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MYTH: Easter is derived from false pagan goddess

What Is A Christian Nation

Biblical References in Give Me Liberty Speech by Patrick Henry

HISTORICAL RECORD: Winter Months Grazing for Sheep in Bethlehem area

Fox News December 24, 2013: Too cold for shepherds in December

The Real Lincoln - Despot

Is the Constitution Really Inimical To States Rights? - Part Fourteen

MYTH: Too cold for shepherds to Tend Flocks in December - Part 2

Gun Control Coming to the Senate Floor on Monday

74th Anniversary of 'Gone with the Wind' premiere

The First Thanksgiving Day - flyer

The Death of Jefferson Davis - December 6 1889

Marietta Daily Journal - on The First Thanksgiving

Demonstration against Lindsey Graham & Southern demographic displacement

MYTH: Too Cold For Shepherds in December

December 4 was First Thanksgiving, in Virginia, not Plymouth

Next League Demonstrations Against Southern Demographic Displacement

Federal Government Propaganda Machine

What is wrong with Thumping the Bible?

Drones for our protection. For those who will believe anything!

Grassroots:4 - Targeting background for non Republican/Democrat candidates

In the previous article on this subject (See: Grassroots:1 - How early should I start campaigning? ) we mentioned that as a non Republican/Democrat candidate your campaign or your candidate will face additional ballot access obstacles. In the second article (See: Grassroots:2 - Ballot Access defined and first step on developing campaign plan) these were explained and initial steps of information required to incorporate a solution into your campaign plan were presented.  In the third article (See: Grassroots:3 - Looking at the concept of targeting ) we introduced the concept of targeting.

In this article we will provide some very basic information about modern day campaigns and elections. While this is all public information very few citizens seem to be aware of these basic facts. But these facts will be the key to any independent candidate's capability to achieve success and for concerned citizens to have a Real Choice in their elections.

A brief recap on why targeting is so critical for independent campaigns:

Importance of Targeting for independents

A candidate running for public office in a partisan election as a Republican or Democrat starts out with a base vote. Most election districts are skewed in most elections by 10% or less of the average vote. So in most districts with equal candidates running 80% of the time the difference is no worse than 60 - 40% of the average vote. So even the underdog in such elections have a base vote of somewhere around 40%.

When running as an independent candidate, with opposition from both major parties you probably start with at most 2-3% of the average vote, lets use 4% for round numbers. So speaking in general terms we start with a 58% - 38% - 4% race in a very partisan district.

We will carry this hypothetical district and race through a look at what these numbers mean in terms of the total potential voter pool and how an estimate of your campaign can impact the election.

Some Election Basics

Before building a campaign plan it is very important for an independent candidate to understand the dynamics of current day elections. Both good government and success for non Republican/Democratic candidates require that the dynamics be changed. If nothing changes, then elections will continue to offer minimal choices and special interests will continue their current trend of gaining influence at the expense of the citizens.

To start, you need to understand that in most elections the majority of the voting age eligible population (VAP) have already expressed their disgust with the current day elective process. They have in effect "dropped out" of elective politics. So when you look at the vote percentages quoted above and make the assumption that 50% of VAP actually vote and adjust the percentages it is really a:

 29% - 19% - 2% race with 50% non participating.

Now lets say you work hard and take 6% of the leading parties typical vote, 4% of the second party and gain the support of 20% of those who have dropped out previously, we have a different race. It is now:

26% - 17% - 17% with 40% not participating or in actual votes in this hypothetical situation: 43.3% - 28.3% - 28.3%.

Now a look at those results shows the promise of both beginning to restore good government (increased citizen participation) and potential for success. A race with those numbers is a toss up. It will require a run-off and the independent candidate is in close competition to make the run-off. Remember this was for a very partisan district, in a district that more evenly distributed the race is a virtual toss up.

The 6%, 4% and 20% percent figures were picked as representative and in developing your campaign plan you will need to select realistic targets for your district. However keep in mind that with a good campaign plan, that is well executed  - you do not have to look at these as a one time shot. If you are able to retain a sizable amount of any portion actually established as support, you can repeat the race in the next election cycle and you are no longer starting around 4%.

At this point some will be saying, "that is voodoo arithmetic." But it is not  - as explained below:

Historical Voter Turnout Facts

The next elevoter turnoutction cycle is commonly called the mid-term or off-year elections. This means that in the 2006 election, the office of President is not on the ballot. Voter turnout statistics are different for Presidential and mid-term elections. We will use historical data for mid-term elections which are much lower than Presidential years.  Starting with a graph (on left) the picture will begin clear up.

As you can see mid-term or off-year elections have not approached even 50% turnout of VAP since the 1960's. Since then we have eliminated many restrictions and implemented "motor voter" and citizen participation has still dropped to 40% or less.

One statistic that is amazing is that 80% of contested elections are won with 24% or less of the VAP. This is roughly your target, you have to find, gain the support of and get 24% of the VAP to the polls to win 80% of the time.

Now lets take the same numbers above that were based upon 50% turnout and adjust for today's anticipated turnout of 40% for the 2006 elections.

The starting point of 58% - 38% - 4% converted to VAP percentages becomes:

23.2% - 15.2% - 1.6% with 60% non participants.

With the same campaign targets of 6% from leading party, 4% from second party and 20% of previous non participants we have in actual votes the race would be:

40.1% - 26.1% - 33.8 % with 48% not participating.

Suddenly this previously "locked in" district where one party dominated is now a wide open district where the acceptance of issues, not party will now determine the winner in a run-off. Note that when one party dominates and the candidate is chosen in the Party Primary about 10% or less of the VAP actually pick the winner. Not only has such an independent candidate now generated an open election, but is in the running in a competitive way.

The components of success

Lets look at each of these numbers and do a gut check on are they feasible or is this pie in the sky?

  • 6% of dominate party voters. The easiest way to get a handle on the hard core party vote is to compare the general election and primary votes. A large portion of the increased vote for the party in the general election are those who are voting for the "lesser of two evils" or against the other major party candidate. These voters (combined with same classification from second party) and can be targeted. To determine if this percentage is achievable you will have to do a comparison of the numbers and relative strength of your issue positions.
  • 4% of second party voters. Same methodology as above. The second party percentage is lower as we always recommend placing as much emphasis as possible toward targeted campaigning that will attract voters from the dominate party percentages.
  • 20% of previous non participants. This groups breaks down into three categories; 1) infrequent voters, 2) un registered citizens and 3) will not register or not eligible to register citizens. The first category is the largest in most but not all districts and can be identified by voter databases for specific targeting. Of the three categories listed this will be most desirable category to work towards in most districts. These are also practically ignored by most current day campaign tools except media expenditures. To achieve 20% of the non participating VAP you will need to attract about 15% from this category and hope for 5% in the unregistered category. The 5% new registrations is based upon work. In the author's 2002 campaign our estimate is that we achieved 3% from April through September so with an early start 5% is very doable. You will have to evaluate your issues and the number of infrequent voters to determine if 15% is a feasible number for the other category. Note that with infrequent voters you assume a greater burden on the get out the vote effort. In fact this will be the most critical part of the campaign plan, aside from achieving ballot access.

Conclusion

This is the background material on the dynamics facing an independent candidate and their campaign. In today's elections the general election candidates are chosen in the major party primaries where the turnout is very low. This gives a very small percentage of people and candidates with big budgets a "lock" on the majority of elective offices and is a major factor in the deterioration of today's politics.

As an independent candidate you will need to make some modification in these dynamics by bring more citizens back into the elective process. This is both restoring good government and providing that the ultimate winners are selected by a wider base than in the current norm.

Yes it is hard work, but success can be achieved. As noted above, each group of citizens that you need to apply the most effort to can be identified and targeted. While this is still in general terms by now you should begin to see how this can be applied to your district, using the strengths you have as a candidate and the weaknesses your expected opponents will have. This is the essence of a campaign plan. To identify the obstacles and opportunities and plan how to overcome the obstacles and take the maximum advantage of the opportunities. In other words how to stay focused so that all of your effort and resources contributes toward improved results on election day.

Next

So far we have used general statistics, while very factual, are not specific to your district. In the next article in this series, we will use an excel spreadsheet (downloadable) to give you a tool to begin looking at how these statistics apply to your district. From that a campaign plan can be started.

An Action for the concerned citizen

Now for an action item for citizens who would like to see their choices improved in future elections. If people reading this article are honest with themselves this would include all but the most partisan citizens. Having Real Choices is very American and should be a goal of all citizens who are not beholden to special interests. Citizens that care about good government need to be more proactive, not just waiting until the day before an election to decide and then complaining that the limited choice is less than desirable. If you are such a citizen and know someone who would be a good candidate, forward these articles to them. If you are such a citizen and know other citizens that are of a like mind, consider forwarding this article to them.

There are enough good citizens in our country to restore good government, but many just feel like they do not have a chance. Encourage them, unless you are totally satisfied with today's government. Your encouragement may be all the additional support that your potential candidate was waiting for. 

One thing you can take to the bank, doing nothing - does not change much!

An Action for potential candidates

Get what voter statistics you can for your district for the last few elections for the office(s) you are considering.  Also make a list of the top ten issues for your district.

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If you have some interest in A Real Choice for the people of Georgia, the following articles may be of interest:

Part 1 Many ask, "Why a Southern Party �?"

Part 2 The Southern Party: Strengths and Weaknesses

Part 3 The Southern Party: A Plan for 2006 Election Cycle

Part 4 The Southern Party: We need your help

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