It's hard to tell whether my beloved Demoocratic Party is being stupid or blind or both. You decide.
In 2008 and again in 2012 the Obama campaign showed the Democrats how to win political races. It's simple. You register your people, then you get them out to vote.
Your people are the Democrats. So you find out where they are, make sure they're registered and then haul them out to the polls. You do whatever is necessary to get your voter there. One time I had to carry an old lady to the car to drive her to vote. Halfway to my car I dropped her. But I picked her up and stuffed her in the car and off we went to her polling place. (We won that race handily though we were outspent heavily in advertising.)
With precinct work, as it's called, a less affluent candidate could win and didn't have to sell out to moneybags. And people could participate at the grassroots level and have a ball. The headquarters became their second home. They had power and they knew it.
Money mushes all this up. Until about 1980 door-to-door precinct work still happened in political campaigns. Then a bunch of young, hungry wannabes discovered they could make a lot of bucks by making campaigns all about money. They would get a salary and a cut of the money being spent on advertising. The bigger the ad budget, the bigger their "commission". And the bigger the ad budget the bigger their salaries because (1) America pays bigger salaries to operators who handle big sums, and (2) there was more money to pay bigger salaries.
Not all the money went into advertising and salaries. Lots went into fund-raising. Yes, fund-raising. It was the snake swallowing its tale. One of the first expensive Democratic Congressional campaigns in my old stomping grounds spent almost every cent it raised on raising the money, including the money-raisers' salaries. To a lesser degree, that still goes on. Romney's campaign did it a lot. It's called eating your young.
Now Obama and his campaigns have shown that the old precinct work still works. Sure, they had a lot of money, but he would have won with just a moderate amount of money. Why? Because he had the numbers, more Democrats exist than Republicans.
Independents? They usually split about the same as the registration of Democrats and Republicans. They flirt around and play "undecided" but there are no undecided voters. Indeed, recent statistical analysis proves that the undecided voter is a myth. We old pols knew it all along. People vote their party. And independents vote their neighborhood. People nowadays live in voting blocks, not just city blocks. An "Independent" in a GOP neighborhood is likely a closet GOP.
You can waste tons of money trying to convince people who have already made up their minds. That's why the GOP, though it outspends the Democrats enormously election after election, loses races where registration is not predominately Republican.
Volunteers in the precincts are cheap. Therefore no aspiring and greedy young pol is going to get rich riding herd on a bunch of volunteers. You have to be a nut job like me to enjoy working with volunteers because some few do all sorts of wild and silly stuff, like stealing labor leaders credit cards or driving off cross-country with a campaign-rented car and the sound system blasting on its roof: "Today…. Teddy Kennedy at Peralta Adobe at noon." Like that scene in the Blues Brothers. But that's okay. Whoever remembers the perfect picnics. It's the terrible ones that we remember and laugh.
Instead of picking up on Obama's successful model and raising up people to walk precincts in Senate and House races this year, the professional Democrats in DC are banging the drums for money, money, money. And doing it in a repulsive and stupid way. Catch the openers from this week's batch of emails:
"MAJOR EMBARRASSMENT" …..Democratic Headquarters (the all caps is theirs)
"all hope is lost" …..Democrats '14 (the all lower case is theirs)
"kiss any hope goodbye" …… Democratic Headquarters again but now switched to depressing all lower case
"CRUSHING blow" …… Democratic Rapid Response (now we've moved on to a mix of type)
"Dorothy, I did not expect this"….. Nancy Pelosi. (Nancy, I never expect you either.)
Sheesh! Let's all go slice our wrists! This stuff is so disheartening. It's a terrible way to appeal to people. Why not just send us leprosy germs? Who wants to help an organization that is trying to use defeat to win?
And they are crying like this because they are being out-raised in MONEY. Money does NOT win elections. PEOPLE win elections. So these Democratic professionals are being dishonest as well as stupid and bad at selling a product.
My dear Democratic Party is a mess. The only thing worse is the Republican Party. At least the Democratic Party has delivered a lot of shining history and is good for people. The Republicans have repeatedly got us into the ditch from which only the rich arise. And they are so boring. Except for their maniac Tea Party wing. Nancy Pelosi and her squeezed face and non-campaigning lethargy sure hasn't the entertainment value of wild women like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman and that "I am not a witch" woman.
Gosh, I miss them.
Maybe they'll turn up here in a road production of "the Scottish play". Know what that is?
(Next time: What do we do now?)