Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I’ve decided

Even though I’m a true Democrat, I changed my voter registration to Republican so I could vote in Florida’s closed Presidential Preference Primary this month and influence the 2012 election process.

I’ve watched the Republican primary slate expand and contract, and now there are four men vying to run against President Obama on November 6th.  After a blow-out in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich now seems to have a good chance to beat Mitt Romney in Florida, but Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are hanging in, and as of now both seem likely to continue on to the next primaries in Maine and Nevada on February 4.

Florida’s primary is winner-take-all, and I don’t doubt that the winner will either be Romney or Gingrich.  So who should I vote for when the thought of either of them in the White House is enough to literally send me packing?

Here’s where I have to remember my strategy. 

My goal is not to choose the lesser of evils and give that candidate my vote.

My goal is to extend the length of time before the Republican nomination is assured and the candidates and their PACs completely turn their attention and their money to President Obama.

I want to keep them attacking each other as long as possible.  I want them to keep their “circular firing squad” in business.  I want them to keep tearing each other apart and doing our work for us as long as possible.  I want them paying for the commercials and attack ads that we would otherwise have to do.

So I’ve decided that casting my Florida Republican ballot for anyone-but-Mitt-or-Newt is the answer.

And since I believe that a Ron Paul third-party candidacy (which he has refused to rule out) would help Obama, I want to do what I can to encourage that decision.

That’s how I decided.  I’m going to cast my ballot for Ron Paul in the Florida Primary.

So what do you think about that?

Friday, January 13, 2012

I’m a registered Republican. Now what?

Many readers took my December 21st advice and changed their party affiliation so they could vote in the Republican presidential preference primary in Florida.

Now what? 

It’s certainly been an interesting couple of weeks since then, when a CNN/ORC poll of 436 Republicans showed Romney and Gingrich tied with 28% of the vote, Paul with 14%, Bachman with 8%, Perry with 7%, Santorum with 4% and Huntsman with 2%.

But as this chart of Gallup’s daily GOP ballot tracking from November 6 – January 11 shows, the Gingrich/Romney tie was just a blip on the radar screen. 

The trend – at least through the most recent survey (1/7 – 1/11) – supports what we’ve been hearing and reading: that Romney will be the Republican nominee.

So what was the point of changing our party affiliation?  Was our strategy flawed?

No!  There were never going to be enough of us to change the ultimate outcome.   (See "The new Republicans: Influx of affiliation changes for Florida GOP primary" by Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster in the 1/5 Naples Daily News.)

But what we still might do is help delay the inevitable.   We want Romney and his PACs to spend their time and money campaigning against other Republicans as long as possible.  Once Romney's nomination is assured, the full force of their war chest will turn against Obama. 

That said, it’s too soon to know which candidate has the best chance to keep going beyond Florida.  Some pundits say it could be all over with South Carolina’s primary next Saturday, in which case it won’t matter who we vote for.  But maybe it won’t be all over.  Then a lot of Republican money will be spent in Florida making the case against Republicans.    And then maybe we can help keep it going.

So even though you’ve already received your mail ballot (if requested) and even though early voting begins this Monday, sit tight. 

Let’s assess the South Carolina outcome and follow-on polls before we decide how to use our vote most strategically.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolve to engage in 2012

After watching friends and family-members lose their jobs, or fear that they would, or struggle to find one, and after watching the value of our savings and our homes drop like rocks and then slowly struggle to recover, it’s natural to want to blame someone (the President ... Congress ... the Governor) for not fixing things fast enough.  It’s tempting to say, “Just throw the bums out and put someone else – anyone else - in charge.” 
It’s also tempting to say, “It really doesn’t affect me on a day-to-day basis, and I can’t do anything about it anyway, so I’m just not going to think about it.”
But please don’t.  We are so fortunate to live a country where citizens have the opportunity – the privilege – to have a say in how we are governed.  Our elections are referendums not just on candidates, but – even more importantly, in my view - on philosophies of government, which differ greatly between Republicans and Democrats.   
Whichever political party controls the various governing bodies – the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our federal, state and local governments - will greatly shape our country in the years ahead.
I share the philosophy of government implicit in the New York Times’ editorial “The Damage of 2011:”
After they took power in January, the hard-line Republicans who dominate the House reached for a radical overhaul of American government, hoping to unravel the social safety net, cut taxes further for the wealthy and strip away regulation of business. ... [They] did significant damage in 2011 to many of the most important functions of government, and particularly to investments in education, training and transportation that the country will need for a sound economic recovery.
As President Obama said in his year-end radio address yesterday:
[We] are at a make-or-break moment for the middle class.  And in many ways, the actions we take in the months ahead will help determine what kind of country we want to be, and what kind of world we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in. 
I firmly agree – but not only about the “actions we take in the months ahead,” but about the decisions we make as voters about who will lead us in the four years after that.
That’s why I’ve decided to once again take on a grassroots leadership role for the Obama campaign here in Naples, FL.  
A defeat of President Obama in November would most likely mean Republican control of not only the White House, but the House and Senate as well.  Think it’s tough to protect my philosophy of government with a Democrat in the White House, 51% of the Senate and 44% of the House?  Just wait.
Economic policy.  Tax policy.  The environment.  Energy policy.  Women’s rights.  LBGT rights. Selection of Federal judges and the next Supreme Court nominees.  All in Republican hands.  To me, a very scary thought.
Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
I hope one of your New Year's resolutions will be to take a more active role in shaping our world.
Make sure your voter registration is up-to-date, including your signature.
Consider requesting a mail ballot to vote at your convenience.
Mark all 2012 election dates – federal, state, local - on your calendar now and commit to vote.
Get in touch with your local Democratic Party organization.  (Google your county/state and “Democratic Party”.  Sign up for email updates.)
Let the Obama reelection campaign know you’re in.
If you live in Naples and want to get involved, let me know.
Resolve to engage in 2012.