By microwave, I mean r&tf&&k, in the sense of r&tf&&king, as those terms, although not redacted, as here, are used in Darth Jeff's post last week, How to pick your opponent: A guide to gaming Republican primaries. As used here, microwaving will refer to the phenomenon that sometimes happens during elections, wherein a candidate for one party finds a way to influence, beneficially to said candidate, a primary election for the opposing party that will result in the nomination the preferred general election opponent.Michelle Nunn, the Democrat running for outgoing Republican U.S. Senator, Saxby Cambliss's, seat in Georgia, is in a position to microwave the GOP Primary Runoff In July. Come out into the tall grass for a discussion of how and why she or someone helping Ms. Nunn should microwave the GOP primary runoff and how Democrats might benefit from doing so.
Thoujgh I genenerally dislike bowdlerization, I am going to substitute the word, microwave, for the term redacted above because the redacted term, when used in its unredacted form, deeply and sincerely offends a significant number of our brother and sister Kossacks. I saw that in the comments to Darth Jeff's post and elsewhere. Hopefully, substituting a totally different word for some redacted form of the offensive term will reduce the incidence of people inadvertently offending themselves by mentally sounding out the redacted form. Microwave is as useful for this purpose as any other transitive verb.
In November, Georgia Democrat, Michelle Nunn, will face either businessman David Perdue, who finished first in the initial round of GOP primary voting, or she will face Congressman Jack Kingston who placed second. It seems a no-brainer that Ms. Nunn would prefer to face long time Congressman Kingston instead of political newcomer, Mr. Perdue. Microwaving gives the Nunn campaign and its supporters a chance to hand pick her general election opponent.
I hope that the Nunn campaign is in touch with the political operatives who work for Missouri's Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill. It is Senator McCaskill's 2010 campaign against Todd Akin that Darth Jeff's post used to illustrate the technique of microwaving.
Use the right (wing) language: This is the most important part of the strategy. The trick to successful microwaving is to get Republican primary voters to support your preferred candidate while making them think it was their idea. The key is to use language that makes it look like you're attacking Joe Unelectable while in fact you're propping him up. For example, Claire McCaskill called Todd Akin "Missouri’s true conservative" and "a crusader against bigger government." To Republican primary voters, all this made Akin seem more appealing. The St. Louis Post Dispatch summed it up well at the time:Mr. Kingston, a reliable supporter of the Republican agenda in the House, has an inescapable record in the Congress, where he has sat since 1993, which makes his runoff election susceptible to exactly the kind of microwaving used by the McCaskill campaign in 2010. With the right messaging, the Nunn campaign can simultaneously make Congressman Kingston attractive to GOP base voters and the Tea Party types, while, at the same time, repulsing most general election voters with the incumbent Republican's extremism. Ms. Nunn can simultaneously improve Congressman Kingston's chances of nomination while undermining his ultimate electability. The same strategy is unworkable regarding businessman David Perdue, who is unplagued by any kind of voting record and would be much more difficult to define and distinguish in the final contest.
To conservatives, McCaskill's "criticisms" in the Akin commercial sound more like compliments: that he opposes big government and wants to cut the federal departments of energy and education; and that he has been hotly critical of Obama.
At one point, the ad makes an allegation that sounds as if it could be on an Akin bumper sticker: "Todd's pro-family agenda would outlaw many forms of contraception."
Darth Jeff also noted that microwaving must be something that our candidate can afford. The candidate at whom the microwaving is directed must actually be electable, too, given the realities of the GOP field.
The circumstances of Michelle Nunn's Georgia Senate campaign appear to meet these requirements. As of April 30, the Nunn campaign had cash on hand of $3,681,570 after raising $6,297,025 but spending only $2,895,368 to get her campaign set up from scratch and win her own primary in a huge landslide against a lightweight field. Her prowess as a fundraiser has not gone unnoticed. The Nunn campaign can certainly afford to spend money to define its opponent. If that is going to be Congressman Kingston, they might as well start now. When microwaving is in order, Darth Jeff advised early action.
It looks to me like Jack Kingston could win the GOP primary run off, even though he ran second to David Perdue in the first round. Although Congressman Kingston has avoided explicit Tea Party affiliations, there is very little for the Tea Party to dislike about him and he could be easily made to appear as their best choice in July. Two explicit Tea Baggers ran behind Congressman Kingston in the first round of the primary, garnering nearly twenty percent of the vote. Effective microwaving by the Nunn campaign could help deliver those votes to Jack Kingston. Given the natural quirkiness of off-off-off elections like primary runoffs, Kingston is definitely viable in July.
Congressman Kingston's record makes it a cinch to define him as Georgia's "true conservative" and "a crusader against bigger government." The Congressman opposes big government and wants to cut federal departments like energy and education; and he has been hotly critical of Obama. His pro-family agenda would outlaw many forms of contraception. Congressman Kingston's is as microwaveable as a corn dog. If the True Believers in Georgia's GOP decide that Jack Kingston is their salvation, he could enter the general election perceived by more mainstream voters as a dangerous extremist, frightening and dark of vision. Congressman Kingston, much more than David Perdue, gives everybody in the Democratic coalition someone to vote against. He is the dream opponent for Michelle Nunn in November and her campaign and its friends should start microwaving Mr. Kingston immediately.
The New York Times says that Michelle Nunn has only a narrow path to victory in November, if any. I say that with the right opponent, the road to Michelle Nunn's election, and holding on to the Democratic Senate majority, could become a six lane freeway.