First, from today's Houston Chronicle - Republicans oil their successful turnout machine.
Despite the gloom, Republican campaign operatives sound confident. They have been fine-tuning their data-mining, micro-targeting and other methods that served them well in past elections. Some Democrats are beginning to sound worried.
Republicans, led by White House political guru Karl Rove, sought in 2002 to reverse a decades-long Democratic edge in voter turnout that was fueled in large part by well-organized labor unions.
The GOP developed a program that started three days before the election. It was aimed at identifying Republicans and likely Republican voters and getting them to the polls. The tactic was fine-tuned in 2004 and will be even more effective this year, Republicans said.
"We are putting forward the most unprecedented grass-roots effort in the history of midterm elections," said Danny Diaz, spokesman for the Republican National Committee. "We outraised the Democrats, we've made more voter contacts, and our (get-out-the-vote) operation is more robust — we are extremely confident we have built a foundation to maintain our majorities."
The Republican Party has raised $199.4 million since the 2004 elections, almost double the $108.4 million raised by the Democrats.
In 2004, the Republican Party used marketing-style data-mining — for example, calculating whether a certain voter in a particular district owned a snowmobile and was therefore a likely Republican voter, then targeting the prospect with a narrow political message.
This is precisely why I'm still skeptical that the Democrats will be able to win either the House or Senate. The margins in so many of the individual campaigns are razor thin - and it is the Republican's GOTV effort that will get them over the top.
On a similar note, the Washington Post had a great analysis of the most basic of Republican election year tactics - The GOP Leans on A Proven Strategy.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney have given multiple interviews to conservative journalists, senior adviser Karl Rove has telephoned religious and social activists, and the White House has staged signing ceremonies for legislation cracking down on terrorism and illegal immigration. Two weeks before Election Day, Bush aides invited dozens of radio talk show hosts for a marathon broadcast from the White House yesterday to reach conservative listeners.
The message that Bush and others are sending to alienated supporters is that, no matter how upset they have been about various policies or political missteps over the past couple of years, life would be far worse under the Democrats. They name liberal lawmakers who would take charge of key committees and warn conservatives that taxes would go up and protection against terrorists would go down.
The White House courtship of the right paid enormous dividends in the past, but this year it is complicated by a far more skeptical audience than in 2002 and 2004. Conservatives who were key to those victories have grown frustrated with the Bush policies on federal spending, immigration, Iraq and foreign affairs, and uncertain of his commitment to issues such as preventing legalized same-sex marriage. The Mark Foley page scandal did not help reassure "values voters," as strategists call them, nor did the publication of a book by former White House official David Kuo saying that Bush aides dismissed Christian conservatives as "nuts."
Manipulate the Christian right...even though Bush, Cheney, and Rove have stated that they are simply "nuts" who sole purpose is to be manipulated.
The Republicans are failures at governing our nation - but they are experts at elections. They'll show it again this year.
Related prior post:
This sums it up...