Saturday, September 19, 2020

No, the Biden Campaign Should Not Be Knocking on Doors; Death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Michael Moore, liberal propagandist (no he is not a "documentary maker"...please do not put him in the same category as Ken Burns), is sounding the alarm!!!  Biden volunteers are not knocking on doors!  No ground game!

Over at The Week, Bonnie Kristian writes a column lamenting how the Biden campaign is failing because it is not knocking on doors, ostensibly due to the Covid-19. Kristian is dismissive of the excuse and talks about how effective door knocking is as a campaign tool.

I think I know something about the subject.  I've literally knocked on thousands of doors as a candidate and campaign volunteer.  I have also taught a campaign strategy class.

Yes, door knocking is a great strategy - for down ballot candidates who are not well-known to the voters.  In those campaigns, the most effective option is for that candidate himself or herself to have contact with the voter.  Next best option is to have a campaign volunteer knock on the homeowner's door.

But those are low information races in which the voters do not know much, if anything, about the candidates. They're basing their decision on what little information they have.  A candidate or candidate volunteer's visit to the voter's door is hugely impactful to those voters.

Presidential contests are not low information events.  About 99% of voters know Trump and Clinton.  About 95% of them have already decided how they're going to vote.  You're basically looking for the 5% of undecided voters...a little like finding a needle in a proverbial haystack.   Even if successfully in locating that 5%, a campaign volunteer is simply transmitting information that the voter can get from literally hundreds of other sources.  In terms of person-to-person contact, family members and friends are likely to be much more persuasive on a voter's decision in the presidential race than some stranger knocking on their door.

Then, of course, you have the fact that a door knocking is extraordinarily labor intensive and expensive.  Human and capital resources of a presidential campaign are much better spent in other voter outreach efforts, such as texting voters or phone calls.   

No, even if we were not in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years, presidential campaigns should not be wasting time and money knocking on doors.

Michael Moore also talks about yard signs.  Campaign yard signs are about building a candidate's name identification. As noted, name identification is not a problem in presidential campaigns.  Presidential yard signs do not move the needle.  So what are presidential yard signs good for?  Raising money!   Yard signs bought in volume cost about 50 cents.  The Trump and Biden campaign then sells them for about $20.  Huge profit margin for the campaigns.  

Joe Biden leads in virtually every swing state, including by large margins in Wisconsin, Arizona and, yes, Michigan.  His campaign is flush with cash while the billion dollar Trump campaign is so broke it is pulling ads off the air in key battleground states.  It is hard to imagine the Biden campaign being in better shape.  Democrats have such a long history of campaign paranoia that it has a name - bedwetting.

As I've said many times before, people who want Trump gone should worry less about the casting of ballots and more about the counting of ballots.  That is where the real danger lies.


OOP's short takes: 

  • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's lifetime of accomplishments is indeed impressive.  As a conservative, I was not always enamored with her rulings, however.  Still her service to this country is something that should be recognized and praised.  
  • Tacky, tacky, tacky.  In the same press release praising Ginsburg's service, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talked about holding a vote to replace her.  Geez, Mitch, couldn't you have at least waited until the body was cold?  The proper thing to do would be for Mitch to defer addressing filling the position for a few days until after the Ginsburg funeral, memorial service.
  • Hypocrisy should matter.  I actually think the so-called Biden rule about the Senate not considering confirming a replacement Supreme Court justice when that vacancy happens during a presidential year, is a good one.  That's what McConnell relied on when, with 7 1/2 months left before the 2016 election, he refused to consider President Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia who had passed away.  Now McConnell says he will fill Ginsburg's seat even though the election is just 1 1/2 months away.
  • I just don't buy that McConnell will be able to find the votes to confirm a Trump appointee to fill the Ginsburg vacancy.  There are too many Republican Senators in close races who will not be helped by having to vote for a conservative, and undoubtedly, controversial judicial nominee to the Court.  But the prospect of filling that vacancy post-election is a good issue to motivate Republican voters to go to the polls.  I think that may really be the angle McConnell is pursuing.

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