Thursday, July 20, 2017

No Lessons Learned

By Jeff Simpson

In the post mortem of the 2016 election, where the "most qualified candidate in history" lost to a carnival barker reality TV show "star",  the results have been analyzed into oblivion.   One of the main culprits that has been identified throughout the spectrum is the highly paid, out of touch, political consultant class.    

It was not just the Democrats side either, 16 other, incredibly well funded (Jeb Bush spent well over 100 million dollars and finished with 3 delegates), and each campaign was run by "experts" the "best of the best".   

The Donald however, not so much! 

And then there was Donald Trump, whose smash success in the Republican primaries was an emperor-has-no-clothes moment for political consulting if ever there was one. Trump spent the primaries boasting about his lack of a super pac or traditional fund-raising operation. He didn’t employ a pollster or chief strategist or speechwriter. His campaign infrastructure was nonexistent; he spent only about $19 million on television ads. His campaign manager was a former cop with no experience in a presidential race, and his press secretary was a 27-year-old fashion publicist. Yet Trump dominated a 17-candidate field that many pundits had considered the deepest bench of Republican talent in decades.
In a profile in Atlantic Magazine, about  political consultants, they point out that it is a 6 Billion dollar industry and all get together yearly in a political consultant convention, where they sit through such seminars as "How to stay out of jail".

Molly Ball of the Atlantic, then talked to Republican, short term, GOP Presidential hopeful(one of the 16 who lost) about his experience with consultants:

Ben carson had never run for office before deciding to seek the presidency last year, so naturally he sought a staff of professionals to guide him through the process. Carson raised more money than any other Republican candidate (not counting super pac funds) during the time he was in the race, only to finish fourth in Iowa and drop out a month later.When I asked Carson in March whether he had been well served by his campaign staff, the mild-mannered doctor didn’t mince words. “We had people who obviously didn’t have, necessarily, my best interest in mind,” he said.What, I asked, did they have in mind instead? “I think that it was a job,” he said. “They wanted a position. A lot of money was made, and a lot of advantage was taken.”
For those on the outside(which is most of us) this is a generic version of how the consultant class works:
Political consultants earn fees and commissions by turning the billions of dollars given to candidates, political parties and “super PACs” — like Mr. Bush’s Right to Rise — into the products and services of contemporary campaigns, especially TV (and Internet) ads.More money means more ads, and more ads means more money. However, media saturation makes it more difficult to grab our attention, requiring more ads, and more money and contributions, to reach the electorate.Consultants want their clients to win, but they also need their businesses to survive. Despite mounting evidence that the effects of TV on the electorate can be uncertain and often short-lived, television remains the single largest expenditure in most campaigns because candidates think they need it to win — and because it is the most reliable source of revenue and the most lucrative part of the consulting business. The economic incentives of the consulting industry are driving up the cost of campaigns.
The consultant class is like a horse, if you leave it with unlimited food, it will eat itself to death.   Unfortunately, no one has out any limits on this group and the gluttony they are showing is part of what turns everyone off about politics.  

As Tim Cullen said, when he decided to bow out of the Governors race, he did not want to spend all day on the phone raising money.  Is it beneficial to society to have our politicians spend their time, fundraising so that they can continue feeding the monstrosity or are there better things for them to be doing(but I digress)?  

Now that we have some history, let's bring this back around to Wisconsin.   The July campaign finance reports just came out and there is one that stood out to me - Representative Dana Wachs.  

Why Dana Wachs?  Because I have been getting emails daily from Mr. Wachs, begging asking for money because he is "the only one who can beat Scott Walker".  

The problem is, Mr. Wachs has not declared that he is running for Governor yet, so why send him money?

Well a quick look at his finance report and we see why - Mr. Wachs is feeding the Beast and feeding it well!

Wachs has spent the following just in the last finance period alone:

*  Rapid Returns -  $11,000 -  a "cutting-edge, direct mail firm", of course in 2017, direct mail is as cutting edge as a reel type lawn mower.

* VR Research  - $15,000 .  A firm from Oakland , CA specializing in opposition research, since who would know more about WI than a firm from Oakland. Forgetting the fact that Mr. Wachs has not even declared yet, do we want a candidate who needs to do oppo research on Scott Walker?   Mr. Wachs can just read CogDis and save himself $15/k .

*  Cooke Strategies -  $3000 - A Democratic fundraising consulting firm.  At least she is from Wisconsin, and if you have any questions, you can  - Contat Rebecca - apparently, they are not being paid to edit.  

* Wavecrest Consulting and Analytics -$8000.  This one is my favorite one, because this is Mike Tate's firm.  It is aptly named since Mike Tate is the former head of the WISDEMS, and helped oversee numerous Republican electoral waves in Wisconsin.  

Mr. Wachs has spent almost $40,000 on consultants and has yet to declare if he is running for Governor or going to stay in his safe seat in the Assembly.    

All signs are pointing to another Walker win .....which is why I am all in for Bob Harlow for Governor.  

We need to STOP doing politics the way we have been doing them, and get back to the whole point of public service and that is to serve the public!    To do that we need to stop pretending the Political establishment is most qualified to lead us.  

The Donald won due to anti-establishment fever and  now in Wisconsin we can go the anti-establishment route,except actually elect someone who is intelligent and in it for the right reasons!  

Our politics are broken and it is time to fix them!  

1 comment:

  1. Give it time Jeff. Let the voters decide. Trump won with lies and Russian help.