There’ve been some interesting dynamics in the race this past few weeks.
And, like the inner workings of most political campaigns, the reasons for some of these dynamics are hidden.
Which doesn’t mean we can’t take a swipe at them.
The below is a narrative of the past few weeks in the Minnesota gubernatorial campaign. I will clearly label events “Fact” or “Theory”; you can file the results under “prognostication” or “science fiction”, or “wishful thinking”, or whatever you want. The only evidence – so far – is purely circumstantial.
While I will not assign hard dates to any of my “Theory” entries, the rough time-frame should be clear enough for county work, read in sequence with the context of the real events.
BEGIN: Roughly two weeks ago.
THEORY: DFL internal polling shows that Mark Dayton’s lead is eroding (as reflected in the Rasmussen poll – see below) and that Tom Horner is taking more DFL than GOP voters. A lot more. And DFL enthusiasm numbers are lagging badly, while GOP enthusiasm is exploding.
FACT: The Rasmussen poll showed that Emmer had erased Dayton’s primary-time surge and pulled into a lead (within the margin of error).
FACT: Dayton’s entire campaign staff drops what it’s doing and come to HQ for an all-staff emergency meeting. THEORY: The main subject was this putative internal polling.
THEORY: Key DFL staffers discussed this polling with their friends, colleagues and contacts at the Strib, and elsewhere in the Twin Cities’ left-leaning media, academic and non-profit community (to the extend that “Key DFLers” and those other groups are actually separate and need to be distinguished at all), indicating that Dayton is in trouble. The message just wasn’t working. The leadership decided that a) they needed to try to push Horner down, and b) the message needed more than just a little tweak; they were going to have to try to sell a “class warfare” platform as something…almost conservative and responsible.
THEORY (and a conspiratorial one at that): For reasons all their own – liberal bias, the urge to sell papers, the imperative to keep clients – the various polling organizations jiggle the “likely voter” numbers to show Dayton with a commanding lead.
FACT: MPR/The Humphrey Institute and the Strib/Minnesota Poll almost simultaneously issue polls showing improbably large Dayton leads, using samplings and turnout models that don’t pass any stink test this side of Baghdad Bob.
THEORY: DFL campaign staff contacted key Minnesota leftybloggers, and ordered them to do what they do as their primary reason to exist best; pass along a meme for them, to stanch the bleeding toward the Horner campaign.
FACT: Nearly every leftyblog in Minnesota runs “Tom Horner is really teh Republican” stories, all with very similar wording and thought structure. The Alliance for a Better Minnesota releases a “Tom Horner Is Teh Republican” website – on a domain rented back in January of 2010.
FACT: Lefties have been talking jobs, jobs, jobs. Yesterday was a good example; Javier Morillo of the SEIU debated Laura Brod. Gary Gross covered it:
Let’s start with Morillo’s pathetic performance during the Face-Off segment of @Issue With Tom Hauser. Morillo said the words middle class and jobs so often, it was like he was trying to win a repitition competition. He repeatedly argued that Mark Dayton was “the only candidate who would protect the middle class.” How will Dayton help the middle class by chasing employers from Minnesota with the 2nd-highest income tax rate in the nation?
It’s painfully obvious that the DFL got the news that their message isn’t working and that their message has to shift from their tax-the-rich scheme to creating jobs. People’s first priority is getting the economy humming, not whether the rich are paying their fair share.
Dayton’s “message” has gone from “Tax the Rich” to “We love you, middle class” in a matter of weeks.
My scenario is admittedly and gleefully fictional.
So was “The Great Pacific War” by Hector Bywater. And we know how that turned out.