Saturday, September 21, 2013

Waging Politics, Part 3

In Part 1, we did a general overview of the government landscape in this country, and in Part 2 we looked specifically at a strategy that might help us unseat Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

Now, let's look at more big game: Democrat Harry Reid from Nevada.

Ballotpedia has information on Senator Reid, including his most recent election victory in 2010.

There is also information on Nevada's other US Senator, Dean Heller, including his victory in 2012:

Democrat Reid won in an off-year election with more votes than all his opponents put together. However, Republican Heller won in a Presidential year with a closer margin.

To do proper electoral targeting, one would need to look at all the other partisan races in every precinct, and compare that data for various Presidential and off-year elections. However, such analysis would not impact the basic strategy for unseating Senator Reid; this strategy can be adequately understood by comparing the data provided.

Unlike Pelosi's district in California, which is solidly Democrat, Nevada – taken as a whole - swings (votes for one major party in one election year, and the other in another election year) and votes split-ticket (for a Republican in one race, and a Democrat in another, in the same election).

Reid is a powerful incumbent. This swing/split-ticket factor helps him, as people tend to support incumbents, even in years when "throw the bums out" is the battle cry. Consequently, in addition to solid support from Nevada's Democrats, he can typically count on swing and split-ticket voters who might otherwise support the Republican, as well as some fringe party voters who swing/split-ticket vote between their own party and the Democrats.

His power base is difficult to attack: rank-and-file Democrats are going to vote for him. But, if we can split off the swing/split-ticket voters, we can make him fight. And, if we can make him fight, those who are buying his influence may realize they need to hedge their bets. A few subtle adjustments to the dynamics can easily result in success for us and a disaster for Reid.

The approach needs to be two-fold, both parts dealing with challengers in the Democrat primary.

First, there needs to be far-left-wing challenger and a more conservative, middle-of-the road Democrat. They need support from outside Nevada, just like Harry gets. Reid needs to be simultaneously accused of being too far left, and not far enough left. These need to be serious, documented allegations, and the primary needs to be heated.

We can anticipate the media will do contortions to defend Reid, just like it does to defend Obama. However, those who vote in the primary are more likely to think more for themselves and have hot-button issues than are those who only show up in the general election, where turnout tends to be greater. Thus, even though the media may be defending Reid, direct campaigning, such as buying radio spots and doing targeted mailouts, can have its impact.

Reid will, of course, win the Democrat primary.

So, second, these challengers who lost in the primary need to throw their support to other candidates.

Here's a problem: most of the third parties in Nevada would be more likely to strip votes from a Republican than from a Democrat.

However, if one of Reid's Democrat challengers can take his supporters to the Green Party, and if the more mainstream guy can take his supporters to the Republican candidate, then we could peel away enough votes for Reid to lose. That failing, as we mentioned above, the special interests that buy Reid may see the need to hedge their bets, and this could mean Reid's challengers are stronger in the next election.

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