Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Why the Republicans Lost

Consider the following: In 2005, Mary Aufseeser garnered 30% more votes than her opponent. Two years later, running as the incumbent mayor, she won by 1 vote. In 2007, 30% fewer people voted in Matawan and Aberdeen than in 2005. The Democrats in Aberdeen won four council seats with only 48% of the votes. The Democrats swept nearly every seat in Matawan and Aberdeen because the Republicans failed to run an effective campaign.

Here’s where the Republicans went wrong:

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes
The Republicans did not offer a single proposal for lowering taxes except through the controversial Transit Village Project. The party of limited government couldn’t think of a way to cut expenses.

Missing Voters
The Matawan Republicans only needed to bring a dozen more voters to the polls to win the mayoral election. Both Republican parties should have gone through the 2005 election rolls and contacted each Republican voter to get assurances that he would vote again and see if anyone needed assistance getting to the polling stations. (Editor's Note: The candidates assure me they made extensive efforts to bring people to the polls but the locals were uninterested. Editor's Second Note: Aufseeser's lead has dropped to 1 vote. Buccellato has begun the process for a recount.)

The Democrats did not have a strong record to run upon. The Republicans should have forced them into a public debate.

Short Campaign
A political party never stops campaigning. Both Republican parties should be building relationships with local reporters and constantly working themselves into the newspapers.

Political Naiveté
The Aberdeen Republicans made two giant mistakes in regards to the Green Party. First, they should have tried convincing the Greens to run on a unified ticket. Putting Alice Osipowitz on the Republican ticket would have been a huge boost. Not only would they have captured Green votes, they’d have captured women votes as well. In Aberdeen, each candidate received votes in direct proportion to his placement on the ballot. The first name on each ballot got the most votes with each succeeding name getting less. The only two people to buck the trend were Democrat Janice Gallo and Green candidate, Alice Osipowitz.

The other mistake was befriending the Green Party to the point of sending mailers that encouraged people to vote Green. The Republicans should have said loudly and repeatedly that splitting the vote would return the Democrats to power.

Lack of Ideas
The Republicans were running on disaffection with the current administrations. That doesn’t work. People vote because they like you or hate the other guy. They’re not going to vote if they don’t recognize a significant difference between the parties. The Republicans never gave the citizenry a good enough reason to vote.

If the Republicans want to win the next election, they’ll need to earn the votes through vision and competence.
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