Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wisconsin Silence

Josh Marshall at TPM is surprised by the near silence of the campaigns in Wisconsin's recall election. Why, he wonders, isn't the Barrett campaign holding rallies to let people know there is a special election is less than two weeks?

I've worked with enough professional political consultants to know that one of their hard and fast rules is that they don't want people they don't know voting. It's a dumb rule, but political consultants are all about "identifying your voters and only turning them out." Consultants believe it is gambling to just encourage people willy-nilly to vote.

There are no big rallies, on either side, in Wisconsin because both of their pollsters are telling them that the undecideds could break either way so both campaigns are narrow focusing, turning out just their supporters while hoping everyone else stays home.

Political consultants prefer to lose while confirming the accuracy of their polling data than roll the dice with unpredictable high turnout elections. That's why, when upsets happen, it is usually campaigns run by amateurs.

This is a particularly dumb idea for an insurgent election like the Scott Walker recall election. The Barrett campaign should be shouting from the rooftops to get people voting. Sure, lots of the people who turn out will vote for Walker but a big turnout is the only chance of victory for Barrett.

But Barrett is a professional advised by professionals. Which is why he is losing.

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