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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How Politics Work

If you need a good look at how politics work, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has provided an outstanding example.

They didn't provide it on purpose, it was actually left on a copy machine in the state capital according to one source, stolen from a cloakroom according to State Senator Mark Miller; none the less it provides a pretty good look at politics around election time.

As for Sen. Miller's idea it was stolen, that reminds me of the time the national party left their 'confidential' information on a public share drive and wondered how someone saw it.

The document is the State Democratic Party's draft of their plan for the 2006 election, and was drawn up in May of this year. Seems like a late start to me, but who knows.

Fred at RealDebate Wisconsin and others (here, here, here) have lots of analysis of the possible election law issues this document provides. My guess is that if the similar document that was undoubtedly written by the GOP was found it would raise the same issues on that side of the aisle.

One of the things in the content that got my attention was the section on page 8 that describes direct mail efforts against "A list" canidates, those they think are the most vulnerable, or open seats that are most winnable.

The first three mailings are bio and intro type flyers, and the third a "contrast" piece between candidates, that I would guess would be issue oriented, but isn't described. The next 3 mailings are all to be "negative ad" type mailings. If there is time, then the actual issue oriented and positive tone mailings will be sent out.

The phone plan is similar, it's number one priority is to START negative attacks on the opponent, or respond to one from the opponent. In fact, there's nothing on the draft of the phone plan to say anything positive. Just negative ads, and id'ing of likely voters.

We often complain that campaigning has become to negative, and this document shows that negative advertising is the preferred method of at least one party in gaining voters. I just hope it backfires on someone so we go back to talking about issues, instead of waiting to see if we have time after the attack ads have been run.

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