I recently remarked about a great DCCC flier to Tom DeLay’s old district which complained about one of the Republican write-in candidates being too conservative for that district, even though he wasn’t the GOP-selected candidate to receive the write-in votes. And how it was a bit of reverse psychology, as it appeared to be an attack on the guy, but how the DCCC was really intending for conservatives to vote for him, instead of the person the GOP wanted.
Well, I just got a mailer today from the Republican Party of Texas, and they did the same damn thing; except in a way that really hurts them. Specifically, the flier was intended to target Democrats and show them as being too liberal, but the fact that the idiots sent it to anyone in my zip code shows how little they know of what they’re doing. Because if anything, the whole thing only emphasizes why we should vote Democratic on Tuesday.
On the front, it has a woman and boy holding a flag, with the words “On Nov 7th Your Vote Will…” And on the back, it finishes the sentence, saying “…Decide Whose Values Guide Texas”. It then gives a list of issues, each with a “NO” in the Democrats’ column and a “YES” in the Republicans’ column. But none of these are wedge issues or even moderately appealing to centrists. Here’s the list:
Parental Notification for a minor daughter’s abortion
The Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage between a man and a woman
Laci Peterson’s Law, which protects pregnant women from violence
A ban on burning the American flag
Judges who will strictly interpret the Constitution
And then on the bottom is says “The Choice is Clear” and is obviously suggesting that I would want to vote Republican because I agree with them on those five issues. Yet I don’t agree with any of those, but rather am totally turned-off by them and find them to be good reasons to vote against Republicans. And sure, many Texans strongly support all of those things. But not necessarily in my town, and certainly not in my zip code. As I’ll show below, they’re more likely to have sent this to liberals than conservatives, and as such, helped the Democrats far more than if they had sent the flier themselves.
Tale of the Tape
I just looked up the voting stats (PDF) for my district, and it shows exactly what I expected: We’re extremely liberal. I’m in district 437, and we had a 64% voter turn-out in 2004. Of those, 83% voted for Kerry, and 13% voted Bush. And I find that Bush even getting 240 votes here somewhat amazing. So what in the hell are they sending this shit to me for? I mean, 41% of us voted straight-ticket Dem in 2004, compared with only 6% straight-ticket Republicans. So why would they want to remind us Kerry voters of how extremist they are?
Interestingly enough, the Libertarian candidate got more votes than Nader in 2004 (39 votes to 16), which I guess might show how burned everyone was on Ralph after 2000. In contrast, Nader got 33% of the vote here in 2000 (PDF), with 483 votes; compared with the Libertarian receiving 1%, or 15 votes. And even then, with Bush’s Governor’s Mansion being right down the street, Gore won 51% of the vote, with Bush still getting that same 13% as in 2004.
Hmm, wait a minute. If we add Gore’s 51% to Nader’s 33%, we get 1% higher than Kerry’s 83%. Hmm. No, it couldn’t be. Because we all know that Nader’s votes all came from newbies who were upset at both sides.
And the previous mid-term election (PDF) was no better for Republicans. Then, only 40% of people voted, and of those, 33% voted straight-ticket Dem, compared with 4% going straight Republican. And for the Senate race, between torture-fanatic John Cronyn and Democrat Ron Kirk, my district went 83% to Kirk, compared with only 11% to Cronyn.
In my district at the time, we didn’t have a Republican running for the House because we were so strongly Democratic, so I can’t compare those stats. But these days, thanks to Tom DeLay’s shenanigans, we’ve got Republican Lamar Smith as our representative in the House, despite the fact that he only got 13% of my district, compared with 81% to the Democrat I had never heard of. Thanks, Tom DeLay. Hope you rot in prison.
Travis County Dems
And even my whole county is majority Democratic. Not by as much as my district (which is one of the most liberal in town), but they really shouldn’t be bothering anyone in the city with this kind of partisan crap. In my county (PDF), we went 56% to Kerry, compared with 42% to Bush in 2004, with Nader getting trounced even by the Libertarians. And in 2002 (PDF), it was 55% to the Democratic Senate candidate and 42% to Cronyn. That seems pretty damn steady.
Oh, yet in 2000 (PDF), Bush actually beat Gore in Travis County, 41% to 47%. And sure, Nader’s 10%, if added to Gore’s, would have put Gore over Bush. But that’s clearly not relevant, because we know that none of those would have voted for Gore. And in any case, it’s obvious that there were more votes for liberal candidates than conservative. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Buchanan got 0.18% of the vote in Travis County. And as a reminder, Bush lived in our county at the time and wasn’t extremely reviled by most Dems. (I, on the other hand, was always on to the bozo.)
And as one final comparison, I looked up Massachusetts’ voting record (PDF), to see how those infamous Massachusetts Liberals stacked up against my own, and see that in 2004, MA went 62% to home-state favorite Kerry, and 37% to Bush. And that’s only a few points more liberal than my whole county and significantly less liberal than my district. The 2000 election wasn’t much different, with 60% going Gore, 33% to Bush, and 6% to Nader. So again, Massachusetts was far less liberal than my district, where the Republicans just sent me a flier bragging about how extremely conservative they are. I wonder how many similar fliers the Republican Party of Massachusetts sent out.
And so all this is pretty obvious that they shouldn’t be sending us this crap. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t even try; though they probably shouldn’t. But why try with this extremist bullshit? Why not try to soften their image when mailing stuff to likely Democrats? Because again, to any Democratic voter in the county, the choice really was clear, and it would be against the Republican. And as the stats above lay clear, only about 13% of our district would vote Republican, so the odds are pretty slim that this mailer hit one of them. And the odds of many of these people being conservative enough to be influenced by the flier are even slimmer.
And lest you get the idea that the Republican Party of Texas is simply not acquainted with my district or county, you should understand that this is where they’re located. Their headquarters are right down the street from me. Many of their workers are likely to drive right through my district every day, on their way to the outskirts, where all the Republicans live. And there’s no way that they couldn’t know that.
So what the hell were they thinking? They know that Austin is the Liberal Bastion of Texas, and they know that my zip code is liberal by even Austin standards. We’re famous for it and have our own bumper stickers and t-shirts. Yet they send us this hardcore conservative flier as if they’re confident that this will persuade us to vote Republican on Election Day.
So all this just goes to show how totally out-of-touch and clueless these people are. The only flier they sent me was far more likely to help the Democrats than anything it could do for the Republicans. Even something from the Democrats wouldn’t have helped them as much, and for the same reason that the DCCC ad I wrote about earlier was so good. It’s one thing to be told to be scared of the enemy, but it’s another thing to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. They’re warning Austinites what the stakes are next Tuesday, and I hope people take them up on that.