Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

March 20, 2013 - 3:19 pm

Texas and California stand as similar states heading in very different directions. Both are territorially large and boast large urban centers and robust high-tech industries. Both are racially diverse. Both have extensive coastlines and large energy and agribusiness industries. Both share borders with Mexico and have outsized economies. If either California or Texas were their own country, they would rank in the global top 20 and outmuscle most other countries on earth.

But California, a Democrat stronghold, suffers from unemployment about two points above the national average. Its state and city budgets flirt with bankruptcy, and its population is fleeing. Unions and their demands clog the public sector, making government in the state increasingly unaffordable, so taxes keep going up. Texas, a Republican stronghold and right-to-work state, has unemployment well below the national average, its books are balanced, and it’s always at or near the top in population growth over the past decade. Business survey after business survey rank Texas as one of the top states in which to do business; they rank California at or near the bottom. Companies are moving to Texas, and away from California. Property values have been stable in Texas despite the national bubble; they have rollercoastered in California. California’s tax burden remains one of the highest in the nation, while Texas’ is one of the lowest.

With much fanfare and hullabaloo, President Obama’s former campaign, Organizing for Action, recently launched a 10-year effort to turn red Texas into a true swing state. The plan, officially unveiled in a meeting in Austin on February 26 by Obama operative Jeremy Bird, hails the onset of Battleground Texas. Texas is not a swing state, at least not yet, but Battleground Texas intends to treat it like one in a sustained and systematic way so that it becomes one.

Democratic groups have tried, and failed, to turn back the clock on Texas’ shift from Democrat fortress as late as the 1980s to the Republican bastion that it is now without success. The most publicized of these, the Lone Star Project led by Washington, D.C., activist Matt Angle, was funded by trial lawyer cash to fight tort reform, voter ID, and push for left-wing policies. Its goal was to elect a Democrat speaker of the Texas House of Representatives by 2010 and elect a Democrat to statewide office — any statewide office. That year, though, Republicans made unprecedented gains and turned the Democratic caucus in the state House into a tiny club. Several Democratic officeholders defected to the GOP, further reducing the party’s power. Gov. Rick Perry trounced Democrat challenger Bill White, and no Democrat came close to winning any statewide office. Angle’s Lone Star Project is a lavishly funded failure.

Bird’s effort is different.

Where Angle stealthily developed a network of advocacy and “watchdog” groups like Texans for Public Justice, the Texas Freedom Network, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Back to Basics PAC to pose as non-partisan while relentlessly attacking Republican officials and policies in the media, Bird is taking a much more granular approach. Battleground Texas says it will be “people based,” and they mean it.

Battleground Texas will be a people based, metrics driven organization that is dedicated to the idea that volunteers, in their neighborhoods, can and do significantly impact local, state and national elections.

As a people based organization, we are focused on leadership development, training and empowerment. We work with volunteer leaders to ensure they have all the skills they need to successfully recruit new volunteers and register, persuade and turnout voters.

All of that sounds like political boilerplate, and it is. But there are significant mechanics behind Bird’s approach. Those mechanics have been proven to work in other states that President Obama managed to capture in 2008 and recapture in 2012, like Florida. They can work in Texas, too. They have already worked from Texas in other states.

According to information the Tatler has obtained from the Battleground Texas kickoff meeting, the mechanics behind Organizing for Action’s “people based” approach are at once simple and revolutionary. Bird’s team has developed a five-point contact plan for identifying and courting low-information, low-frequency voters. These voters are average folks who pay little attention to politics and current events and have left no trail allowing either party to identify which party they’re more likely to vote for. Bird’s volunteers call these prospects and use a script to ascertain whether they are persuadable to the Democrats’ point of view. Volunteers perform a “gut check” on the prospective voter, and these gut checks have proven to be accurate nearly 95% of the time. If the prospect is not identified as persuadable, then the volunteer files them away and does not call them again. But if the prospect appears to be persuadable, then the five-point plan comes into play. Volunteers will call the voter again, based on current events, to deliver information crafted to shape the prospect’s beliefs. For instance, if a volunteer has identified a suburban Fort Worth mom as a persuadable Democratic voter based on social issues, Todd Akin’s remarks on rape would have generated a second phone call. Richard Mourdock’s comments would have generated a third. A fourth call may have focused on the ObamaCare birth control mandate, casting it as a service to women and casting opposition to it as a “war on women.” The fifth call would have simply given the prospect information on where to vote. Job done. Someone who probably would not have voted at all has been processed over a few weeks into a likely Democratic voter. At the very least, they have become far less likely to vote for the party of Akin and Mourdock, who have been cast along with their party as villains. Obviously, none of the recent Democrats’ remarks on rape that aired during Colorado’s gun control debate would get any play at all in these calls. They are one-sided information streams, intended to create velocity on the way to creating a vote.

The simple part to this is that parties and campaigns have used phone banking for decades. But phone banking has not typically been used in this way, using follow-ups over a longer period of time, to turn an unidentified non-voter into a known quantity voter. Widespread and cheap VOIP phone technology and the Obama campaign’s massive and highly organized volunteer army work together to make the five-point system affordable, and the tactic of making the political phone call a source of tailored information that amounts to a running commentary on the campaign over time makes it effective.

Bird’s group used this system in 2012 in several swing states, capturing all of them. Democratic volunteers from Texas played critical roles; now Democratic volunteers from outside Texas will join in the effort to swing the Lone Star State.

Along with its emphasis on out-of-state events to manipulate voters in the state, BT intends to deceive Texas voters regarding what the Democrats actually want to do in Texas. Texas policy successes stand for themselves, but Democrats have consistently and relentlessly attacked them while holding up other, Democrat-controlled, states as models. Over the years, Texas Democrats have essentially parroted the national DNC message. If the national party was for ObamaCare, so was the state party. If the national party preferred California and Chicago governance over Texas governance, so did the state party. Texans tend to be pro-life and favor the Second Amendment; the Texas Democrats have consistently and loudly gone the other way on both. Bird’s group intends to cater its message to Texas, so that the national Democrats’ message does not scare off potential voters in traditionally conservative communities. The national Democratic platform of union power, high taxes, lavish government spending, weak national security, curtailed constitutional rights, and centralized government control does not play well in Texas. So the Battleground group intends to avoid explaining and detailing the Democrats’ plans as much as possible. They’re not jettisoning any of that. They just intend to hide it. Once elected to power, this Obama-centric group can be counted on to deliver Obama-style policies like those that are carving California hollow and turning Chicago into a war zone.

Where Angle’s media-centric approach failed expensively, Bird’s personal contact-centric approach could succeed on the cheap. It succeeded in defying the polls that in 2012 showed 2008 Obama voters less likely to turn out for him a second time, by minting entirely new voters through fear and disinformation. It will take millions of these new voters to make Texas competitive for the Democrats, but they’re playing a long waiting game and banking on the state’s rising Hispanic population to give them an edge. Up to now, they have waited in futility as Hispanic voters in Texas tend to split ticket vote, and do not vote proportionally to their population numbers. Bird’s five-point plan may change that by engaging unidentified voters across the state, misinforming them, and then turning them blue.

Texas is the cornerstone of the Republicans’ national ambitions. Democrats can win the White House without it, but Republicans cannot. If Battleground Texas succeeds and the state falls to the Democrats, the electoral map and the direction of American politics will shift decisively for years, if not decades, to come.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I've read an article about something similar to this but I think it was a part of the official Obama re-election campaign that performed similar tactics; finding low-information/potential Democrat voters and hammering them with liberal propoganda which is of course generally backed up by the national media. Apparently the "databases" are already there from what I remember of the article, essentially saved from the 2008 election and will no doubt aid this organization's goal.

And we can't do the same thing why? This bugs the expletive out of me because how hard is it really to develop a nation-wide conservative infrastructure; the only reason Romney won the primaries last year was because he had the money and the "boots on the ground" volunteers while the other candidates split the conservative vote. And yet Romney's political infrastructure come general election time was ultimately swamped by the Obama campaig's get-out-the-vote efforts in key major cities in swing states and amongst the youth. Make no mistake this political infrastructure will remain in the hands of the DNC.

Of course the crux of the RNC's "autopsy" was simply: vote for amnesty and screw the rule of law. The "people at the top" of the GOP don't realize that it is not about policy, it's about who is communicating that policy and how good they are at communicating. Democrats have an edge in this since any controversial statement made by a Dem will only make the local media (see: Colorado gun debate involving concealed carry and rape on college campuses) while any controversy a conservative or Republican makes is turned into a national scandal (see: Akin and Mourdock) which obviously brings down the image of the GOP as a whole. We don't need to change our platform we need to change how we deliver that platform to voters and who delivers that platform to voters. If RNC officials can grasp that then we can actually divert resources into fixing a real problem that can be fixed instead of attempting to fix an imaginary problem that will do nothing but depress turnout amongst the base. Sorry for the length of this rant.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For the last 14-15 years all we ever seem to read is what the liberals and the Democrats are planning to do to Republicans. And for those same 14-15 years, we keep waiting to hear, "and in return the Republicans are doing........" But we don't hear anything. All we ever seem to hear is a load of mumbled, mush-mouth garbage..............and then an apology for having said it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are you ready? Game plan. Instead of simply making our voices heard, we drain resources from the democrat recruiters by letting them work on us.
They don't move on to the next 4 or 5 prospects. We already know our mind but they don't. There's nothing more frustrating to a salesperson than working with someone who gives every impression of buying... and then walking away.

Take that concept into the macro realm. Don't fight them, drain them. Demand answers without making assertions which can be rebutted. Accuse them. Question their motives. Belittle them. Be relentless. Take no joy in the task. Do it dispassionately, like taking out the trash. Pivot. Get 'the children' into it. If the subject is the military, make it about an 'at-risk child.'
If it's about wealth disparity, make it about the unions not ponying up their fair share. It's easy. In fact, it's TOO easy.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (58)
All Comments   (58)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Reporting another "Refreshing" experience.

A Houston Talk Radio Host sat in for Bill Cunningham (Drudge's former program) this last Sunday night. Someone called in from California reporting dire personal constraints caused by his State's taxing and spending. Our Texas Host kindly offered a goodly list of Texas merits including its lower cost of living and much lower taxes. He noted its successes and the positive directions it is heading in. He completed his encouragement by letting the caller know other Californians had moved and were reporting welcoming and positive experiences in Texas.

For our purposes the merits of the West Texas native and the Houston Talk Radio fellow is that they are/can also openly and naturally describe to a Texas audience Texas' merits followed by why they exist, are occurring and, with more of the same, can be expected to continue and increase.

Next strategy ... how to get these types of information from these types of sources out to persons/groups that need to be better informed/educated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If I was a Democrat I'd work this:

There are more endocannabinoid receptors in the body than any other receptor type. The endocannabinoid system is a major regulator in the body implicated in almost all diseases including cancer.

Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

Some time, if you are interested, do a casual perusal of "endocannabinoid NIH" on your favorite search engine. Even better go to the NIH site and search "endocannabinoid". If you are a "conservative" you will not be amused.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I might add that the Ds start with 75% approval on med pot. It is just a matter of time until they pull the trigger. The Rs? Well they are divided.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
California's voters legalized so-called Medical Marijuana years ago.

Pot hasn't made anybody smarter, just more likely to vote Democrat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Since you wrote this article, I found it refreshing when a West Texan with a Latin accent called in to Rush Limbaugh's show to relate how well things were going in West Texas. Great jobs with energy (fracking?). Even folks without a high school education could earn up to $60,000. More folks were needed and welcome. Living is good in West Texas! That kind of message to fellow Texans should go away toward dispelling the impact of the progressive parasites.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another little note on CSCOPE, indoctrinating the next generation of Texans:

http://weaselzippers.us/2013/03/22/texas-school-system-teaching-students-america-responsible-for-911/#disqus_thread
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Goebbels would be proud. The worst part about this is that this kind of disgusting behavior turns people off of politics thereby allowing it to work. And the idea of duplicating the mass of stupid that California has become ought to be considered a crime against society itself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've read an article about something similar to this but I think it was a part of the official Obama re-election campaign that performed similar tactics; finding low-information/potential Democrat voters and hammering them with liberal propoganda which is of course generally backed up by the national media. Apparently the "databases" are already there from what I remember of the article, essentially saved from the 2008 election and will no doubt aid this organization's goal.

And we can't do the same thing why? This bugs the expletive out of me because how hard is it really to develop a nation-wide conservative infrastructure; the only reason Romney won the primaries last year was because he had the money and the "boots on the ground" volunteers while the other candidates split the conservative vote. And yet Romney's political infrastructure come general election time was ultimately swamped by the Obama campaig's get-out-the-vote efforts in key major cities in swing states and amongst the youth. Make no mistake this political infrastructure will remain in the hands of the DNC.

Of course the crux of the RNC's "autopsy" was simply: vote for amnesty and screw the rule of law. The "people at the top" of the GOP don't realize that it is not about policy, it's about who is communicating that policy and how good they are at communicating. Democrats have an edge in this since any controversial statement made by a Dem will only make the local media (see: Colorado gun debate involving concealed carry and rape on college campuses) while any controversy a conservative or Republican makes is turned into a national scandal (see: Akin and Mourdock) which obviously brings down the image of the GOP as a whole. We don't need to change our platform we need to change how we deliver that platform to voters and who delivers that platform to voters. If RNC officials can grasp that then we can actually divert resources into fixing a real problem that can be fixed instead of attempting to fix an imaginary problem that will do nothing but depress turnout amongst the base. Sorry for the length of this rant.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another significant advantage of having a stronger, better organized and more visible "boots on the ground" Conservative presence is that it would counteract some of the MSM/DNC propaganda. Watching what the news says about "Conservatives" has some effect, but when you remember the Conservative neighbor who lent you a saw, and the pleasant discussion, although you disagreed with him, with the kid who came collecting for the NRA, while you're watchign that MSM, it doesn't sink in quite as deep. It's about presenting alternatives, even just alternative narratives to defuse the Left's propaganda.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Forewarned is forearmed. Some ad money and aggressive criticism from Republicans can combat this. A good focal point would be Obama," do you want your state run by politicians like that?" Take them on, unemployment, weak economy, Harry Reid, plenty of targets.
The Dems can't wait to destroy another state, another feather in their cap like NY, Illinois & California.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Terrific post. There is no reason we can't use the tactics detailed here in exactly the same way - they don't just work for the Dems. I've only visited Texas, never lived there, but I reckon Texas can weather this storm and come out stronger.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My mother's people went to Erath County in 1845, so I know the ground.

What they Left is peddling simply has no resonance with the life experiences, never mind beliefs of the locals.

The ethos is simply that free people come together to forge common solutions when necessary. The Left wants some bearded doofus reading from a book, with no authority of either experience or character. Might as well send a parrot.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have the impression that Texans know how to defend themselves, all the more so when the enemy strategy is obvious.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 Next View All