Saturday, March 16, 2013

Texas Tribune: Battleground Texas Reveals Their Weaknesses

The Texas Tribune had an interview yesterday with Jeremy Bird, the director of Battleground Texas.  In the interview, Bird tips his hand on strategy.  Some highlights:

Dems plan to boost turnout (and, even though they don't say it out loud, fraud):
Bird contends that Republicans' confidence is based on elections in which only about half of the state has turned out to vote. “We’ll see what happens when we start to get 60 or 65 or 70 percent turnout. It’s going to look very different,”
 This is a point conservatives would do well to heed.  The Obama campaign made it a priority to register marginal voters and get them to the polls.  There's no reason to believe they couldn't make headway with a similar effort in Texas.  The caution to Democrats, however, is that this is a double-edged sword.  There are dozens (if not hundreds) of people who don't vote in every Church across this state.

Bird reveals their timetable:
Part of the reason that [the Obama campaign] won Florida in 2012 is that we had had a grassroots program running for six years with all the components — digital, communications, field, data, analytics — all of them put together into a 21st century modern campaign that worked for people's votes.
Six years from today would mean that Democrats intend to compete statewide around 2018.  That's not impossible, but it does mean there's plenty of time between now and then for events to intervene.  Personally, we think the global economy will collapse before Battleground Texas has time to execute this plan; when that happens, it will reshuffle the deck of domestic politics in a way Battleground Texas doesn't anticipate.

The specifics of how they plan to boost turnout:
We have to do that here. And it can’t just happen in one part of the state; it has to happen across the state. We need to touch places where we’re getting 25 percent of the vote and get 32 percent of the vote. It’s not necessarily about winning all those places, but we have to compete there. And then we have to have higher turnout in places that have already gone blue.
The point about going from 25 percent to 32 percent in hostile territory is an interesting one Cahnman's Musings had not thought about.  That's a good strategy in a vacuum.  However, like we said earlier, it's a strategy that cuts both ways.  We live in Austin, and there is an untapped pool of potential conservative voters right here.  Both sides are going to work overtime to boost turnout.

Then, almost as an afterthought, Bird lets the cat out of the bag:
In order to do this right, we’re going to have to raise the money, the grassroots money to do it and then ultimately transition that into a 21st century campaign with real organizers in neighborhoods working for every single vote.
If you only take one point away from this post, make it this one: the left doesn't (yet) have the money to pull this off.  The ONLY WAY they will get the money they need is if Republicans expand state government for them.  That's how the left took over Colorado.  That's why School Choice and Medicaid are such important fights.  The left will only acquire the resources necessary to swing Texas if Republicans give them a bigger government from which to siphon money.

Finally, Bird closes out with a cryptic (and bizarre) statement:
There are millions of kids in this state who are currently being denied access to health insurance because of the current governor.
We have no idea what Bird's talking about, but our educated guess is that he's talking about Rick Perry's refusal to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. That's bizarre; Medicaid is a failed program that exploits the vulnerable.  If Battleground Texas wants to make expanding substandard Health Care their central argument, go for it!

Bottom line: The Left intends to get more of their people to the polls than they have in the past (which will also make fraud easier).  Cahnman's Musings expects them to pull that off.  What the left cannot control, however, is turnout on our side.  There are plenty of untapped potential Conservative voters in this state; Cahnman's Musings goes to Church with hundreds of them.  The challenge for conservatives in Texas will be to increase engagement among folks who already agree with us but don't necessarily vote.

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