No, I am not going to flaunt my masters degree in poli-sci from Jim Bob’s University, Kwik Mart, and Bait Shop. I don’t roll that way. But late last week, a GOP strategist said something that was actually logical, and made perfect sense. I know, go figure, huh? But it struck me at the time as really pretty insightful, so I thought that I’d share it.
The specific race that was being discussed was the Florida Senate race involving Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson, and GOP candidate Rick Scott. The latest polling showed the race as a dead heat. The GOP strategist (his name escapes me at the moment) said that this was actually bad news for Nelson. The reason being that this close to the election, the popularity of the incumbent is pretty well set in stone. If people don’t like him, there isn’t much that he can say at this late stage that is going to make them change their minds about him, while his opponent can hammer away at his weak spots. But while I agree with this logic, I’m not sure that it’s quite as applicable in this instance, since Nelson’s opponent is current Governor Rick Scott, who also has his popularity pretty well baked in, and his own baggage to carry.
But my point is this. Nationwide, there are a slew of talented, non political, first time Democratic candidates, running against entrenched GOP incumbents. And in quite a few cases, they’re running against arrogant, lazy GOP incumbents who haven’t actually had to seriously campaign since Christ was a carpenter. A lot of these young Democratic candidates are largely unknown, but they have the energy, the enthusiasm, and the ideas to make a positive impression, as long as they burn the shoe leather to get out there, with their volunteers, and make that case person to person. They are resuscitating “retail” politics. They have the opportunity to create a favorable impression with voters, while their incumbent opponent already carries a baked in impression in voters minds. As the strategist said, if voters don’t like them already, there isn’t much they can do to change minds now. Especially when they share a party affiliation with Gozer the Destructor.
Beto O’Rourke is a perfect example of this. He is on a mission to shake every hand, and kiss every baby in the state of Texas. And what is Ted Cruz’ response? Get off of his dead, lazy ass, and go talk to actual voters? Nope. Call donors begging, and let the national party try to scrounge up more cash to run ads that nobody is watching. The Republicans haven’t twigged yet to the fact that the American voters have finally decided that they’re fed up with the status quo, and that changing the status quo depends on them, the voters themselves.
Personally, here’s how I’m looking at the polling for the next 55 days. Whenever I see a race with a fresh Democratic candidate running within the margin of error against an entrenched GOP incumbent, I’m putting that race in the “squeaker surprise” category. And I’m gonna need a big box. And here’s a good-for-nothing prediction. Duncan Hunter is going down. Somehow or other, I just don’t see voters returning him to congress in November, under credible indictment, knowing that they may have to trudge back to the polls in February or March to vote again in a special election if he’s convicted.
And one more thing to consider. Although there are fewer and fewer actual “independent” swing voters left these days, when it comes to the midterms, they have a common denominator. They tend to be true contrarian voters. It doesn’t really seem to matter to them who is in power, their motto seems to be “throw the bums out!” And seldom have there been more bums worthy of being tossed out on their ears. Just sayin’.