BY SAM FIELDS
Once again the Democrats ran the wrong kind of race. Whether you are talking about Hillary Clinton in 2016 or Charlie Crist in 2014, Democrats erroneously and overwhelmingly put their money into persuasion rather than Get Out the Vote.
What I propose is injecting a little good old American capitalism in the Democratic GOTV. Let’s start paying bonuses to those in select precincts who do the best job getting Ds to the polls.
Consider the following facts:
In 2014 when Charlie Crist lost by 66,127 votes, 283,161 (52%) Broward Democrats did not bother to vote.
In 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost Florida by 119,770 votes, 155,615 (26%) Broward Democrats did not bother to vote.
Extrapolated statewide, there was something close to a million Democrats who did not vote in 2016 and two million who did not vote in 2014!
Statewide, where we have 6000 precincts, squeezing out another 66,127 Democrats in 2014 meant only another 10 votes per precinct!
In 2016 that number was only 19 votes per precinct!
Yet these no-show Democratic voters were largely ignored. Crist and Clinton spent upwards of 80% of their bottomless bank accounts with mail and TV ads to persuade the 10% of voters who claimed to be “undecided” right up to Election Day.
If they did nothing, Democrats would have probably gotten 33% of the “undecided”. Nevertheless, between 2014 and 2016 Democrats spent north of $200 million on the so-called “undecided”.
It makes no sense to spend all that money on a couple of hundred thousand “maybe” votes when you are leaving one or two million “yes” votes on the table.
Consider Broward precincts R 23, 24, 25 and thirty other precincts I looked at. They voted 95% for Clinton but only averaged a 60% turnout. In some other Broward precincts, Democratic turnout was over 75%.
Add in Dade and Palm Beach and we are talking about a couple of hundred strong Democratic precincts with lousy turnouts.
Had Broward Democrats turned out 75% in 2014, we would have put Charlie Crist into the Governor’s mansion. Throw in Florida’s other 1000 strong Democratic precincts and in 2016 Hillary sweeps the state.
Pay Precinct Workers
I believe Florida Democrats need a precinct-by-precinct GOTV run on a for profit basis. Now before you think I am about the break the law let me explain the relevant law.
Back in the day politicians regularly and legally plied voters with booze and other things—think George Washington running for the Virginia House of Burgesses. It’s now against the law to pay a person to vote or vote a particular way.
It’s NOT against the law to pay people to increase the voter turnout, whether in a precinct or an entire state. It is not against the law to pay them a success bonus.
That’s the crux of my plan and here is how it would work.
- Identify Florida 1000 precincts that had high Democratic performance, but a turnout rate at least 10% below the average.
- In each precinct establish a base number using the previous turnout. For the 2018 gubernatorial race that would be the 2014 election. For the 2020 race that would be the 2016 race.
- Identify a responsible person who resides in the precinct who will be paid $10 for every Democratic vote cast above their precinct’s base number.
- Administer a training class to explain to them what they can and cannot legally do. You would teach strategies based on maximizing Absentee and Early Voting.
- To assist them they will be given an iPad loaded with up-to-date Democratic precinct data—name, address, voter history, etc. When voting begins they will be sent a daily updating crossing off those who have voted.
- A prize/slash bonus will be paid to the top producers. Statewide I would suggest $25,000, $15,000 and $5000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
Assume we start off targeting 1,000 low performance Democratic precincts and they average 200 voters above the baseline. It will cost about $2.5 million to produce an additional 200,000 Democratic voters. That’s more than enough to elect Crist in 2014 and carry Florida for Hillary in 2016.
If that seems like a lot of money it’s not. Taken together, this October and November, Florida’s Democratic candidates were spending that much every day on television ads! Put another way, it is less than 2% of what Democrats spent in the 2016 election cycle.
Will some be offended by my idea? Sure.
On the Democratic side my idea will disturb companies, groups and people that are foolishly getting paid to repeat their failed GOTV.
On the Republican side, those upset will be the same people that had no problem voting for a guy who is a racist sociopath, tax cheat and brags about his sexual escapades.
For different reasons, both should be ignored.