Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Delayed Consequences

Today in Texas is election day...again. Our primary election was supposed to occur last March. The required redistricting in a state with a "history of voter discrimination" according to the 1965 Voting Rights Act meant that the Department of Justice (1984 New-Speak increasingly in play there,) gets to be the grand panjandrum over what's allowed.

Districts must be drawn to recognize ethnicity and provide enhanced opportunity for minorities to elect a minority candidate to represent them. Don't mumble about "content of character" stuff here. This is "color of his skin" core.

You can't have a primary if you don't have districts to run in. That meant the primary got pushed to late April and finally into mid-May, effectively neutering TX regarding leverage for the presidential primary but also forcing much longer campaigns, extended staffing requirements and consuming huge contributions. But, it didn't end there.

To gain the party nomination in Texas a candidate must get a majority vote, not a plurality. So, we've got run-offs today for every race without a majority in May.

The big decision today is the Republican nominee for US Senate. In a statewide general election in November there is very low probability of a Democrat taking the seat. Today's election is pretty much the end game.

I've commented before on the Cruz/Dewhurst race. Ted Cruz is a former solicitor general for Texas as well as Deputy Attorney General in the US Department of Justice. David Dewhurst is the current Lt. Governor of Texas. In the first round, Dewhurst was the leader and clearly going to be the favorite in a run-off. Cruz barely edged former Dallas mayor, Tom Leppert, to get the second spot in a run-off.

It was Dewhurst's race to lose. He had the money, he had the organization, he had the name recognition and he had a reasonable record to run on. That seemed too easy, so Dewhurst abandoned the Reagan 11th Commandment and went down-n-dirty on his opponent. The attack ads have become incessant and somehow seem to ignore the fact that the level of political awareness of a delayed primary run-off election voter will make the slander obvious. The great unwashed of a general election can embrace the sound-bite. The involved partisan is going to be a bit harder to bamboozle.

For the last two weeks my land line telephone has been a constant irritation. The dinner hour is punctuated by robo-calls. They come in clusters of three and four. During the rest of the day they are sprinkled intermittently just to ask that ol' Kojak question, "Who loves ya, baby?" Yesterday I got a robo-call that started with "Can you please hold a minute for an important message?" You called me to ask to put you on hold?

By bed-time this evening we will know if Dewhurst or Cruz wins the nomination. It may be November or even the next election cycle to determine what the long-term consequences of this pattern will be.

Leading into the vote-counting we have seen the polling data show Cruz coming from behind with dismal prospects in Mid-May to a point yesterday which showed Cruz roughly ten points ahead in a poll of registered voters who indicate that they intend to vote.

If Cruz wins, would others get the idea that a slash and burn campaign is counter-productive? Might there be a eureka moment in which a candidate would discover that their own experience, education, proposals and character must be the core. Could someone decide that slathering lies and innuendo across the landscape isn't adequate?

Is there a point in the near future where there is a back-lash against robo-calls? I'd like to talk to Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin or Rick Perry on behalf of a candidate. But that would be live, one-on-one. I don't get a tingle up my leg from having dinner interrupted for a recorded message. The robo-calls are a waste of candidate time and money. No one is listening.

Robo-calls that push-poll are worse. Polling in "questions" such as "Did you know that candidate XYZ was a convicted pedophile who shot Santa Clause, killed the Easter Bunny, and will cancel your unemployment checks if elected?" doesn't work.

Possible consequences:

  1. Less mud-slinging? 
  2. More positive position promotion?
  3. Abandonment of robo-calls?
  4. Negative backlash on push-polling? 
  5. More TV/radio/print media advertizing?
  6. ....Cancellation of POTS land-line phone services and more rapid migration to a total wireless communication environment. 


bongobear said...

I'm receiving these robo calls on my cell phone...I wonder how they got the number. Cell phone numbers aren't listed anywhere are they?

juvat said...

If you call me on my landline, you've got about a second to start talking after I say hello. Otherwise the phone is hung up. Oh, and the ringer is turned off as part of the setting of the dinner table routine.
I'd always thought Dewhurst was a slimeball. His actions over the last few months has confirmed that. I didn't vote for him and won't ever again.
Glad to see your treatment regime hasn't caused you to become all lovey dovey in your blog commentary, Ed. Hang in there.

immagikman said...

Don't think wireless will help you my friend, apparently the Pols have written the law to protect their right to reach out and touch you in anyway possible.

juvat said...

Thirteen points! That's gonna leave a mark, Dave.