Thursday, September 05, 2013

Primaries, Tea parties, establishments, Obamacare, and the Icaucus poll

There's a lot of talk right now about primaries and potential primaries.

My view is that primaries (which should be closed) aren't a bad thing if done right. It demonstrates that candidate x is the choice of Republicans (or Democrats in their primary) to be their nominee in the November election. It gives people a choice. The establishment is not entitled to the nomination solely due to incumbency. The tea party does not necessary deserve the seat either because they are "the true conservative". That's why we have primaries. Candidates - on all sides - need to earn nomination. 

Former State Rep Leon Drolet is expecting to challenge incumbent State Senator Torry Rocca in the 10th District (SD-10)

Anti-tax activist Leon Drolet sounds ready to take on Republican Sen. Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights, who is part of the Lansing Gang of Eight. Rocca’s surprising pro-Medicaid vote came on the heels of a vote against right-to-work legislation last December.
As only Drolet can do, the former state representative tried to fireproof himself while throwing gasoline on the blaze.
He told the Lansing-based Gongwer news service that, if he challenges Rocca, Macomb County Republicans will have a choice to make: “Would they rather be represented by a principled gay conservative or by a big government RINO who, frankly, screws them more than anybody else. If the focus of that primary becomes who’s screwing who, one thing has become exceptionally clear: Tory Rocca screws Republican primary voters.”

That's a tough labor friendly district, although with Roseville out, a much easier district to hold. 

In other primary news that surprised few people, David Trott is challenging incumbent Kerry Bentivolio. Bentivolio From Crain's

David Trott, chairman and CEO of Farmington Hills-based Trott & Trott PC who also owns Attorneys Title Agency LLC and co-owns Dietz Trott Sports & Entertainment, announced today he is a candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan's 11th congressional district.
Trott, a Republican, will likely appear on the Aug. 5, 2014, Republican primary ballot as a candidate against Bentivolio, who lost a partial term election last November to Democrat David Curson, but won a separate election to a full two-year term in the seat for southwestern Oakland County and northwestern Wayne County.
Bentivolio is expected to seek a second term in November 2014, but Bentivolio communications director Matt Chisholm could not be immediately reached for comment.
Campaign co-chairs for Trott will be former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, Wayne County Commissioner Laura Cox, Former Congressional candidate Rocky Raczkowski, and Ronna Romney McDaniel.

Bentivolio won due to McCotter not making the ballot. However, Bentivolio is stronger now as an incumbent. I don't think this is going to be a shoo-in for Trott or anybody. I know Trott is well known among Oakland County's party leadership, but he's not that well known with voters, at least yet. I also expect a heavy tea party vs establishment battle there.

As far as gubernatorial primaries go, here's the latest from Icaucus Michigan

Survey Reveals Snyder and Calley Vulnerable to August 2014 Ouster
CEDAR SPRINGS – A statewide survey conducted in Michigan last week shows Governor Rick Snyder to be “clearly vulnerable” and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley to be “likely vulnerable” to being removed from the 2014 Michigan Republican ticket instead of re-nomination for a second term, according to Kevin Heine, Chief Strategist for iCaucus Michigan.  This survey was paid for by iCaucus (a private, non-profit corporation headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming), and is not associated with any sitting elected official, any known or potential candidate for the 2014 election cycle, or any political party.
The survey sample consisted of 744 republican convention delegates and alternates, and was drawn from the master delegation lists for the last three Michigan Republican Party state conventions (May 2012, September 2012, and February 2013).  This is the same delegation pool that elected Dave Agema as National Committeeman by a 7-to-3 margin, but also reelected Bobby Schostak as State Chairman (though by the much smaller margin of 3.86%).  The survey was conducted during the timeframe of August 26th thru 30th, used email-link polling, and has a margin of error of ±4.08% at the 95% confidence level.  (The survey sample includes 29 respondents from a test run conducted during the previous week.)

I saw the Icaucus poll about whether the Governor Rick Snyder should have a primary challenger or should be replaced in the primary. Two things that should be taken from any poll. Unnamed always wins. "Generic challenger" is always the non-existent person you think should be the nominee from that party. I never endorse "generic" for that reason and always take the generic candidate with a grain of salt. One sports analyst I read always says the "unknown is undefeated" and that is true for politics as well. The grass is always greener on the other side until it isn't when the "generic" is replaced by a human. All candidates have their flaws.

What I liked from the Icaucus poll is that it actually had some names out there. The pool of voters for this survey were those who attended recent republican state conventions. It's a part of the base. Keep in mind is that this is probably Snyder's low water mark among Republicans over the Medicaid Expansion vote. I expect his numbers to improve some next year.

The results there showed

Snyder Approval - 55.78% - Disapproval - 34.41% - Neither 9.81%

Does Snyder deserve a primary challenger? (Generic question)

Yes - 48.39%, No 38.71% - Unsure - 12.90%

Does Calley deserve a primary challenger? (Generic question)

Yes - 39.65%, No 35.08% - Unsure - 25.27%

As shown here, the generic always wins. The unknown is undefeated. However, the numbers change with real people. 

Snyder vs Agema:
Agema 42.34%, Snyder 32.39% - Unsure - 25.27%

Agema is well known among state convention attendees due to his successful challenge of Saul Anuzis for RNC Committeeman.

Snyder vs Bishop:
Snyder 36.83%, Bishop 24.19% - Unsure 38.98%

Somewhat surprising. I figured Bishop would have stronger numbers.

Snyder vs Butler:
Snyder 38.98%, Butler 11.29% - Unsure 49.73%

Butler ran for Senate in 2006. Among tea party activists, he's probably not well known as most got involved around 2009 or 2010.

Snyder vs Betsy DeVos:
Snyder 40.59%, DeVos 18.41% - Unsure 40.99%

Tea party probably views DeVos as establishment.

Snyder vs Glenn
Snyder 39.11%, Glenn 30.78% - Unsure 30.11%

Glenn is a good organizer, but he's also ticked off a lot of people over MI4CS and the senate campaign.

Snyder vs Hoekstra
Snyder 47.04%, Hoekstra 21.77% - Unsure 31.18%

Not surprised after 2012.

Snyder vs Schuette
Schuette 39.44%, Snyder 31.85% - Unsure 29.70%

Not surprised here, although I figured Schuette would poll best instead of Agema.

What this shows is that there's a lot of grumbling, but on the same note, the base (meaning both establishment, tea party, and regular old conservatives) isn't going to push for just anybody to be a challenger. Despite the current environment and current noise, a good 40% or so are going to stay with Snyder period as things stand now unless Agema or Schuette run. Both of them have won conventions there in the past. I can't see Schuette challenging Snyder at all. Agema is popular from his run for RNC Committeeman. Third closest here was Gary Glenn who is a good organizer whose campaign people (MI4CS, etc) have more influence than I'd like at these conventions. I'm pretty sure Glenn's running for state rep instead in Midland. Snyder's best showing was against Hoekstra, and I bet 95% of that was due to the 2012 campaign. That was reassuring because it shows that campaign ability matters to convention attendees.

If asked whether I am open to voting for a primary challenger to Snyder (or anyone else), my answer is as follows. "Depends on the candidate." My criteria is as follows.

1. Candidate must be electable in the general election. I'm well aware of Mark Schauer's record over the last 15 years. I'll say it very eloquently. Schauer's record absolutely sucks. He does what leadership tells him to do. Most democrats do what they are told, and Schauer does that even more than most.

Electable does not necessarily mean "moderate" (often confused with demeanor)  as ideology is only one aspect - and I think a relatively small one - in general electability. I've seen far right and far left candidates both very electable - and very unelectable. The same goes for moderates, some of whom are awful candidates. Nothing personal against moderate-conservative Pete Hoekstra whom I personally like, but he was as electable as Sharron Angle (lost due to mouth) who has every bad stereotype one has about tea party. I determine electability through demeanor, work ethic, ability to raise money, ability to avoid foot in mouth disease, and elective history. Some of the names in that list are electable and some are not.

2. The candidate must have a plan and be able to adjust. "I'm the true conservative" won't get my vote in and of itself. Mouths are cheap, and I'm tired of them.

3. Must have a strong work ethic. If you are going to primary Snyder, you better have an insane campaign work ethic - because you'll have to finish the job against Mark Schauer. You'll need a Joe Hune 2002 or 2010 level of work ethic. If you're not willing to do that, don't bother as you're wasting everyone's time, not to mention unelectable.

Many are irked about Medicaid expansion and Obamacare as the reason for primaries. People are looking for someone to stand up to Obamacare. There is little that can be done on the state level (nullification is a pipe dream - whether it should be or not, don't count on it) to fight it. That doesn't mean Medicaid Expansion should have passed, but not passing it wasn't going to mean Obamacare wasn't going to have its tentacles affect Michigan as well, jackboot style. 

The best way to get rid of Obamacare is to slay the actual dragon. Obamacare, it's individual mandate, costs, medical device taxes, IRS power expansion, and prison sentences,  all passed due to 59 dem senators, a massive house majority, and Obama. Despite what some say, one branch of the house can not defund Obamacare on its own without a government shutdown. The US House has voted twice to repeal Obamacare. That's what it could do. It hasn't even been taken up for a vote in the Senate. Harry Reid is to blame for that. Michigan needs to do its part by denying Gary Peters a promotion. After that, then give the Peter Principle in Chief an offer he can't refuse.

Ideals are important. Getting them executed and having the ability to do it is more important. These are marathons, not sprints. Four years isn't a long time when it comes to trying to repeal bad laws. It took 8 years to get shall-issue CPL passed in Michigan. The best way to stop Obamacare is to elect a good senator instead of yesman Gary Peters. That's the next head of the dragon that needs to be slain - the senate. In 2016, getting the presidency back is key. Then actually repeal the damn thing.

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