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The whole business with the robocalls, and the Phony Steele sample ballots and all the other dirty tricks that Republicans have pulled over the past six years really got me thinking.

The Republicans treat elections like war. The Democrats treat them like a very intense sporting event.

In other words, while the Democrats will fight like hell to win an election while playing by the rules, the Republicans treat it like war and IGNORE the rules.

Especially since, with rare exceptions, the penalities for fucking with an election are never particularly severe, or are rarely enforced.

At most, somebody will get fined. Or they'll go to a country club prison for a year.

But, more often, they get away with it, and nothing ever happens. Meanwhile, they "win" the election, and Democrats get screwed yet again.

So how do we remedy this problem? By treating elections like a war. Not in the sense that Republicans do, where anything literally goes.

But by creating an intelligence apparatus within the DNC or party infrastructure and actually wargaming elections to anticipate the next GOP attacks.

The Democratic party should invest time and resources in recruiting and training a network of intelligence and counterintelligence party operatives to track and infiltrate GOP operations.

They should also devise procedures to pevent counter-infiltration of Democratic infrastructure, and to develop ways to legally throw wrenches into the GOP dirty tricks machine.

I'm talking about Psy Ops (Psychological operations), red herrings, disinformation, etc.

In fact, the Democrats should recruit some loyal Democratic members or retirees from the psy ops units of our intelligence agencies or the military to coordinate and train these folks.

To give one example of how we could mess with the Republicans: We could make it known, subtly, that we are intent on infiltrating GOP volunteer lists or their GOTV operations.

We can either do this secretly, and really infiltrate them. Or, we can PRETEND we are infiltrating them and sow all kinds of discord in their operations and force them to spend time and money trying to weed the phantom operatives out. Or, we can do a combination of both. We can hint we are infiltrating their operations in some states, while secretly doing it in others.

The key is, keeping them off balanace and paranoid.

Another suggestion I have is for the DNC or the State parties to actually war game an election. Set up a mock election with candidates, party committees, volunteers, etc. On BOTH sides.

And charge the folks playing the GOP candidate, or the party, to use every trick they can think of to steal the election.

Because its a self-containd, voluntary exercise, it will help reveal flaws in our strategy, flaws in our GOTV operations, and help us spot the creative ways the GOP might attack us next time.

It will also, of course, allow us to develop countermeasures or have procedures in place to deal with these issues when they arise in a real election.

I know this may sound crazy to some of you, but I really think the Democrats need to fundamentally change they way they look at elections.

Finally, I wanted to write and publish these ideas BEFORE the results of this election are known. I think the Democrats should adopt these and other creative strategies whether we sweep into power tonight or not.

What do all of you think? And what ideas do you have?

UPDATE You think I'm kidding about the GOP? Think again. And here is another example.

As someone said on the comments below, the Democrats need to stop carrying a knife to a gunfight.

JEEBUS! It's never ending! Now, Firedog Lake reports that Lauara Ingraham asked her listeners to flood trhe Democratic voter protection hotline with crank calls to screw up their ability to respond.

Originally posted to Hesiod on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:06 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So we should... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronBa, kraant, Autarkh

    send fewer voters to the polls than are needed to complete the job?

    We'll need better leadership than that.

    -7.63, -7.59 "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, things aren't going to get better -- they're not!" --- Dr. Seuss, "The Lorax"

    by droogie6655321 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:05:26 AM PST

  •  a good idea; labor-intensive tho... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronBa, kraant

    the Internet and netroots
    as a
    Distributed Collaborative Community
    may make possible
    what you envision

    Good idea
    in any event.

    Venceremos! (We shall overcome!)

    by Redfire on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:08:20 AM PST

  •  Nah...If the GOP were as efficient at war (11+ / 0-) they are at stealing elections. We'd be out of Iraq and have captured Osama bin Laden by now.

    There are many ways that conduct to seeming honour, and some of them very dirty ones. John Webster The Duchess of Malfi Act V Scene II

    by GP on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:08:32 AM PST

    •  So True (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GP, mayan, Dallasdoc, 3goldens, kraant

      Did you know that one of Karl Rove's favorite books is The Art of Political War and Other Essays by David Horowitz?

      They don't care who they hurt, as long as they win.

      •  I hope our bookshelves have (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronBa, esquimaux, kraant

        "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky on them.

        Not just for our benefit, but because the right has studied and learnt his methods and they are being used directly against us.

        Here's a typical summary of Alinsky's points from a moderate left view:

        Understanding Grassroots Tactics

        But, it appears the freeper wing has taken to heart and applies ALL of Alinsky's tactics:

        Rules for Radicals [Free Republic]

        To put this in analytical terms, we need to understand the level of commitment and array of weapons and tactics the opponent is using, assess the strategy being used, and is willing to use, and assess to what degree they are willing to esculate.  Do we have this information and supporting facts?  Are we willing to work to obtain this?  Do we have strategists able to use if they get it?  Do we have tacticians willing to implement a suitable response?  Do we have the legal apparatus primed and ready to act on what we find that is illegal?  They do.

        To put this in alarmist blog terms, if it is a war or duel, and we're contemplating the horrors of bringing a 6 shooter, it might be prudent to notice they are carrying an automatic weapon, worked to grab the high ground (mass media and courts) and are trying to control all known tunnels (and are working to clog up the internet tubes).

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:53:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nah, if they treated elections like war ... (8+ / 0-)

      ... they wouldn't participate, they'd tell everyone else how to do it, criticize anyone else for any problems, and take the credit for anything that went right.  Oh, and they'd skim off lots of money for themselves and their corporate backers.

      "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." - Nelson Mandela

      by Bearpaw on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:16:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That assumes... (7+ / 0-)
      they were trying to win the war in Iraq. They weren't. They didn't care at all what happened to Iraq, to Afghanistan, to OBL, or to the US Army. It's not that they didn't bother to have a plan. They didn't even have a definition of "winning".

      What the real powers in the GOP were trying for was a dense smokescreen behind which they could loot the US Treasury.

      Looked at in the light of their actual goal, they have been very efficient.

      Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

      by Canadian Reader on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:22:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think the GOP is really all that smart (0+ / 0-)

      We are building them up bigger than what they are. The red neckers are too easy, the upper classers are too obvious.

      I propose to Republicans that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. Adlai Stevenson

      by glbTVET on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:49:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They treat elections like war? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, kraant

    So in other words they send a bunch of kids in to do their bidding and they fail because their bidding is impossible?

    Flying Squid Studios - Cartoons to Rot Your Brain!

    by Arken on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:12:47 AM PST

  •  disinformation = lying (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snout, kraant

    We need to stand for the truth, or the whole thing is pointless.

  •  War Is Important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But first, Republicans have to stop molesting children.

  •  toss out the DLC (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, kraant, TDDVandy

    One of the first things we need is to get all DLC influence out of the party. They do not want campaigning Democrats to disagree with Republicans or refute their lies. And they do not want money spent on Democrats running in "Red states" insisting that the party be confined to an "eighteen state stratagy".

    Republicans: "They are more interested in protecting themselves than minors." Joe Scarborough.

    by William Domingo on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:16:24 AM PST

  •  Good intel helps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karmafish, kraant

    If you don't think Rove and the Repubs have been using the NSA to assist with their POLITICAL campaigns, you aren't thinking like they do yet.

    In 2002, Rove tested out the famous "micro-targeted" GOTV efforts, using vast databases of all kinds of information to predict behavior (financial records, buying histories, etc).  Where do you think they got this data?  If one of the NSA programs was Poindexter's TIA (Total Information Architecture), which we know was shifted to the NSA after being defunded by Congress, that vast database (merged with call data and email analysis) would be a PERFECT source of info.  Why have the Republican party pay for it when it can be paid for by the taxpayers.

    And since spying on terrorists was easy under FISA, the wiretaps that Bush wanted to make without FISA warrants were for some other purpose.  If they could do it, do you think any moral or legal concerns would have prevented Bush/Cheney from spying on the phone and email conversations of John Kerry and his advisors?

  •  We're not like that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kraant, Autarkh, Skidude

    And in point of fact, the Republicans aren't like that.  They may well use dirty tricks, but they're NOT behaving like war.

    If they were, we'd see jets not out for national guard training exercises, but dropping bombs on the polls:
    Fighter jet

    Stealing the vote isn't a good way to achieve power -- you end up being highly resented by those whose votes you have stolen, and wind up with an unstable majority.  Lets do this cleanly, and make a statement about who we are.

    •  Who said anything about stealng the vote? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm talking about defensive operations.

    •  Beg pardon? It's A way. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, kraant

      Stealing votes not a good way to achieve power?  Looks like a great way to achieve power to me, particularly for a cabal with an unpopular, prorich, christianist neocon agenda.  What else COULD they do?  And it worked in 2000 and since just fine.  You might as well say lying, manipulating news, covering up and racism aren't good ways to achieve power, too.  But they are.

      Whereas the "highly resented" doesn't count worth shit in between elections, as the most unpopular president and unpopular congress in modern times enact their entire agenda in the most stable and disciplined majority since post Civil War.

      All they have to do is get past tomorrow and all the resentment short of armed revolution and stringing them up on lightpoles, which Americans are loathe to consider, won't matter.  

      Just so you know.

      It's the proto-fascism

      by Inland on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:31:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I second that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We should treat elections with deadly seriousness and put forth all the effort and determination we can muster, particularly in this country, for the results have real consequences: lives are at stake.

      However, we must never engage in the ruthless antidemocratic tactics routinely practiced by Republicans. We, unlike them, see democracy as an end in itself rather than a convenient means for attaining and wielding power.  Our actions must strengthen democratic processes, values and institutions – particularly when there is a lot at stake – because if we are only willing to protect these things when it’s expedient, we will lose them all.

      "For every complex problem there exists a solution that is simple, straightforward, and utterly wrong." --Anonymous

      by Autarkh on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 10:15:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stitchmd, kraant

    The line has to be drawn at lying, cheating, and stealing, but aside from that, the Dems need to quit bringing a knife to a gunfight!

    I would submit that the reason the Dems don't do this already is because the "play it safe" Establishment Dems are running the show.  How do we convince them to start waging war against the GOP?  Simple.  Wage it against them first and dislodge them!  Why not hone our tactics and "get tough" strategies on the first enemy we have to conquer - the DLC?!  This fight has already started - first with Howard Dean's ascension to DNC Chair, and now with Lieberman's loss in the Dem Primary.  We can't let up.  If we really believe that our "take no prisoners" tactics will beat the Cons, then let's prove it by continuing to knock out Vichy Dems!

    Liberals have to start toughening up.  Their weapon of choice - reasoned argument - is only partially effective when the other side owns the message delivery apparatus (media).

    It also seems obvious that the way to infiltrate and sow confusion is to do so from OUTSIDE the Democratic Party and candidates' campaigns, thus leaving plausible deniability for the Establishment.

    Let's roll!

    •  Tools short of lying, cheating and stealing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      big one is micr-targetting. Getting mailing lists, product registrations, etc.

      Also, targetted voter drives. This really struck me when we were out canvassing the other day and went past a lot of houses not on the list that I suspect were not Republicans but non-registered voters.

      And using the radio more effectively, targetted radio ads.

      •  CHURCHES! They're in the churches (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stitchmd, kraant

        Look, you cannot miss this single most important thing.  They have gotten inside the Churches and we let them run their campaigns through the mega churches and denominations and via the IRD without adequate challenge.  We have to retake this ground and get more than parity, we have to 'own' the issue of religious freedom and convince Americans of the value of having a 'secular bubble' of protection that safeguards all freedoms to practice religion but to not have the power to impose it on others.

        Millions of church goes have become convinced by the GOP that Democratic Party is the vangard party of Satan.  We've let this go unanswered too long, assigning them 'kook' status and not to be taken seriously.  

        What are we doing to hook back into and support the evangelicals like Jim Wallis?  Street Prophets was a good start.  But we have to demonstrate several things:

        1. Freedoms that protect all religion through protecting secular space.  Democratic control does not mean loss of freedom for churches, in fact it means respect for all religions and no single religion being allowed to control politics and courts.  That can be a critically important thing if another religion rapidly rises in prominence...and I'm sure examples of this can be found, such as Mormanism, Moon's Unification Church, Pentecostals, and perhaps even Islam.  No single religious group can be permitted to destroy the 'secular bubble' that protects us all, even if they believe they are God's Chosen.
        1. Family values INCLUDES economic and worker security as the foundation of making the everything else work for individuals.  You can't fund your church if your health insurance is gone, pension stolen, and wages decline.
        1. Pro-Choice rights for women isn't where the battle should be fought.  What needs to be done is organizing charitable impulse to insure there's a waiting adoptive couple willing to take all babies brought to term and to support these babies through adulthood.  We need to be Pro-Reponsibility and not anti-individual rights.  If no one is willing to take on the 19 year custodial responsibility for each fetus, then no law should be enacted to prevent women from all medical choices they have a right to make in privacy and security.  Religion can offer to walk along side and carry the burden the extra mile, it cannot act to prevent others from giving it up and pushing them off the freeway of life.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 10:05:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  So tired of the tough talk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We can't beat the Republicans at their own game.  It is impossible.  It isn't enough to bring a gun to a have to be willing to shoot.  And you have to be cold blooded enough not to care who you hit.

      The Republicans don't care if our kids die in their war, our senior citizens die from lack of care, our babies die from starvation, or our women die in back alleys.  They don't care who they hurt.  Unless we are willing to sacrifice the poor, the elderly and the meek - they have hostages we don't.

      We'll never beat them by being bigger badasses than them.  It's a lie.  We'll beat them by inspiring more people.          

  •  Offer the voters a clear choice.,,, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, kraant

    have a consistent vision, don't resort to gop "ratfucking"techniques but prosecute to the full extent of the law when they do.

    "Never give up, never surrender." CMDR Peter Quincy Taggart

    by irate on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:23:44 AM PST

  •  The goal is a government we can be proud of. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The ends and means go together.  Slimy tactics won't make us proud.

  •  Unfortunately the GOP not so good with real wars (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As a former (at least occasional) Republican voter, it would be better if the GOP could manage actual shooting wars as well as they do elections.  The heavy costs to this country of our defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq will be tangible (thousands of people dead and maimed for life, something over a trillion dollars down the drain) and intangible (worldwide distrust and hatred of America for many years).

    "Everything's shiny, Captain. Not to fret."

    by rmwarnick on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 09:34:38 AM PST

  •  Pajamafremen... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Everyone should be both a Soldier and a General...

    All training each other...

    Here's a good start...

    The Art of War By Sun Tzu

  •  OT: TUs please help check election diary tags (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Please pardon this interruption.  Comment directed towards the community, not necessarily the diary author.

    I've been phone banking when not doing paying work the last week and have been driving voters to the polls this morning and going back in an hour to drive more. I am way behind checking new diary tags...  I hope you will pardon this plea for help.  
    We need more TUs to help check election diary tags today.

    Remember that when names are used both the first and last names should be included and in cases like the George Bushes - the middle initials are essential.  

    Try to make sure the correct abbreviations for the races being discussed are included.  
    Examples: VA-Sen; OH-10; TX-Gov.

    Please help us make sure that the "2006 elections" (with an “s”)  tag is on all election diaries.

    Also note the new "election irregularities 2006" tag for use where appropriate.

    “Robocalls” is now a tag

    Other common election tags:
    "election integrity"
    "election fraud"
    "electronic voting"
    “phone banking”

    "voters" is NOT a correct tag
    “midterm” or Mid-term” or “Midterm elections” are NOT correct – change to “2006 elections”

    Don’t use “elections” or “2006” by themselves.

    Get the latest tag lists to find the most frequently used tags here:  or check out the Tag Editors’ Workspace

    Other things to watch for:
    Check that people have used commas instead of semicolons to separate tags.

    Check that they have not accidentally added an extra blank space at the beginning of a tag.

    Cutsey or “one off tags” – tagging is an indexing system and tags should represent words or ideas that others will commonly use to describe the same person or situation.  If a tag is used only one time, it should probably be deleted.  We average about 200 "new" tags every day and most have to be deleted, but they require our opening each diary to read them to know.  That is a lot of wasted time because people are using tags to be creative when that is NOT the purpose of tags.

    DailyKos Tag Cleanup Project
    Tag Editors’ Workspace

  •  Politics is war by other means... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Most people here recognize the comment title as a paraphrasing of Clausewitz' famous dictum that 'War is diplomacy by other means', but I think it is fitting. And there are many, many things Dems could do to preempt the Rethug's strategy of smear, slime, and suppress.

    First, Dems could set up an intelligence shop that tracks all individuals and companies that are used by the GOP to do their dirty work - the Swiftboaters, the robocallers , the direct mailers, and the cutouts. Dems could then preempt their actions through civil and criminal legal action, exposure in the press, and investigations by congressional committees and other political venues.

    Second, Dems could form a legal 'hit squad' that will challenge any GOP activities that are illegal or even appear to be illegal. The objective here is to squash enough of the small parasite business entities that circle the GOP that people will think twice about stepping in to make a few bucks doing GOP dirtywork. Sue the hell out of anyone who even looks askance at a Democratic candidate.

    Third, Dems could create a centralized 'message machine' of sympathetic media types to help create and deliver an overriding Dem theme like 'We fight for working people'. Dems need to create a 'brand' that the electorate recognizes. This is why Dems are perceived as not standing for anything.

    There are many, many other things that can be done. Howard Dean is making a good start, but he needs more time and more money. I hope people will consider signing up for a DNC 'subscription', where frequent small contributions throughout the years can create a stable funding base. This would free Dems from reliance on corporate and 'big donor' generosity to fund their operations.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a Democrat, I'm a New Democrat (NDPer) from Canada here to infect the political discourse with sensible ideas.

    -6.38/-3.79::'A man is incapable of comprehending any argument that interferes with his revenues.' Descartes

    by skrymir on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 10:08:28 AM PST

  •  no no no no (0+ / 0-)

    The worst part of living through the last 30 years of politics has been the absolute debasement and twisting of language to suit ephemeral political moments.  The War on terror, christmas, cancer, poverty blah blah blah ...

    One of my personal dreams is that the coming wave will result in a clean sweep of the ever increasing framing, conflation and intellectual dishonesty that has marked the national discussion since the ascension of Ronald Reagan.  It's not world peace, but that's my dream.

    New rule: unless the activity you're describing involves two nations causing the violent death of each other's citizens then it ain't war.  And if it doesn't involve the violent death or dismemberment of anyone then you're not even in the ballpark - it's linguistic malpractice.  It's Marilyn Musgrave calling gay marriage the most important issue facing the nation.  

    I agree with the sentiment - campaign to win, legislate as if you believe you're right, and deliberate on issues of national import as if arriving at the best solution is your goal.  And if you can't bring passion to the political program you're advocating, DC Dems, stop putting yourself out there as a leader.  But don't ever conflate politics with war.  It's apples and atom bombs.  It's chickenhawk talk.

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