Election Analysis--Results--Statewide Intro--posted by Tony Garcia on 11/17/2006
This should have been posted prior to delving into the Minnesota races.
These races need to be discussed individually to understand why they ended in the fashion they did. I will admit that two of them (Auditor and Attorney General) have me perplexed and without any explanation. The rest of them were no surprise…or at least should have been no surprise. If there had been serious objective observation of the campaigns the "writing on the wall" would have been as obvious as spray paint graffiti on the Wailing Wall.
This is not intended to be as I am sure it will appear. In other words, this is not a chance to "kick 'em while they are down." It is a blunt and serious look at why these races turned out the way they did. I do not believe "Democrat tsunami" is correct. Certainly there was a tide of "blue" in Minnesota, but there were reasons for each race (well, most of the races) turning out the way they did independent of the "Blue Tide".
There is also an additional need that goes beyond the "Wednesday Morning After" thoughts that have caused me to go into deeper detail with these (though in some cases from race to race it seems repetitive). The Republicans who are confused about some of these results have confused some things. Their wonderment is explained as, "They should not have lost, they are good people" or "Good people were sacrificed" to spend resources on ill-fated races.
Having good people does not mean you have good candidates (Jeff Johnson or Mary Kiffmeyer), strong incumbents (Tim Pawlenty) or qualified office seekers (Mark Kennedy or Harriet Miers). Conversely, having a good candidate (Michele Bachmann), a strong incumbent (Ted Kennedy) or a qualified office holder does not mean you have a good person. Once in a blue moon a person may be on both sides of this equation (Pat Anderson). And sometimes they just lose anyway.
One common factor was bad campaigning. The majority of campaigns relied too heavily on double standards, half-truths and distortions. They almost universally put personalities far ahead of issues…and even when discussing issues the candidates were actually still making their speeches or answers about personalities.
Another common problem was the unwillingness to address non-lapdog crowds. This, sadly, was common from both major parties and I hope gets rectified immediately by the office holders. Candidates would only do interviews if they knew there would be only "softball questions". Candidates would avoid venues that were not guaranteed to be filled with loyalists and apologists. The voters never got the chance to see the candidates under the lights and outside of stump speech mode. The few that did buck this trend appeared able and willing to actually defend their ideas.
Using only first hand experience I found it telling that Democrats I criticized heavily were willing to come on the show for questioning. Even after I warned them of the reality (there would be more hardball/curveball questions than softballs) they were willing. They wanted to show the other side (in this case, conservatives) their ideas. They wanted to show they were capable of defending their ideas. And that is the beauty of the marketplace of ideas (and the reasoning behind conservative groups on college campuses demanding a share of student funding). Republicans were unwilling to come in for direct and difficult questioning.
Throughout Minnesota most of the races were fairly obvious in their results before Election Day began. The following is to point out what most of us missed. Maybe the good hard look will help conservatives to get candidates in the next cycle that will not repeat the problems in 2006.