Thursday, June 22, 2017

Maybe it’s time to send the pollsters and Dems back to school




Many years ago, my first boss was a tough guy. He sort of reminded me of a stern defensive coordinator in the face of an NFL player who blew his assignment. His favorite line, and I heard it a few times, was: “Mr. Canto, I think that I’m sending you back to school…”
I never got sent back to school but he made his point. He expected results.     
Maybe it’s time to send the pollsters and the Democrats back to school. To say the least, it’s been a tough year for the party and pollsters.     
For a month, many of us heard that the Georgia special election was too close to call. The RCP average showed a very close race with the Democrat leading in most of the polls. He led by 7 at one point and was 1-2 points ahead until Karen Handel went up by 1 in the last poll.   
To say the least, most of us tuned in expecting to be up all night waiting the results in what was referred to as “a referendum on President Trump.”
Then, everything started to change. As the numbers came, Handel started to build a lead. By 10 PM central time, Mrs. Handel was delivering a victory speech and Mr. Ossoff was desperately putting a happy face on a disaster.
So what happened?     
To be fair, it’s tough to “poll” a district, as a couple of my pollster friends told me over the years.   
Nevertheless, they were wrong again. In fact, 53-47% is better than Mr. Trump’s numbers last November.     
I think that there are several things going on here:     
1)  The modern Democrat Party is so out of touch with reality that it’s frightening, as Barry Casselman wrote in his analysis of the election. How do you nominate a young liberal without any political experience to run in a conservative district? Also, don’t compound your stupidity by finding a guy who does not even live in the district. The party is in deep trouble if they think this is the way to compete in these so called red districts.    
2)  The Democrat candidate was funded by people who thought that they could win by just spending money. Yes, money is important but knocking on doors and presenting positions is more important than speaking in pathetic generalities like the Democrat did. It’s great to say that you want affordable health care for all but voters in these districts would rather hear how you’re going to pay for it.   
3)  Hating Trump will get you those who hate Trump but not much more. The Democrats need a message beyond Trump, as Frank Bruni wrote:  
So a party sorely demoralized in November is demoralized yet again — and left to wonder if the intense anti-Trump passion visible in protests, marches, money and new volunteers isn’t just some theatrical, symbolic, abstract thing.
Yes, maybe they are screaming, protesting, and marching too much. It does get a little boring, and more important, counterproductive over time!
So here we are and this movie has a familiar ending: The Dems win polls and the GOP wins elections.
Maybe we need to send Democrats and pollsters back to school, as my old boss used to say.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk), (YouTube) and follow me on Twitter.



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