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Sunday, March 09, 2014

 

Paul and the CPAC Straw Poll

The CPAC straw poll is a poor prognosticator of who will win the Presidency. In fact it’s even a poor prognosticator of who will become the Republican candidate. Since 1976 it has only chosen two Presidents (Reagan and Bush) and three candidates (Reagan, Bush and Romney).

Per Wikipedia:
Year Straw Poll Winner
1976 Ronald Reagan
1980 Ronald Reagan
1984 Ronald Reagan
1986 Jack Kemp
1987 Jack Kemp
1993 Jack Kemp
1995 Phil Gramm
1998 Steve Forbes
1999 Gary Bauer
2000 George W. Bush
2005 Rudy Giuliani
2006 George Allen
2007 Mitt Romney
2008 Mitt Romney
2009 Mitt Romney
2010 Ron Paul
2011 Ron Paul
2012 Mitt Romney
2013 Rand Paul
2014 Rand Paul

Are straw polls meaningless? Well, yes and no. Straw polls are small samples and can be rigged by loading the sample with your followers. Ron and Rand Paul, father and son, are known for this. It also may explain Romney winning the straw poll four times, standing accused of running an “intensive ground operation at CPAC, flooding the convention with college-aged campaign workers — paying many of their registration fees and even busing some of them in and paying for their hotel rooms, according to a report in The New York Times.”

But the convention itself is an opportunity for the people who want to run to show their stuff, to make their arguments and demonstrate their style. It is also an opportunity to activate the base, to recruit volunteers and to gain publicity.

It is a serious mistake on the part of Republicans, whoever the candidate is, to appeal to the base to get the nomination and then to veer sharply to the Left in a vain attempt to try to capture the middle. The “middle” are often no more than apathetic Democrats. Reagan never deviated from his Conservative message and won two overwhelming electoral victories. Yet Republican political “professionals” always, always try to pull their candidates away from their base, to blur their message, and to pander to a media that lives to eviscerate them.

Were I to run for public office, I would ignore my Democrat opponent and run against the media. The media are more hated than lawyers or used car salesmen. You can get better applause lines by exposing the lies, the bias and the arrogance of the media. Of course the media will be promoting your opponent.  So the beauty of this strategy is that you never have to denigrate your opponent or call into question those who may be inclined to vote for him. Instead, you’ll get people agreeing with you and deciding to vote for you because you think like they do. And the beauty of this strategy is that it will not only win elections but leave the corpse of the media on the election room floor.

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