What do you do when your party is responsible for the ills of the country, and you're facing a voter backlash unlike anything your party has seen in decades? How do you even hope to retain the White House?
Simple. You pull out Rove's old 50% +1 strategy and try to shave the electorate into a more manageable and manipulable number.
*More below the fold and cross-posted, as always, at The Thorn Papers. Y'all come by now.*
- Tar and slander your opponent at every opportunity; be merciless. You'll turn off a good chunk of the electorate, but hopefully (and historically), they'll express this disgust by withdrawing from the process. Relentless negative campaigning works very well as a means to depress turnout.
- Ensure it will not be an election on the issues, but on personalities. Say as much.
- Energize the most radical and activist components of your base. You know you can count on them to show up, and to act as unofficial foot soldiers on the street. Having secured that percentage of the electorate, and dissuaded enough to turn their heads in disgust from the whole thing (aided and abetted by the new journalistic definition of "objectivity" in which lies and truth, fiction and reality are given equal standing and left for the voter to decide between), the battleground shrinks to an almost manageable size.
- Hijack the news cycle at every opportunity to divert the conversation and media narrative away from issues of substance and toward mindless hysterical diversions. Every day you escape having to confront the reality you're running against, the better it is for you.
- To ensure a razor thin percentage of the electorate will decide the election (your only hope, really, and the strategic goal informing all of the above), you begin active voter suppression efforts.
MADISON, Wis. - A lawsuit demanding Wisconsin election officials verify voters' identity before the November election could lead to frustration at the polls and exhausted clerks in a hotly contested state in the presidential race.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's lawsuit, filed Wednesday, demands that the state Government Accountability Board order election clerks to confirm the identities of potentially tens of thousands of voters — and possibly many more — who have registered since Jan. 1, 2006.
The work would have to be done by Election Day, Nov. 4. Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi has scheduled a Sept. 19 hearing in the case.
A leader of local election clerks on Thursday predicted huge problems if the judge sides with Van Hollen.
"This is going to be a nightmare," said Nancy Zastrow, city clerk in Milton and president of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association. "It's going to make voters frustrated. Poll workers are getting frustrated." [...]
...Van Hollen, a Republican and co-chair of GOP presidential hopeful John McCain's Wisconsin campaign, argues in his lawsuit the board should do the checks retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006, since that's when the federal mandate took effect. He wants the board to determine who is ineligible and remove them from the registration rolls.
It's unclear just how many registrants that might entail.
According to Government Accountability Board estimates, about 1 million people have registered to vote since Jan. 1, 2006. Election clerks say they would have to check each one, although Justice Department spokesman Kevin St. John has said they would have to check only people who registered by mail, which amounts to about 240,000 between Jan. 1, 2006, and this Aug. 6.
The problem is the software is still unreliable. It's been red-flagging hundreds of registrants, mostly because their names don't match how they're entered in other databases.