The PJ Tatler

Democrat Billionaire Bankrolls Effort to Suppress Republican Votes

Democrats like to accuse Republicans of trying to “suppress” votes. It’s an inflammatory thing to say, it angers and therefore motivates some Democratic voters, and voter suppression also happens to be an activity in which the Democrats have a long history and continue to be experts.

In September, Politico ran this story on a Democrat group called NextGen. It is funded by leftwing billionaire Tom Steyer, a former hedge fun manager who is now using his vast wealth gained in part from coal to push for extreme “green” policies. Politico’s story tees up a strategy that Steyer and NextGen intend to use to help Democrats avoid catastrophe in the coming mid-term elections.

NextGen’s Chris Lehane, a veteran Democrat strategist going back to the 1990s and defending Al Gore and the sexual predator Bill Clinton, spells out that strategy in this memo, which formed the basis for Politico’s story.

Politico’s Maggie Haberman explains that according to the NextGen memo, billionaire Steyer’s well-funded group will use “climate issues” to motivate voters whom the group calls “Super Shifters.”

“The Super Shifters are primarily voters with children who earn an annual income of less than $100,000 and are profoundly unhappy with the gridlock in Washington,” Lehane writes in the memo. “These are voters that are continuing to dig out from the 2008 Great Recession. For these Super Shifters, economic issues are the electoral dominant driver.”

The Super Shifters “believe that the system is rigged against them — and that there are powerful interests, the corporate ‘fat cats’ — a phrase that came out of a focus group — who exercise undue influence over the political process,” Lehane adds.

“Fat cats” such as Tom Steyer, who is using his billions to impact multiple races in key states in ways that no ordinary voter can? Of course not. He’s the right kind of fat cat, meaning he is on the left. Plus, he controls NextGen and pays Lehane a lot of money to come up with its strategies. The libertarian-minded Koch brothers are the wrong kind of fat cats, so the billionaire-funded NextGen, led by consummate Beltway insider Chris Lehane, is pushing Democrat candidates to attack them.

Haberman does detail why Democrats keep attacking the Koch brothers — it appears to be working for them. Construction monsters and then creating fear of them taps into basic human instincts — and means of obtaining and holding onto power. But she missed a key component of the NextGen strategy, though. It’s on pages 8 and 9 of the Lehane memo. It’s called the “Republican Haircut Strategy.” Politico’s Haberman never mentions it in her story.

Which is interesting, as it occupies the penultimate and final pages of the Lehane memo. It’s not buried. It is the point of the memo. The preceding pages lead up to it.

So what is the “Republican Haircut Strategy?” It’s an effort to suppress Republican votes in key races.

According to the Lehane memo:

“In virtually every state NextGen is electorally engaged, there is an issue where the Republican candidate”s anti-climate, anti-basic science beliefs has manifested itself in policies with harmful consequences for all voters in state, including Republican voters. Our Republican Haircut Strategy – a precision focus on a specific harm in target Republican markets – we will seek to degrade Republican performance.”

There’s a lot of loaded language in that — “anti-climate, anti-basic science beliefs” could describe anyone who ignores the fact that the climate scare-mongers keep being proved wrong, and that the data shows that the earth has not warmed in the past 15 to 18 years. Climate hysterics systematically rule out the role that the Sun plays in climate stability and change. Which is a very large thing to omit. And we cannot control it with any carbon trade scheme, tax, regulatory regime or any other means.

The final phrase there is the most loaded: “[W]e will seek to degrade Republican performance.”

Suppress Republican votes, in other words, by tarring and smearing Republican candidates using pseudo-science as a weapon.

The memo spells out how billionaire-funded NextGen and Washington insider Chris Lehane did in fact suppress Republican votes in Virginia in 2013 (Democrat Terry McAuliffe won that race, with Steyer’s backing) and how they intend to do the same in key states in 2014.

Those states are Florida, which has a close governor’s race; Iowa, which has a close Senate race; and Michigan, which also has a close Senate race. NextGen could create just enough noise to tip some of those races toward the Democrats, thereby holding onto the United States Senate.