Category Archives: Voting
A spectacularly innovative** decision by a magistrate in a New South Wales Local Court has made voting at Federal Elections in Australia essentially voluntary.
Magistrate David Heilpern’s decision was in the prosecution of Adam Easton who had failed to vote at the 2016 Federal Election. It is apparently the first time s.245(14) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act has ever been considered by a Court – and Magistrate Heilpern found Easton’s alleged belief in freedom, and alleged belief that all politicians cannot be trusted (the factual or rational nature of this belief was unsubstantiated in evidence in the Court) meant he had a sort-of religious duty to not vote.
- The decision is here in full http://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5a39c28ae4b074a7c6e1b416;
- A report of the decision is here http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/20/man-wins-legal-battle-after-arguing-voting-in-2016-election-morally-corrupt; and
- The relevant section of the Act is here http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/cth/consol_act/cea1918233/s245.html.
In making his ground-breaking decision the Magistrate specifically repudiated and rejected many precedents and findings of other Courts, including Australia’s High Court, amongst them this:
“…there is no force whatever in the contention that a valid and sufficient reason exists for non-compliance with the primary duty of voting, merely because no one of the ultimate candidates meets with the approval of the given elector. If that were admitted as a valid and sufficient reason, compulsory voting would be practically impossible”.
Isaacs J in Judd v McKeon (1926) 38 CLR 380 at 386
The section in question provides a religious exemption, Magistrate Heilpern explicitly finds Easton’s beliefs are not religious, yet says his refusal to vote is allowed via the religious exemption, thus:
“Having carefully considered the evidence of the defendant, I am satisfied that his evidence shows an honestly held belief, a moral code that requires him not to vote. To vote would be to breach a truly held conscientious life viewpoint. Thus the defendant in this case has a devout (but not religious) objection to voting. It would be simply nonsensical that were his deeply held moral objection subjectively connected to a recognised religion or a belief in god, that this would, of itself, be a valid and sufficient reason, but that a conscious agnostic well-developed moral faith as described by the defendant would not. The provision allows for a form of conscientious objection in my view, and that is what has been evidenced here.”
This decision will be applauded by the organised far right of Australian politics, who have long mounted a disingenuous demand for the freedom to not vote … which they expect will, incidentally and coincidentally of course, reduce the Labor vote. It will be opposed by everyone who recognises, inter alia:
- compulsory voting tends to build a relationship of mutual obligation between the governed and Parliaments, which is a positive contributor to social cohesion, and
- the ugliness and vapidity of US election campaigns is in part caused by the need to make voters angry enough to bother to vote in a voluntary system – and that’s where we will head if this decision is allowed to stand.
Will the decision be appealed, or will anti-compulsory-voting forces in the Liberal Party block both an appeal and amendments to the legislation before the next Federal Election?
* You can access the Courier Mail version here http://bit.ly/2BLBTg4
** possibly in this instance actually meaning “stupid”
We need a State Government, we need a Premier, and we need Ministers – but no-one can be absolutely certain yet about who is to be a member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly: there are at five or six seats still in doubt, and while Labor says they are confident of achieving a majority in their own right, they (and everyone else) are waiting for final results.
Of the seats where results are clear, no Party yet has a majority of the Parliament.
Postal votes – and possibly recounts – will determine the final outcome of in-doubt seats, and receipt of outstanding postal vote closes at 6.00 pm on Tuesday 5 December. It’s also possible postal votes may overturn current expectations of seat-by-seat results, and throw more seats into the too-close-to-call pile – postal votes are being counted day-by-day, and new tallies in undecided seats are being announced daily.
Once postal votes are all in and all counted, the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ – see http://www.ecq.qld.gov.au) will determine whether they need further recounting in any seat – they’ve been doing check counting all along, so a full recount will be reserved for the very closest seats. That might take a day or two, or ECQ may determine there is no need.
If there’s no recount needed, it’s only after Tuesday the various Parties with members in the Assembly (Australian Labor Party, Liberal National Party, Katter’s Australian Party, One Nation Party, and perhaps the Greens) will hold meetings to determine who controls the Parliament and the Government, and who takes on which roles.
If Labor has a majority, we can expect a meeting of the Labor caucus in the days immediately after 5 December – and immediately after the caucus meeting we could expect a returned Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to announce her new Cabinet.
If Labor doesn’t have a majority, depending on how far short they fall it may take several days for a majority coalition to be stitched together – or possibly a minority Government – so we may not know who is our Government, and who is Premier, and a Minister, until the week of 11 December.
The Brisbane Times website has a pretty good summary of where things are http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland-election-2017-results and they keep it reasonably up to date.
But, be cautious – there’s only 72.2% of the votes counted so far, and the notional two-candidate count in some seats has counted the wrong two candidates!
Ben Rau from the Tallyroom has an excellent summary of the current status of counting as at Sunday 26 November 2017, including seats likely won and lost for each of One Nation, the LNP, Katter Party and Greens. You can access his summary here http://www.tallyroom.com.au/32465.
Last week several business organisations, including one of which we’re members, echoed calls from Liberal-National Party Leader Tim Nicholls, and demanded the Palaszczuk Labor State Government call an election immediately.
Apart from this echo chamber, it’s hard to detect any groundswell of demand for an immediate election – it’s due by 5 May, and the (usually but erroneously presumed three-year) Parliamentary term isn’t up until late January 2018 (the anniversary of the last election) or more appropriately 14 February (the anniversary of the Palaszczuk Ministry) – or, legally and correctly, 5 May*.
Premier Palaszczuk has said several times she intends the election will be in 2018.
There are always constraints in choosing an election date, and here are some presently operative in Queensland:
- The Queensland election process must take a minimum of 26 days, from announcement (issuing of the writs) to Election Day – incumbent parties normally give little more than the minimum notice, for tactical advantage;
- Don’t look like you’re calling it early for expediency or advantage – voters aren’t dumb and can usually see through that;
- Don’t cut across
- football finals (in this case, AFL and NRL, which expire on 30 September and 1 October, respectively);
- school holidays (which commence from 17 November for year 12 students, from 24 November for years 10 and 11, and 8 December for the rest) because
- so many people are away and will get cranky at the inconvenience of voting, and
- if voters are away they will mostly miss appreciating the value of all of that money you’re spending on election ads …
… schools mostly resume on 22 January 2018;
- Christmas and New Year;
- The Commonwealth Games run from 4 to 15 April: if the Government changes in the month before the games, or there is campaigning across the games, there will be major distraction from the Games and this may harm the success of the game;
- If you announce an election between Christmas (really, mid-December) and Australia Day, you will either cause chaos because so many Members of Parliament and public servants are away, or you’ll tell them they can’t take leave which gives the game (and tactical advantage) away:
- Members of Parliament, and particular Ministers, take their holidays between the last Cabinet meeting of the year and the first of the next year – the Monday nearest Australia Day: if you call an election before Australia Day, you’re doing it while many sitting Members of Parliament are still away – that’s arguably quite unfair to non-Government MPs;
- The Queensland public service shuts down from Christmas Eve (this really commences in mid-December) until late January, say Australia Day;
- Most polling places are in school halls or similar, and it can be an incredible nuisance to get proper access to school halls during school holidays;
- The Party in power hasn’t finished selecting all of its candidates yet, although the few remaining are not in highly targeted seats;
- And, as Michael Todd reminds us: after this election Queensland moves to four-year fixed terms, with the election on the last Saturday of October (starting in 2021) – choosing a late October/early November date tends to bring this election into alignment with the future.
These things in combination mean the election could be announced
- Anytime up until 2 October, for a 28 October Election Day, if the Premier is prepared to explain why it can’t be next year as she has previously said, or
- Anytime up until 9 October, for a 4 November Election Day, with the same proviso, or
- Not between 10 October and Australia Day for the reasons advanced above, and
- Not for a date after 10 March, to avoid the Commonwealth Games and their build up, and
- Just possibly after an early Cabinet meeting on 22 January, for 17 February, or
- More likely, sometime in the two-and-a-bit weeks after Australia Day, for an Election Day of 24 February, 3 March, or 10 March.
The Queensland Premier (and her staff) has not been consulted in the drafting of this article, and nor has she consulted us!
Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk has restated her intention the next State Election should happen in 2018. In anticipation, blogger Ben Rau of The Tally Room has updated and published his seat by seat analysis.
If you are interested in the next Queensland election, it is well worth subscribing to his blog, and you can do that via an email subscription box just to the right of his post.
You can access his excellent analysis here www.tallyroom.com.au/32057, and can look at the seats listed alphabetically, via a pendulum, or via a clickable map.
Ben intends to publish a post summarising the impact of the redistribution of seat boundaries, and a deeper analysis of key seats, in the immediate future.
Was Australia’s, and the world’s, first Labor Prime Minister invalidly elected?
Scott Ludlam’s and Larissa Waters’ announcements they are not eligible to be Senators www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/greens-mp-scott-ludlam-forced-to-quit-senate/news-story/c92e91f84c9db4abc3d11e92eb96abf5 and www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/queensland-greens-senator-larissa-waters-resigns-over-dual-citizenship/news-story/ecb99e946835145fd8f6dacdbf55e131 throws plenty of juicy but well-answered questions into the public arena, but because they are so badly trained and do so little research, most journalists and commentators will get their facts wrong – see yesterday’s article here.
But there’s an even more interesting issue of which we are reminded: was Australia’s and the world’s first Labor Prime Minister invalidly so?
Chris Watson’s birthplace and birthdate were once the subject of some confusion, but it’s now clear he was born in Chile: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/watson-john-christian-chris-9003.
Did Chilean law at that time mandate that someone taking citizenship of another country automatically lost Chilean citizenship? If not, did he ever renounce his Chilean citizenship? Almost certainly not.
Was he ever an Australian citizen? The Grassby/Ordoñez biography* (pages 31-32) suggests he claimed to be British-born, and never bothered with the formality of becoming an Aussie.
So, how could he be elected to the Australian Parliament in 1901 and later become Australia’s** first Labor Prime Minister in 1904? Quite possibly not lawfully!
* Grassby, A. and Ordoñez, S. (1999) . John Watson. Melbourne: Black Inc.
** … and the world’s! Did we mention that already?
Scott Ludlam’s announcement he’s not eligible to be a Senator www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/greens-mp-scott-ludlam-forced-to-quit-senate/news-story/c92e91f84c9db4abc3d11e92eb96abf5 throws plenty of juicy but well-answered questions into the public arena, but because Australian journalists and commentators are too often badly trained and do little research, most will get their facts wrong.
Here’s some fast facts:
- Scott can’t resign from the office of Senator, because he’s not a Senator: his ineligibility means his election was invalid and he’s never lawfully been a Senator. You can’t resign from being something that you’ve never been.
- Declaration of the poll, on each of those occasions he’s been elected and reelected, by the Australian Electoral Commission doesn’t make him a Senator if he never was eligible; the AEC doesn’t have the power to inquire into eligibility – they simply require candidates to declare they are eligible.
- Because he can’t resign, someone – probably the AEC – will need to start a Court of Disputed Returns action in order to have Scott’s election declared invalid and a recount ordered.
- Or, he could try to take his seat in the Senate* at the next sittings, or re-occupy his Senate office, or take his next Senate pay cheque, in which case someone – probably the Liberal Party or National Party – would seek an injunction to prevent it, which would eventually have the same outcome as a Court of Disputed Returns action.
- Because Scott isn’t resigning, the casual vacancy mechanism relating to mid-term replacement of Senators isn’t activated and The Greens don’t get to nominate a replacement.
- The recount mentioned above will probably see the third candidate on The Greens’ Senate ticket at the last election – Jordon Steele-John – declared elected.
- In theory, Scott has a debt to the Commonwealth of all of the salary he has been paid, and all of the expenses of his office. Normal practice is that the debt is calculated, demanded, and then waived. However, others have different ideas: www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/16/george-brandis-attacks-scott-ludlam-and-says-he-could-be-forced-to-repay-debt.
- This is a guy who has been doing what has generally been acknowledged to be a good job**, is hard-working, and is open about having suffered depression, and these revelations will have come as a huge shock; all of his staff, too, are now without jobs or income: so even those who dislike The Greens intensely might wind back the gloating a little.
The ABC’s Antony Green makes additional interesting points here http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2017/07/scott-ludlam-resigns-what-happens-to-his-senate-seat.html.
The Senate may initially be harder to predict until a new Senator is appointed – probably months away – but things will be easier for the Government in the interim:
Of the 75 Senators post-Ludlam, 29 are Coalition, 26 Labor, 8 Greens, 4 One Nation, 3 Xenophon Team, and one each to Liberal Democrats (Leynholm), Justice Party (Hinch), Australian Conservatives (Bernardi), Jacqui Lambie Network, and independent Gichuhi (who is ex-Family First); usually, to secure Senate passage, the Government will need nine votes from amongst the 20 cross-benchers, and Labor needs 12. Prior to the Ludlam revelation, the Government needed ten and Labor needed thirteen.
Prior to the Ludlam revelation, the Government needed ten and Labor needed thirteen. The smaller number will make it easier than before, for the Government to stitch together nine further votes and hence a Senate majority, because they will have to wrangle fewer of the cross-bench votes, and complicated ideologies and personalities, so to do.
* Of course he won’t: he’s not that dishonest or stupid. Many friends say he is quite nice.
** Political disagreements aside, of course.
Last week in Queensland: unemployment rising, activists continue trying to block Adani mine, LNP’s regional tour & stronger media coverage rolls on, while the One Nation Party also garners ongoing media coverage*.
- Conservation activists confront Premier in India over Adani mine www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/activists-confront-premier-in-india-over-adani-megamine-in-central-queensland/news-story/21bbeb56d826dd6ba2d9078066daf5e1
- … as the Premier urges Adani to broaden their investments in Queensland www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/premier-to-urge-indian-billionaire-gautam-adani-to-make-agricultural-investments-in-queensland/news-story/6999f4baa1587d82abb7a1950c7fa812
- Queensland Rail’s overtime bill keeps rail services in the news www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-rail-still-paying-1m-a-fortnight-in-overtime-for-drivers-and-guards/news-story/d4f979671bbe6d7db42ed96413a2aeba
- Queensland not signing up for national unexplained wealth laws www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/queensland-urged-to-sign-up-to-uniform-national-unexplained-wealth-laws/news-story/0a64144719ece9edfbed7b84b435900f&
- Government may expand gas reservation exploration program www.afr.com/news/politics/queensland-flags-more-gas-exploration-leases-for-domestic-use-only-20170313-guxfcc
- “Indigenous” Cabinet meeting in Cairns www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/states-first-indigenous-cabinet-meeting-brings-leaders-to-cairns/news-story/28efea12d192a9613bec7d306e1e4eeb
- Anti-violence food trial in emergency departments www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/whileyouwait-dining-for-qld-ed-patients/news-story/236ac1f7a14d76e463943218f7db52c8
- No culling in crocodile management plan www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/crocodiles-spared-cull-in-queenslands-sixzone-solution/news-story/747372fe1912af48b02685dec77fc697
Opposition and Crossbench
- Tim Nicholls’ regional tour continues www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/tim-nicholls-regional-tour-the-question-that-captured-concerns/news-story/fc521d791be71a3fd27e4e1dd15441a7
- … including a taxi driver confrontation www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-17/uber-tim-nicholls-confronted-taxi-driver-lnp-queensland-tour/8362798
- Opposition attacks tourism performance www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/qlds-tourism-numbers-not-good-enough-lnp/news-story/f43cf3ea14a31b05801251272f1e7258
- … but see two articles below under “Economy and Infrastructure”
- Liberal-National Party attacks speed of Government Spit planning www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/lnp-attacks-qld-govt-on-slow-spit-plan/news-story/498d47aba43c7b935dc714f9b4b5b316
- Liberal-National Party promises to bring back “royalties for regions” www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/deputy-opposition-leader-deb-frecklington-announces-pledge-to-bring-back-royalties-for-regions/news-story/7f089c4d0d5036b24f298d50d6b1cd76
- Katter’s Australian Party thinks they can win six seats in Queensland State Election www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/bob-katter-confident-of-katters-australia-party-surge-in-queensland-election/news-story/d9ab043732a47d63af8dce09400493c6
- Liberal-National Party refuses to rule out One Nation Party preference deal www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/wa-election-one-nation-preference-deal-still-on-table-for-queensland-lnp/news-story/0b58a9d71da89b8816c200f34d5d0c8a
- CFMEU Secretary not to be prosecuted in spite of Murdoch media campaign** www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/dpp-rejects-suggestion-of-political-meddling-in-michael-ravbar-case/news-story/af6578bb8d7b1f987e3cd4dc20b7b10d
- Courier Mail again pressing fruitlessly for an early election www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-time-is-right-for-queensland-premier-annastacia-palaszczuk-to-call-election/news-story/3383cd3277fe875ca9b9c5605013eb73
- Election campaigning already www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-13/political-leaders-in-the-spotlight-ahead-of-state-poll/8350066
- One Nation Party role at the next Queensland election www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/the-role-one-nation-will-play-in-the-queensland-as-deal-with-wa-libs-fizzles-20170313-guwrq8.html
- Nicholls says Turnbull needs to “get Queensland” www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/western-australia-election-tim-nicholls-has-warning-for-malcolm-turnbull/news-story/d6a25557920ebaa99574a2978cf81599
- More Western Australia election fallout:
- … The impact in Queensland of One Nation Party www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-13/what-does-one-nation-wa-election-flop-mean-for-qld-parties/8348846
- … delayed election to allow One Nation Party to implode? www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/wa-aftermath-labor-to-delay-queensland-state-election-in-hope-one-nation-implodes-20170313-guwwki.html
- … Pauline Hanson reviewing strategy www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queensland-government/pauline-hanson-thrilled-with-result-but-reviewing-one-nation-strategy/news-story/640e086bc3a729380cfab3394b00bf21
- Community support for apartment smoking ban www.mygc.com.au/queenslanders-support-calls-ban-smoking-apartments-balconies/
- Black lung and silicosis – successive State Governments may have mismanaged www.msn.com/en-au/lifestyle/smart-living/queensland-government-accused-over-black-lung-scandal/vp-AAondcF
Economy and Infrastructure
- 90% of Queensland in drought www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/latest-declarations-reveal-almost-90-per-cent-of-queensland-now-in-drought/news-story/302b8b0a5f9d618302e62c05286e7050
- Adani mine approval remains a live issue www.indialivetoday.com/adani-group-get-queensland-governments-committment-16-5-billion-carmichael-mine-project-galilee-basin/137416.html
- Queensland unemployment rises www.9news.com.au/national/2017/03/17/03/33/qld-jobs-figures-to-turn-around-treasurer
- … having plateaued after falling from early 2016 http://queenslandeconomywatch.com/2017/03/17/qld-economy-not-generating-enough-jobs-for-uni-vet-school-leavers/
- White spot disease spreads, seafood export bans in place www.fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&country=0&special=&monthyear=&day=&id=90599
- Record visitor numbers, says Government www.mygc.com.au/record-number-international-visitors-queensland/
- … but see above under “Opposition and Crossbench”
- More action on Townsville’s water security www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/frustrating-inaction-over-townsvilles-water-security/news-story/5b9a5cf8d1f6e4af08fde10079d83044
- Queensland’s Parliament sits this week, from Tuesday 21 March to Thursday 23 March
- The Queensland Parliament’s summary of what’s new, including newly-introduced and passed legislation, is here www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/whats-new
- Both chambers of the Federal Parliament also sit this week, from Monday 20 March to Thursday 23 March
- Prisons massively over-crowded www.frasercoastchronicle.com.au/news/queensland-prisons-overcrowded/3153671/
* We’re not representing that this is a complete coverage of news in Queensland – it certainly isn’t, and it’s what we find interesting or important, and sometimes what’s unusual. Some of the links will require subscriptions to read content.
** Anyone who thinks Michael Ravbar is a friend of the Premier is wrong; anyone who claims that, without believing it, is a liar.
Almost every election victory involves stitching together a coalition, and Donald Trump did so successfully.
Asking why Donald Trump won is quite a different question from “why did Hillary Clinton lose?”, and that latter question will be addressed in another article soon.
The difference between Donald Trump’s victory and a defeat was very small: small margins in a small number of states.**
Because the margin was so narrow in those three or four states which Donald Trump won by small margins, many things, some big and some small, made the difference between a win and a loss.
Because so many events, activities, mistakes, and so on could each have driven the comparatively small margins by which Donald Trump secured victory, it means every commentator’s preferred reason(s) for victory can be claimed as THE reason for the result – everyone is right, and everyone wins a prize.
However there are bigger reasons why Donald Trump was able to secure victory, whilst so obviously unfit for the job. He should have been, by most criteria***, 30% behind and not just 2.2%.
For 23 years, Republican Party Members of Congress, bloggers, activists, and more, attacked Hillary Clinton. Regardless of the validity of those attacks, they constructed a consistent narrative about the character of Hillary Clinton, and built substantial distrust and dislike of her. That branding of Hillary Clinton was in place before she nominated, was present for the whole of the campaign, and was referenced often by many amongst Donald Trump’s supporters. According to this narrative, she is an out-of-touch, remote elitist, focussed on her own advancement, and untrustworthy.
With many voters there was also a significant element of misogyny, synergising with the Republicans’ long-term branding of Hillary Clinton, which undoubtedly influenced their choice of candidates.
The Republican Party’s management of Hillary Clinton’s image, and the Trump campaign’s exploitation of that image, drove some voters towards Donald Trump, but also drove some voters, normally voting Democrat, to choose to abstain (see here about US voluntary voting).
The active things the Trump campaign deployed included the exploitation and maximisation of discontent: he branded himself as the voice of frustration, the voice of change, anti-elite, and anti-the system, which contrasted with Hillary Clinton’s image as part of “the system”.
His pivot to Republican orthodoxy, evident during the third presidential debate, was the point at which he began to win back the support of the Republican base, and their activists.
News articles are only now emerging which describe his under-the-radar campaign organisation, which to most commentators during the campaign did not appear to exist. Recent articles propose the data capabilities of the Trump campaign are competitive with the previously superior Democratic party machine, and the Obama campaign: while this may be the case, there is currently insufficient information in the public domain to allow a judgement.
The Trump campaign’s messaging was also effective: it was consistent, relentless, careful, and emotion-focused.
So Donald Trump was able to overcome what should have been unelectability, because
- the Republican Party had invested cleverly in constructing his opponent’s image over the long-term, and the Trump campaign exploited that investment
- his own campaign probably functioned more effectively than most people gave it credit for
- his messaging was effective and delivered the voters he needed, and
- he built a winning coalition of voters: most of the Republican base, and voters discontented with many elements of the American system of government.
* Just in time for inauguration day, this evaluation is based on observations from within the campaign and reading about it
** Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by around 2.2%.
*** We’re going to talk about those differing criteria in the coming article about the reasons for Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Compare Michigan and Pennsylvania. Donald Trump clearly won the latter through a massive turnout of rarely-votes in the middle of the state (see www.philly.com/philly/infographics/400507161.html) and appears to have won the former by winning over previous Democrat voters (see www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/11/11/donald-trump-michigan-counties-clinton/93641908/) – though more analysis will give a better picture.
That’s two entirely different ways of winning, in two important states.
Obama in the contested 2008 Primary had a successful State-by-State win plan: did Trump have the same in 2016? These different patterns in two critical states suggest perhaps he did.
Kellyanne Conway was his final campaign manager http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/the-woman-who-made-president-trump/news-story/766f339657fcb2429068b200adf166b5 and deserves major credit for his victory, but she took over only a scant 12 weeks out from election day – could she have created and executed such a state-by-state plan in so short a time? Her predecessors, incompetent and possibly corrupt, seem unlikely to have had such insight and coherence.
Insider-tell-all books after the 2008 and 2012 election cycle answered many questions about internal strategy development – the 2016 version may tell us whether there was such a plan, or whether luck and happenstance played a bigger part.
However, Kellyanne achieved in less than three months something much more formidable: she created a new candidate and a new election, and hence a winning coalition, by taming Trump.
Before the Presidential Debates, Trump had set about making himself the outsider who could upturn politics-as-usual and fix a failed system. His plain speaking, deliberately provocative and deliberately different from Republican orthodoxy, had built a loyal following amongst those alienated from the “American Dream”, but failed to broadly inspire evangelical Christians, and alienated moderate Republicans. His support, lacking those two components of the Republican base, was insufficient for victory.
Just prior to the October 19 third debate, his language moderated, his insults decreased, and the content of his ad-hoc statements became more coherent. At the third debate, he pivoted, pressed the case for the Republican Right’s hot-button policies, and they flocked to his banner. Post-debate, he became increasingly a more polished and less alienating candidate. Some of the moderate Republicans, contemplating voting for Hillary, moved back to the fold.
To the Republican base, Trump now looked – more-or-less – like a Republican.
Quite suddenly, the Clinton campaign faced a different candidate, who now led a coalition of the disaffected and the Republican base, to which they had no adequate counter. It’s not even clear they noticed the new candidate.
(Half of Ethical Consulting Services (Mike) has been embedded in the campaign since mid-October.)