Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Post Mortem/Goodbye and Good Riddance

By Bill Kraus

The campaign started with an iconic incumbent, a sent from heaven opponent, and a predictable central issue about which neither of the candidates if elected could do much: jobs specifically, the economy predominantly.

The icon never wavered.

The Dems ran a traditional campaign with a non-traditional candidate; not good. What was worse was instead of featuring their candidate they chose to follow their misguided notion that everybody who knows the governor and what he has done hates him and everything about the famous Act 10 which made him an icon because they do.

After losing two referendums on the governor, they went for the third instead of running a positive campaign featuring their candidate and the interesting qualities their non mainstream candidate brought to the campaign.

A strategic misstep.

Both campaigns inevitably turned to the politics of personal destruction which demeans the perpetrators, the targets, and the trade.

They turn to it, because their adherents insist on it and keeping their adherents happy matters more and more as the electorate becomes more and more a collection of committed partisans.

The people say they want more civility, more compromise, more mutual respect. The people are either lying or inconsistent.

Is there any campaign manager who doesn’t know that his best friends give the worst advice. What they want is smash mouth politics delivered by television commercials, the medium of choice which excels at the short jab in the chops. Hardly a route to mutual respect and civility.

Another undesirable side effect of campaigns that are pitched to the dominant committed partisans is that they are fundamentally idealess.

There is a smugness about partisans, and the more radical they are, the more sure they are that their positions on almost everything are correct. That being the case what need is there for change, second thoughts, new ideas? Not much.

Did anyone present a new idea in any campaign this year?

Does anyone want a 2016 campaign that replicates this one?

Bill Kraus lives in Madison, is the former press secretary for Governor Lee Dreyfus, and is the Chair of the State Governing Board of Common Cause of Wisconsin.

Follow Bill Kraus on:

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