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After Action Report in a Philly Ring County

Someone who knows I’m a registered Republican even though I’m more libertarian than they really like and not enough party cheerleader. But a local woman posted something about Bucks County GOP losses this morning that made me think there was room for some serious observations about things both large and small local and county candidates could have done to improve their odds in an opposition party wave year – a factor that was completely predictable.

Of course, I should have known better than to assume anyone was interested in talking about things they saw that worked well for candidates and missed opportunities for others. People would rather scream “SHAME!” than actually think about things they could help do for their candidates of choice in next year’s elections.

I guess I’m sharing an edited version here since I hope that someone might be willing to be inspired by some of these thoughts and ultimately make a positive impact for gun rights.

Locally, I don’t think most of the GOP candidates prepared to run in what is, historically, going to be a year that favors the opposite party. There were some small things I noticed that probably made a difference, and then some big concepts, too.

For most of the county-level offices, other than glossy mailers that immediately go into the recycling bin, all I ever saw were the generic blue signs that had lots of last names with no visible office listed. The offices were listed on the signs, but nearly impossible to read in much smaller print squeezed between 3-5 last names of various GOP candidates on plain blue backgrounds. Even the glossy mailers I got a look at as they fell into the trash all had many candidates for different offices so that they all blended together.

In a specific an example, for sheriff, I knew a guy named Milt Warrell was on the ticket because his signs were big, bold, clear, and not typical campaign colors. They were bright yellow and black. If it weren’t for the fact that I knew the GOP incumbent had a different name, then I would not have know Milt was a Democrat or anything else. But, unlike the GOP candidate, I knew he was running for sheriff. Milt’s visible campaigning just showed him being something different and that he was clearly running for that office.

I get that local campaigns don’t have major resources to spend, and that’s why they try to campaign together. However, it’s not acceptable to have literally no individual efforts. First of all, and this is pretty important in a purple-blue state for Republicans, you need to accommodate the ticket splitters. There have been times when I’ll take a sign for one candidate, but leave the others behind because I’m not on board with them. So why should the guy or gal I like miss out?

On the state level, Sallie Munday, a candidate for our state Supreme Court, clearly benefitted from split ticket voting given the spread she put up statewide. As much as I hate to admit it, I do think part of it was because she is a woman. (There were several races where GOP women beat Dem men by percentages that aren’t likely explained by much more than they won the women’s vote because they are women.) But I think the significant vote spread was also because she was willing to run very targeted social media ads that don’t cost a ridiculous amount of money. Even before I had my NRA orange mailer on her endorsed candidacy, I was getting ads for her on the issues I clearly follow on Facebook. I knew her name well before Election Day, before the NRA ever sent anything about her, and on issues I care about.

On a side note, what was up with NRA PVF having multiple statewide-endorsed candidates in Pennsylvania and then leaving them off of their website? We had to go through the effort to scan in the mailer to share with Sebastian’s gun club. It would have been easier to point to a public webpage like we could with New Jersey.

Back to the Pennsylvania state races… Christine Fizzano Cannon was also doing some ads, though not as targeted as Munday’s, but enough that I knew she was a ballot for something. However, her good move was to do several “alert” style ads starting around 11:00am on Election Day over the fact that Philadelphia purposefully printed her name incorrectly on about half of their voting machines. I don’t know if she ran those sponsored posts statewide, but every time I opened Facebook yesterday, I saw one here in a ring county. That plays very well into the narrative most suburbanites and “T” people have that Philly is corrupt. That’s hours of sending a message out there that will motivate many who may have been uninspired to make sure and hit the voting booth on the way home. Not to mention, the specific reason her name was chopped in Philly could have caused some split voting tickets because it’s something unique to women who don’t give up their maiden names, but also use their husband’s names. Philly decided not to recognize her “2nd” last name on half of their machines. That’s not something most men would face, and women know it. She beat out a Democratic woman, and I suspect that if we could get the timing of those votes cast for her, there was an uptick after she got the word out about Philly screwing her over.

There is one exception to the social media spending that didn’t win in a race I was watching closely, and that’s a local supervisor candidate. He started spending on Facebook ads right before the election, but they weren’t targeted (beyond location) and they were reproductions of those glossy mailers that go straight into trash. They didn’t tell me anything about him. It’s like someone told him to spend something online, but he didn’t know about any of the power to really target it. And since guns have come up as a local issue, he could have done something. I’m sure that’s true for a variety of other local issues that he didn’t really hit on.

I don’t think that online ad spending is the ticket to success, but I do think that individual campaigns that at least tried to talk about issues voters care about won out here over generic 3-5 candidate signs that barely fit the office names on there. It was expected to be an opposition party wave year, and they didn’t run like it at all here in Bucks County.

I also won’t ignore that Trump was a factor, even though federal races weren’t on the ticket here. But that isn’t a surprise since this is typically the result when one party takes the White House the previous year. One way to both run against what many find off-putting about Trump without actually running against him and his policies is to make yourself really likable. I see a huge missed opportunity with one relatively small office in Pennsylvania that could really spawn a lot of fun online ad themes, and that’s Prothonotary. I still can’t say it. I still don’t fully understand what they do (even though I believe some of it is genealogically-related), and I can assure you that other regular and irregular voters are in the same boat. Surely someone in a candidate’s circle of friends or family could help draft a series of funny videos around that theme. Run them online for not much money, and that could have been one more county office to hold onto just by running on a platform of being a likable person with a sense of humor.

There’s also the mobilization issue. How many GOP-leaning voters were put off by a lack of enthusiasm, a dislike of driving in dark and rain, and heavy rain? In an aging state like Pennsylvania, probably quite a few. Was there an effort to reach out to older voters who otherwise would have gone to vote? I don’t know. I know that some races were close enough that everything should be on the table as proposals to GOTV for the county GOP. I also know enough to know that they won’t do it here. Sad.

Alabama Primary

The Trace is setting up the Alabama Senate primary as an epic struggle of NRA against NAGR and GOA, given that NRA is backing Strange and NAGR and GOA are backing Moore. It’s been said, “If you don’t like Trump, you really won’t like what comes after Trump if the establishment succeeds in tearing him down.” I’m betting Moore is a taste of that.

As I get older, I’m starting to believe that the SoCos have a point on some issues. But where I part will them, and will continue to part with them, is believing that government can erase the SoCos’ cultural losses. Culture leads politics, not the other way around. The left understands that very well, but the right never has.

Nonetheless, it’s a seller’s market if what you’re selling is populism, so I think there’s a good chance Moore pulls off an upset.

New Jersey, Where Everything is Illegal

Despite SilencerCo’s marketing, the new suppressed .50 cal muzzleloader is not legal in New Jersey. Let’s face it, what is? New Jersey defines firearms in such a way that even BB guns are firearms under New Jersey law, and if you put a silencer on one, that’ll land you in prison my friends. I’m pretty sure this is also illegal in Massachusetts as well.

This is Always What They Do

They end up in power with grand promises, and then make excuses for why they won’t pass the bill:

“The timing isn’t right.”

“We need a bigger majority to overcome a filibuster.”

“We think this is really more of a second term project.”

I could go on. The right time is when you have the majority. After 2018, who knows what will happen. Historically, we would expect the party in power to lose seats in the midterms. Practically, the prospect of the Dems taking the Senate seems remote, but that’s only because of the peculiarities of this particular election.

Now is the right time to get our bills passed. The SHARE Act has been introduced in the House, finally. Folks in Ryan’s district need to start turning up the heat, particularly.

“I’m From the Government, and I’m here to Kill You”

Dave Hardy’s latest book, “I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Kill you” is now available for preorder on Amazon. I’m told it should ship in a few weeks. I’d strongly recommend the introduction:

The proposition that a king, a government, can do wrong is central to the Declaration, America’s foundational document. So how did America get to a situation where government employees, “public servants,” can kill by sheer sloppiness and walk away? Where an agency can level a town and kill six hundred citizens and escape all responsibility? Where a federal agency can run guns to Mexican drug cartels, causing hundreds of deaths on both sides of the border, and wash its hands of the matter? Where veterans can die awaiting doctors’ appointments, and the hospital administrators can collect their bonuses and walk away?

Answering these questions requires a brief look at legal history. English common law developed the concept of “sovereign immunity,” commonly expressed as “the King can do no wrong.” But common-law sovereign immunity was actually a narrow concept. A subject could not sue or pros- ecute the king, but could take legal action against anyone carrying out the king’s orders. Americans could better hold their government accountable when they were ruled by George III than they can today!

Read the whole thing.

Peak Social Issues?

Say Uncle asks whether we’ve reached peak social issues. My prediction is that no, we have not. But I think every new generation is always looking for things they can do that will piss off their parents, and the Millennials had to reach to completely absurd levels to accomplish that. So things really have no where to go but backwards.

I believe over the next 50 years, this country is going to see a good old fashioned religious revival, not unlike the ones we had two centuries ago. Only it won’t be strictly protestant, and probably will have a lot of tendencies none of us today will like. I don’t dare say socialism, because I’m not convinced Generation Z has any better idea what Socialism actually is than Millennials do. There’s already evidence the ground work is being laid.

We even have our very own Jacksonian in the White House.

One More Thought …

Following up on the previous post … in the great monopolies of the 20th century, IBM and Bell Labs, to name the big players, maintained great laboratories of innovation. If they were going to be monopolies, they wanted the public to feel they were benefiting from it. We’re still benefitting from much of the innovation today that has come out of those two monopolists in the 20th century.

The robber barons of the 21st century will captivate the public imagination with space travel, supersonic transport, electric cars, and other wonders. They will do their best to bring us the future we were promised, so we will also remain happy with our monopolies and accept their political power.

There has to be a balance. I don’t believe the economic and social policies of the 20th century will achieve what we need, and I notice a lot of the elders in my life are myopically still fighting yesterday’s battles, and settling old scores which don’t honestly matter anymore.

One thing I do believe is that Trump and Obama are both transformative figures. They are two peas in a pod, even if neither they nor their supporters could ever accept that. Both are products of the 20th century post-WWII political arrangement. Sooner than most anyone else, they came to understand the post-WWI arrangement was breaking down. Wishing to make their mark on the world, both are now locked in a struggle to replace that order, but neither of them are really in a position to do so. Something will replace that order, but whatever it will be, and whoever will be its standard bearer, has not fully developed.

Sandwichgate

I don’t know how many of you have followed David Brooks’ stepping in it with his story of introducing a working class friend to an upscale sandwich shop.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Ace of Ace of Spades has a somewhat different take on it:

By the way, where did David Brooks come by this non-college-educated “friend”? Last time I heard from him, he was asking the government to set up Adult Day Camps where people of different social classes could meet and mingle.

I’m already involved with such an Adult Day Camp, namely my local shooting club. It’s difficult for me to relate to this kind of class anxiety. I think a key part of getting along and enjoying new experiences is just not giving too much of a crap what other people think of you. Now, to a degree, we all care somewhat. I certainly don’t enjoy offending people, and try very hard not to poop in other people’s pools. But I don’t see what the issue is asking what a Padrino is, and couldn’t really care less if someone thinks I’m a rube for not knowing.

My father worked in an office, but only completed some college. My mother only had a high school education and was a full time mom. Both my grandfathers were tradesmen. Most of my father’s friends were either tradesmen or worked for a living. None of my grandmothers had more than a high school education. So I don’t get class anxiety being around wealthy elites or working class people. Both groups of people have their bullshit, even if it’s different bullshit. Both groups engage in “virtue signaling,” it’s just that their virtues are different. But somehow increasingly, the two groups can’t talk to each other. Why?

I blame social media.

Good News in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied appeal on FOAC et al. v. Lower Merion Township, basically upholding the ruling in Commonwealth Court that their ordinance banning firearms and discharge in township parks was illegal.

Our current preemption law usually works when we can take these ordinances to court, but getting them there is difficult.

Also from Josh Prince: “It is time for the citizens of Pennsylvania to stop paying millions of dollars, each year, for a broken and duplicative system, when the FBI offer NICS to us for free.” PICS is awful. At some point I’d like to see a bill in Congress to eliminate POC states. That way there’s only one entity to keep an eye on. POC state agencies have gotten away with a lot worse malfeasance than the FBI, and the FBI does a much better job with uptime on NICS than the PSP does with PICS, which is very outage prone for as much as it’s costing taxpayers.

Quote of the Day: Anger Issues Edition

I can’t find much to disagree with here:

But something new has happened to American politics in the last few years: Politicians have realized that the simplest path to power is to humor everyone’s anger. If you take someone’s anger from them, you’ve emotionally castrated them. More important, you run the risk of driving them into the arms of someone who will feed their anger — an anger that will now turn on you for the sin of having discounted that anger in the first place. This is deeply unhealthy.

Yes. And the data crunchers are getting very adept at manipulating people’s emotions for gain. They aim to sell you something, whether it’s a better razor, or an ideology. Big data means those with a product to sell will know what buttons to push to get you to buy.

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