Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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Pondering Primaries

I’ve been reading the excellent work of texasgalt & pilgrim (nicely done folks!) and wanted to toss a few observations and an anecdote into our collective hopper today.

My observations (what Vassar might term laws): First, 10% of the people do 90% of the work, no matter the work we’re discussing. Second, money is the mother’s milk of campaigns. Lastly, primaries always suck.

I’ll not elaborate because this season’s Republican presidential primary campaigns bear these out; all of you can relate experiences proving each one.

My anecdote is about a local race for a judgeship in the Illinois Republican primary held last month in our tri-county district. Both candidates are good, conservative people, hard-working, family folks–what you might call ‘clean & sober’. A small handful of us, PCs mostly, worked for one candidate, doing the usual grunt work, making and posting signs, walking precincts, talking to people, distributing literature, you get the picture. Others did the same for the other candidate. I counted 20 times more yard signs for this race than for any of the presidential contenders going into election day.

My guy had a shoe-string budget, REALLY shoe-string. Most of his signs were garage made with spray paint. He had a few AM radio ads, but that was it. The other candidate (I believe based on family connections) was very well funded, collected major endorsements and contributions even from some wealthy local Democrats. She bombarded the local TV stations with constant, very professional, positive 30 second ads.

On paper, my guy’s qualifications were overwhelmingly better. Long story short, he lost 75-25. Mother’s milk, and primaries suck. On balance, she’ll make a good judge, I don’t believe as good as my candidate, but that’s how it goes. There was a nearly identical battle in the county coroner’s race, same result, money prevailed over a very good, experienced but poorly funded, appointed-due-to-a-retirement incumbent.

One of Rush’s little pearls of wisdom is that each of us tends to view history as starting with our birth, or our coming of age and awareness. The battles we currently face are part of a long-time, perhaps even an eternal war, predating each of us. The past several years show us what can happen quickly when the numbers are in your favor, but the fight rages on, and the political pendulum swings back again.

We now find ourselves where the mother’s milk and general suckiness of primaries have put us. So, no further mention of clothespins on the nose, railing against the establishment, flip-flopiness or previous legislative records for me. I’ll joyfully be part of the 10% who do the work of electing our ticket, up and down the line in November, simply because I have no other choice. My kids and their children, and their futures, prevent me from sitting on this couch, just because somebody was mean, or feelings are hurt. There’s much work to do, because no matter what is said or done, ABO. Simply put, now that we have our candidate, its time to kick ass and take names. Are you in with me?

3 COMMENTS

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent perspective, mriggio.
    I’ll joyfully be part of the 10% who do the work of electing our ticket, up and down the line in November, simply because I have no other choice. My kids and their children, and their futures, prevent me from sitting on this couch, just because somebody was mean, or feelings are hurt. There’s much work to do, because no matter what is said or done, ABO.

    Eyes on the prize now. It is all about November.

  2. I have respect for EMILY’s list for this one reason: Their acronym stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast.

    That is remarkably focused on one of the things that matters most. They are wrong about what they support, but at least they know how to support it.

    And we need to remember when we are supporting someone, early support with our money matters more than anything else we can do. It leverages support.

  3. Shoestring campaigns (especially against incumbents)are seldom successful and demand the most work from supporters. I’m not sure they are worth the effort unless the candidate has some serious name rec from whatever means.

    But…I can’t help but admire those who try.

  1. Excellent perspective, mriggio.
    I’ll joyfully be part of the 10% who do the work of electing our ticket, up and down the line in November, simply because I have no other choice. My kids and their children, and their futures, prevent me from sitting on this couch, just because somebody was mean, or feelings are hurt. There’s much work to do, because no matter what is said or done, ABO.

    Eyes on the prize now. It is all about November.

  2. I have respect for EMILY’s list for this one reason: Their acronym stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast.

    That is remarkably focused on one of the things that matters most. They are wrong about what they support, but at least they know how to support it.

    And we need to remember when we are supporting someone, early support with our money matters more than anything else we can do. It leverages support.

  3. Shoestring campaigns (especially against incumbents)are seldom successful and demand the most work from supporters. I’m not sure they are worth the effort unless the candidate has some serious name rec from whatever means.

    But…I can’t help but admire those who try.

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