Methods & Tactics, page 3 -
AFTER THE INTERVIEW COMMITTEES SUBMIT THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS
Everything on the PREVIOUS page relates to how an interview committee should evaluate both of the two main-party candidates, in any race assigned to that committee. Everything on THIS page relates to what happens, AFTER those interviews have been completed.
1. Roughly a month before Election Day (late September, or early October), the state 2PP organization will begin compiling endorsement recommendations from the committees in that state, on each race that any committee has been analyzing. Each endorsement recommendation cannot be merely a simple yes/no, on/off, all-or-nothing, Democrat-or-Republican recommendation; instead, the relevant factors will need to described and explained, in ways that can enable the statewide group to do its job skillfully, and balance various factors as it chooses a slate of endorsements covering the entire state. That discussion period can and should take up to about 2 weeks, to make sure it can be done properly, and with pragmatic, results-oriented skill and judgment.
2. About 2 weeks before Election Day – in mid-to-late October – the state group will issue a statewide slate of endorsements. And – here is a key point – in order to build and maintain a balanced, broad-based level of trust among the voting public, those endorsements will need to stay somewhere within a specified level of balance, between Democratic candidates, versus Republican candidates. A presumptive figure is hereby proposed, at the 60-40 level (i.e., neither party can be awarded more than 60% of the endorsements; and, each party must receive at least 40% of the endorsements). The need for the entire statewide group to reach THAT balance point, explains why any and all committee endorsements need to be described and explained in ways that will help the statewide committee reach that balance point, even though it likely will mean that the state committee must “adjust” some of the recommendations, by some of the interview committees. As a simple example, if some particular endorsement is expressed as “evenly matched; only a slight lean in favor of the candidate we chose,” then that race would be included in a list of “possible adjustment candidates”.
It has to be recognized, from the outset, that there are ways to “game” any such system, and any arbitrary percentage level that might be set. For example, some state group might choose to endorse a heavy majority of Democrats in the high-level, most important races, while sprinkling in enough Republican endorsements in less-important races to meet the “balanced percentage” requirement. That risk must be recognized, and addressed seriously and carefully, even if it cannot be “resolved” to everyone’s satisfaction.
As one example of a possible approach, if and when a state 2PP group reaches a point where it is regarded as a serious factor which can indeed swing elections, some of the review and selection meetings by the state group might be attended by people representing either the Democratic or Republican party “machines”, at both state and local levels . . . perhaps at joint meetings, perhaps at separate meetings, and perhaps at some combination of both.
As another example of a possible approach, the two state parties could be asked to agree, in advance, upon numerical “weightings” that would be assigned to each of the various offices that are being contested, during that election cycle; and, the 60-40 balance could then be arrived at while applying the pre-determined “weighting” to each endorsement.
3. As soon as a slate of endorsements is announced (with as much publicity as possible, presumably about 2 weeks before election day, to give that announcement enough time to be reported, and sink into the minds of voters without getting stale), a state 2PP group should be ready and able to spend a substantial amount of money on TV ads, mailings, door-to-door efforts, and other advertising-type efforts. Unless otherwise agreed, ANY such ad should try to deliver the message, `We are not zealots, advocates, or party hacks; instead, we are good and honest people who have done well in our lives, and now, we are trying to give back. We are a combination of both Republicans and Democrats, and we are doing our level best to help create better government, by helping voters look beyond the paid advertising, to figure out who the real best candidate is, in each race. We have spent serious time, getting to know each and both of the candidates, in every race we have analyzed. And that is why we ask you to take our recommendations seriously.”
In addition, any state 2PP party should be ready to engage actively in a full range of less costly efforts, such as: (i) postings on its own website, other websites, and social media; (ii) making its high-level members available for interviews, debates, etc.; and (iii) holding rallies, parties, debates, and other gatherings.
A simple, basic, to-the point theme can be used to understand, and explain, everything above, along the following lines. Any Two-Party Party group, in any state, should take whatever steps are necessary, so that it can truly and honestly say something such as:
“We have organized small-enough-to-be-workable, but large-enough-to-be-balanced, groups of intelligent and objective adults. Each and every member of those groups of them deserves respect, because they have done well in their own lives and careers. And, we have arranged for them to get to know both of the candidates in a race, and to then share their insights and conclusions with voters. We did that, because we are firmly and honestly convinced that THAT is a much, MUCH better system, than having voters make up their minds based on nothing but TV ads. No one should claim that our system is perfect; however, everyone should recognize that it is better than what we’re doing now.”
PROPOSED STANDARDS FOR EVALUATION
Any state organization which decides to take on an effort such as this – and, any committees which help a state organization do the actual work of evaluating candidates in that state – should have enough freedom and flexibility to tinker with, adjust, adapt, and rephrase their standards, to a point where the people involved can get solidly behind them, and explain and defend them with conviction, and enthusiasm. As a first draft for others to work with, I would propose that any statewide organization, and any interview committee, should be ready and able to tell the voting public that THESE were the main standards that it tried to apply, as it considered and compared the merits and limits of each candidate, in any race:
1. Which candidate has made more of a true and genuine commitment to helping middle class workers, citizens, and taxpayers, even if it means having to tell large campaign contributors, `I will not do what you have asked, but if you want, we can keep trying to find an accommodation, between what you have asked for, and what will help and protect typical middle-class workers’ ?
2. Which candidate has shown more of a genuine willingness to talk with, listen to, and bargain and negotiate in good faith with, members of the OTHER political party, to try to actually solve problems for the good of ALL citizens, and ALL taxpayers?
3. Which candidate appears more willing and able to face up – squarely, directly, and honestly – to hard facts, difficult truths, and unpleasant forecasts and predictions, even if doing so will not help him/her win re-election, or make him look `better’ in the eyes of voters who do not adequately understand a complex situation?
4. Which candidate is more likely to place, `Doing what is best for the nation, and for my district/state, and for ALL of its citizens, taxpayers, and voters’, ahead of, and more important, than, `Well, first, I have to get re-elected, and then, after I’ve done that, we can talk about what I should do, next.’