people to accept a crap sandwich and like it.
By the way, that strategy has never worked.
What has worked is a candidate whose conservative bona fides are tested in the primary and accepted by the majority of conservatives in the grassroots. Once securing the nomination, that candidate is now free to speak to the issues that drive independents to the polls because his rear flank is secure. Hes playing offense in November, and even trying to pick off soft supporters of his opponent.
For further proof this is correct, look no further than the election results themselves. Since 1892, only five incumbent presidents have failed to win re-election, and the only one that didnt face a divided base was Herbert Hoover.
But Hoover did face the Great Depression.
William Howard Taft faced a third party challenge from fellow Republican Teddy Roosevelt in the general election. Gerald Ford in 1976 (Ronald Reagan), Jimmy Carter in 1980 (Ted Kennedy), and George H.W. Bush in 1992 (Pat Buchanan) each faced credible primary challengers and each lost the general election. Because they never won over their own base, they never were able to focus on reaching independents in the fall campaign.
Presidential candidates cannot win an election fighting a two-front war. Thats especially true for Republican candidates, because they face the onslaught of Democrat P.R. disguised as media coverage as well.
Theres even more data to support this.
I will focus on just one key voting bloc since Im the most familiar with this groupwhite born-again Christians. Since the mainstream medias secular bias makes it beyond ignorant when it comes to covering this group, exit polling going back decades refers to them by several terms such as evangelicals and even the Religious Right. Not all born-again Christians are evangelicals, and some are evangelicals without even knowing what that term means. Some born-again Christians are Catholics and some are mainline Protestants. But this is a group that a Republican needs to win, and win by a wide margin in order to win the presidency, because on average they represent about 40% of the American electorate in any given presidential election.
For example, take a look at the 2008 election.
John McCain beat Barack Obama by 15 points among born-again Christians, but that was nine points less than the 24-point margin George W. Bush got over John Kerry in 2004, and Bush needed every one of them to pull off a close election. Had Bushs base deserted him even marginally, Kerry wouldve been elected. A marriage amendment on the ballot in the key swing state of Ohio turned out born-again Christians heavily in that state, thus giving Bush the margin he needed to win the Electoral College. By turning out his base, that helped Bush at least compete with Kerry for independents.
In 2000, Bush beat Al Gore by 15 points among born-again Christians, but got a higher turnout of those voters than McCain got in 2008. That was enough to withstand losing the popular vote to Gore, and losing late-deciding independents who flocked to Gore because of an Election Eve story about Bushs 1976 drunk driving arrest.
Meanwhile, Obama overcame a 15-point loss among born-again Christians to McCain by massively turning out the Democrat base, including the traditionally sketchy youth vote.
Since born-again Christians were first mobilized as a political force for born-again Christian Jimmy Carter in 1976, only one Republican has won the White House without at least 60% of the white born-again Christian vote. When you consider he did so despite losing the overall popular vote, that further reinforces just how difficult that is to do and how important this voting bloc is to Republican presidential candidates.
That leads to two conclusions.
Conclusion #1: The actual data confirms the GOP base has much more influence in the outcome of presidential general elections than either the Republican Party establishment or the liberal media wants to admit.
Conclusion #2: Since establishment candidates Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney have won three of the last four contested presidential primaries, the conservative grassroots in the GOP base has not done a good enough job of capitalizing on its cache.
Heres the election-by-election breakdown:
1976So what does this data mean for 2012? Thats the question well answer next week.
H.W. Bush 81%
H.W. Bush 59%
19% of born-again Christian vote went to Ross Perot, and the vast majority of that likely wouldve gone to H.W. Bush had Perot not been in the race.
Since the Republican Party establishment hates us as much as the media does
BULLS**T !!! Mr. Deace’s article is entitled: “How to Win a Presidential Election”. Well, you can start by not further causing division in the GOP with statements like the one above. I’m not a GOP establishment guy, but that statement is a crock. And, saying things like that does not help us. Keep up that rhetoric, and we’ll keep losing elections; “A house divided against itself will not stand.”
If Obama wins the independents and the young and dumb will be the blame,they got him in the first time.
LOL! What planet are you from? The GOP establishment has been opposed to the conservative grass roots for decades. Wise up!!
Unfortunately for your position, it happens to be true. Denying the truth wins zip. The Northeast Republican establishment will vote Democrat before voting conservative.
They’ve proved it often enough. If a “moderate” (aka screeching liberal) wins the primary, the conservatives are supposed to “suck it up” and “support the party”. The converse is not true.
You haven't been paying attention, or you don't want to.
See Post #6 please.
There is absolutely nothing absurd about the comment. I’m a Mississippian. I’ve called some pretty awful names by northeast bigots who claim to be “conservative” Republicans; many on this forum.
Since May 12, 2012
You haven’t been here very long. Pay attention. You will learn a lot simply by reading and holding your ‘tongue’.
I don’t doubt what you say one bit, Islander7. But to say the GOP establishment hates Conservatives “as much as” the media still seems to be a stretch to me. I’ve been involved in, and have run campaigns, for many years.... I got the “political junkie” bug as a kid in 1960. I was the GOP District Chair and I worked for Jack Kemp in ‘88; hosted a breakfast for him. Yes, the George H. W. Bush folks were not in love with the Conservative wing who took the Party over in the State where I was living that year, but they did not “hate” us. Now, the media, they hate us. Now, let me say this...........
I will take your advice here on this website and listen and learn. But, I must say this: There are a lot of haters on both sides on the Party. The Conservative “purists” are mean as the Devil sometimes. I started out this year for Bachmann and/or Santorum. But, perusing political websites, I saw that the candidates and their supporters were so nasty, I switched to Newt; even with all his baggage. I saw it in the Pat Robertson supporters in ‘88 as well. So, there are plenty of haters in all political camps.
Enjoy the day!!!
Afraid not, old boy. See my point about the GOP "Establishment" being willing to vote for Democrats over conservatives. That is the simple truth, proven multiple times, and you can say otherwise all you like without changing those facts. If anything, I would say that the "Establishment" hates conservatives MORE than the media does.
Given the treatment of conservatives by the Establishment, what do you expect, flowers and chocolates?? Here's a recent example.....in Louisiana, Ron Paul supporters were more numerous and better organized at the Republican State Convention. They won many votes on many issues, but were dictatorially over-ruled by the party hierarchy IN VIOLATION OF PARTY RULES AND BYLAWS. And in some cases with physical violence. And there are dozens, if not hundreds, of more incidents of similar character.
Note....I am NOT a Ron Paul supporter (or even Republican), but "nastiness" on the part of conservatives is absolutely to be expected, given the behavior of a party hierarchy that refuses to obey THEIR OWN RULES when conservatives look like they might actually win something.
I understand. I’ve been fighting the GOP Establishment since 1988 when I worked for Jack Kemp and the GOP-E was for George H. W. I understand. But, right now, I’d vote for a crack whore before I’d vote for Obama.