Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is Turnout the Rethugs Secret Weapon?

"It's The Turnout, Stupid!":
Step one, spend millions to saturate the airwaves with the nastiest, ugliest smears and trash of "negative ads" until NO ONE wants to vote for any Democrat.

Then step two, get your own voters to the polls: Pastors Guiding Voters to GOP - Los Angeles Times,

With a pivotal election five weeks away, leaders on the religious right have launched an all-out drive to get Christians from pew to voting booth. Their target: the nearly 30 million Americans who attend church at least once a week but did not vote in 2004.

... The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical in Texas, has recruited 5,000 "patriot pastors" nationwide to promote an agenda that aligns neatly with Republican platforms. "We urge them to avoid legal entanglement, but there are times in a pastor's life when he needs to take a biblical stand," Scarborough said. "Our higher calling is to Christ."

"The G.O.P.'s Secret Weapon":
The polls keep suggesting that Republicans could be in for a historic drubbing. And their usual advantage--competence on national security--is constantly being challenged by new revelations about bungling in Iraq. But top Republican officials maintain an eerie, Zen-like calm. They insist that the prospects for their congressional candidates in November's midterms have never been as bad as advertised and are getting better by the day. Those are party operatives and political savants whose job it is to anticipate trouble. But much of the time they seem so placid, you wonder whether they know something.

They do. What they know is that just six days after George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his political machine launched a sophisticated, expensive and largely unnoticed campaign aimed at maintaining G.O.P. majorities in the House and Senate. If that campaign succeeds, it would defy history and political gravity, both of which ordain that midterm elections are bad news for a lame-duck President's party, especially when the lame duck has low approval ratings. As always, a key part of the campaign involves money--the national Republican Party is dumping at least three times as much into key states as its Democratic counterpart is--but money is only the start. "Panic results when you're surprised," says Republican National Committee (R.N.C.) chairman Ken Mehlman. "We've been preparing for the toughest election in at least a decade."
The Bush-Cheney campaign used state records to locate potential Republicans with Florida State University license plates, then had fellow Seminoles call them to sound out their views. Whereas parties used to go after certain precincts or ZIP codes, Republicans now know even which individual households they want through microtargeting--the use of computerized consumer data, from magazine subscriptions to charitable contributions, to help locate voters who are likely to vote Republican if they turn out. Other telltale signs of potential latent Republicanism are snowmobile ownership and enrollment in private schools.

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