Dear Conservative and Libertarian Donors: It’s the Voter Contact, Stupid

Victory in the information war doesn’t depend entirely on conservative and libertarian rich people, but almost. Better candidates, smarter elected officials, and an activated citizenry can’t accomplish what they must without the dollars to get the word out.

The mechanics of politics are pretty basic. You have to get enough information to enough people so they’ll make the right decision on election day, and then after that, so they’ll support change in the right direction. The work never ends. Diagnosing the problems, prescribing the solutions, and then effectively selling the latter so a majority doesn’t continue to be acquiesce to more of the same disastrous policies.

Voter contact. Voter contact. Voter contact. That’s where the money needs to be spent.

It’s a safe bet that right of center political donors think that’s where they dollars are going now, but if they were, more Americans would understand better just how big the governmental mess is that’s been created by the bi-partisan incompetence over decades.

Let’s sort out a few things. First, there are more Republicans in office today than ever before, so clearly the GOP is winning elections. I’d argue, as would many, that the reason for that has much more to do with Obama’s management of the country than smarter consultant spending decisions.

Second, as stated simply above, winning office is supposed to be only the first part. Failing to have public backing for good policies makes a waste of even legislative majorities.

Lastly, there are still place where the GOP should be winning but isn’t — like in Illinois. And since I live in the Land of Lincoln, I see first hand how Republican Party donors are throwing away their money, cycle after cycle.

Our Republican governor Bruce Rauner (for those of you that live outside Illinois, yes, we have a Republican governor) spent well over $60 million dollars getting himself elected in 2014. Here’s the kicker: there were no coat tails.

It’s almost a certainty that Illinois voters are no more informed about the absolutely horrendous state of their state a year into Rauner’s term, and two years into his well-funded presence in Illinois politics beginning during the primary campaign of 2014.

Don’t think that our side is losing the information war because we don’t have the resources necessary to turn the tide. Bruce Rauner’s money — and that of his friends — could be making a huge impact on public opinion in Illinois. Instead, the old media still sets the narrative, and Rauner is being portrayed as the guy who is withholding funding from services for the disabled. (And since the state still doesn’t have a budget agreement between the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, the fact is, social service organizations are being the hardest hit.)

Let me tell you — as much as I tout the untapped potential of our side when it comes to talent and creativity — there are also plenty of un-tapped funds on the political right. And much of the money that is being spent isn’t being spent effectively — and “our” rich guys haven’t figured that out yet. Writing large checks to campaigns or political action committees run by the failed political consultant class is not how this reality will change.

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