As Americans, we pull up our bootstraps and work hard to succeed. We endure low wages, ridiculously bad health care and crime. We save for down payments for houses, college educations and times we may need to take FMLA for aging parents. We create neighbor networks from years of communicating and networking. A few of us will receive job promotions after years of hard work, training and creating good relationships with co-workers. Years of planning and studying are used to make even minute decisions. Why don’t political campaign leaders understand this?
In June of 2017 $55 million was spent on a small Georgia House race between a new comer, John Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R). Handel won with a sky high voter turnout that mystified pollsters. Republicans weren’t as surprised. They had been working and networking in Georgia for decades. The Southern US has been their base of strength since Lyndon B. Johnson (some analysts state even before then). Even as Handel matched Ossoff funds, it was the party’s hardwork, not money, that won the race.
This phenomenally expensive campaign proves to all of us, Democrat or Republican, money cannot buy love or voters. The Republican party is dominating the US political system due to a faulty Democrat belief of party loyalty. Party loyalty is created and maintained like a marriage. It’s obvious that decades of ignoring the voting partners is taking its toll.
Political analysts in both parties need to understand three elements they claim through their own research.
1. Voter apathy is higher in negative campaigns. Why spend millions in mudslinging if you know it’s not opening doors? Spend political contributions on the people. Donate money to every church, playground and social organization. The networks in these donations spread the word faster than any hate message.
2. Voters lose their loyalty when they lose their jobs. Decades have passed since the Rust Belt saw new jobs. Keep your political campaign promises and bring the jobs. Re-start manufacturing in the mills. Spend $20 million of your campaign funds to re-start a manufacturer. That should turn out voters.
3. Voters like incumbents. Why spend millions on candidates that have no relationship with the people? An old saying in Chicago is vote early and often. The same can be said when running a new politician. Get the person in politics at least three years before a race. Stop carpet bagging.
Engage with voters as people, as business owners, as unemployed workers, not just as statistics. A fair and reputable political system is counting on it. Americans shun the idea of spending immense sums to win elections. What voters really want is money in their own districts, neighborhoods and schools. Learn to donate millions to build something in each part of a district. That gets people’s attention. Citizens United won in SCOTUS because campaign funding responsibility to the voters is up to party leaders. Voters are saying how they feel when turnout is low or when a nation turns Republican Red. Get the picture not just the fat check.
Does money make you vote?