The GOPers’ Last Stand

Well, here we are–Donald Trump now stands alone in the field, as The Banker’s Husband and The Glutton have dropped out. So, inquiring minds want to know–what happens now?

The Basic Run Down

  1. In upcoming primaries, we can get a good idea how many people will take their vote and stay home, though examining any drop in voter turnout and also the number of “protest votes” the other non-contenders get. I rather doubt we’ll see a turnout drop, but the protest vote breakdown, if any, should be interesting.
  2. The current “rules” going to the convention have to be voted into use AT the convention, and of course the GOPers were smart enough to stack the rules committee AND the delegates. But, there are some silver linings here:  First, the GOPers agreed to a motion that any rule changes must be voted in by a 2/3rds majority. And now that the last of the GOPers have retired from the field, the delegates who have to approve rule changes proposed by the Rules committee are highly unlikely to piss off the folks at home in favor of a GOPer ringer. Second, the names of the delegates are PUBLIC RECORD in most if not all states, so we can contact them in a non-threatening way and let them know NOT playing by the rules is a bad thing. I have already sent all my delegates congratulatory emails, wishing them well in Cleveland and letting them know that I expect them to approve the rules that were in force during the primary season. I suggest everyone else do the same.
  3. The GOPers are squeaking about a third party run. What they are neglecting to mention is simple; it’s logistically, financially, and legally–improbable to impossible at this point. ALL states have rules regarding getting write in candidates on the ballot, as well as qualifying rules for third party/independent runs. And Texas’ deadline for a legal third party/independent run passes TODAY, with all the state deadlines passing before Cleveland. No Independent Run would succeed unless the candidate was on every state ballot. Which leaves using an existing party that is balloted in all fifty states–the Libertarians. Unless the GOPers can convince the 9 Libertarians on the Libertarian Ticket to step aside, AND they have all the paperwork ready and pre-verified, AND they get Texas filed and approved TODAY (and all the other states before mid June), they can’t use that existing party option either.
  4. So, the GOPers are stuck–for the moment. Does that mean they are entirely finished? NOPE. NEVER, EVER, trust a GOPer (or a Dem, for that matter, they are ONE AND THE SAME). But it limits their options to causing trouble AFTER the nomination.

Post Nomination Possibilities To Consider:

We have already seen the GOPers use Dems and Libertarians in the past as “spoilers” during elections, and I have no doubt they will do so again–likely using Libertarians that are running on the legal weed ticket and college cost reform/free college platform as well (and there are a few) to bleed off the millennials and other people who believe in weed and a free ride to college. That won’t amount to much, but it’s a start. They will also, I have no doubt, find ways to use the Dem that gets the nomination as well.

Failing that, they will look for more scandal, but if there were scandal–we’d have heard about it by now, so we’re pretty safe. Which leaves making sure that the senators and representatives elected for the next Congress are all “never Trump” types–and using the party machine and money to put pressure on any that are neutral or pro-Trump.

THAT IS THE REAL DANGER, HERE.

The congress critters rely on the GOPer machine to steer them into power positions, and to finance them and launder Super PAC and corporate money. So it is essential that we occupy the precinct level of the GOP as rapidly as possible, while they are vulnerable. To that end, I will be posting a primer shortly on how to infiltrate the political party of your choice, and how political parties in general work. There is NO EXCUSE FOR NOT PROCEEDING ANY MORE, PEOPLE. TRUMP WILL NEED US, AND THE GOP, BEHIND HIM IN WASHINGTON DC. And taking that party back is the first priority. This man has moved heaven and Earth, lost business, had his family threatened, and has been running himself ragged FOR US. IT’S TIME WE PAID HIM BACK.

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AZGOP Convention Scuttlebutt Part 4

Part Three Here

The Law Enforcement And First Responders

I also took the time in my non-stop day to talk to any and all support staff I saw, and some first responders and the food truck people. There was a moderate amount of police presence, both local police and the County Police. They were all friendly and pleasant, and many were wearing vests under their uniform shirts. all were armed with ;pistols, tasers, batons and a flashlight that I saw, though most of the Mesa police didn’t have vests.

They walked in pairs, with a Mesa police officer teamed typically with a county sheriff. Toward the end of the convention when a delegate began loudly complaining about “fraud” because of the multi-slating and the way the electronic voting website displayed final results, 4 pairs of them arrived in the main foyer rapidly, though nothing happened and they dispersed shortly thereafter.

The fire fighters, for some reason, tended to congregate around the restrooms–go figure. They were also friendly, and in my small talk all of the law enforcement officers expressed confidence there would be no “problems”. There was no security screening of any kind, no searches of purses, metal detectors or anything else. I don’t believe anyone snuck a firearm in–but they sure could have.

The Support Staff

The janitorial staff at the convention were also friendly, and of course had no idea where anyone was or where any particular events were happening–though a couple did complain about the way various ground teams treated them, and the general and inexplicable shortage of trash cans, everywhere–something delegates also noticed.

The majority of support staff were frantically emptying the few trash cans their were outside and inside, but they still managed to keep the bathrooms clean.

Quite a few of the support staff I spoke to mentioned they were glad for the “extra hours” and actually hoping the convention would be as long as prior ones have apparently been. By far, the support staff were Trump voters, and number one reasons being JOBS and the wall. I made a few remarks to one janitor on trash detail, and we would probably still be talking if I hadn’t had to come home LOL.

Quite a few of the support staff I talked to were surprised (and pleased) that I had noticed them at all–one actually asked me if I was speaking to him, and when I said yes, he told me at the end of our short conversation it was the first time he could remember anyone at ANY event he worked speaking to him in conversation rather than just seeking information, and the only time he remembered anyone thanking him for the work he did.

My take away on that is simple–I’m ashamed of myself, as I thought about it and realized the only time I ever take the time to exchange a few pleasantries with support staff anywhere is for a specific purpose, myself. Whether that purpose is information gathering or in the course of cleaning up after a special event where we sold kettle korn, it’s never “just because”. It’s unsettling to think about.

Concessions And Vending Trucks

The concessions staff were friendly and busy, but not overly so. We could drink and eat on the convention floor, surprisingly enough, but the lack of trash cans was really odd. I literally counted less than a dozen in the foyer and convention floor area, one 55 gallon one with each food truck (health code requirement, probably belonged to the vendors themselves), and less than a half dozen scattered elsewhere. The concessions people I spoke to said they had stopped paying attention to what goes on at events like the convention years ago–most had been working for the convention center for quite a while.

The healthy food truck people–like all of their customers I spoke to, were Cruz voters who had a Cruz bumper sticker on the truck–which might account for the fact that every single one of their customers I asked was a Cruz supporter. None of the food vendors I saw were wearing campaign gear or stickers of any kind, and they didn’t particularly want to talk politics–but the three I talked to also said that the convention was the best day they had “in a long time”.

I will say that from a food vending point of view, the GOP had almost exactly the right number of food trucks–the most they could have added was one more. All the trucks were running flat out at full speed all during lunch, and I would guess most were almost out of food by the time lunch was over. The mix of food was acceptable–barbecue, quesadillas and healthy food outside, the typical event venue concession food inside, typically priced.

As a 10.00 food voucher got you a lunch item and a drink, I’d say the food vendors realized a decent though not extravagant profit from the event, which is a good thing. We know from experience how dicey it can be to make a profit at a “small” event like this, especially one with a cash price for tickets attached.

The Final Take Aways:

  1. The AZGOP did an acceptable, though not amazing job, with this convention. They should have just used printed paper ballots and had everyone slated, or not slated at all and let us actively stump. At the very least we should have been allowed to (or REQUIRED TO) stump in our breakout room before the first vote.
  2. The Trump ground team didn’t meet my expectations for this event, at all. The campaign needs to address the ground team issue NOW, well before California.
  3. The Cruz Crew were insufferably polite and friendly–unless you challenged their guy with your concerns (my other half was concern trolling, and a female Cruz Crew member told him to shut up and leave her alone when SHE butted into HIS conversation with 2 male Cruz Crew members in the first place LOL.
  4. The Kasich team might as well have stayed home. I think they outnumbered his supporters.
  5. The electronic voting SNAFU was idiotic–they shouldn’t have just assumed that 98% of convention delegates would come armed with tablets or smart phones. They should have had at least 2 rooms and 50 computers or more set up for that–or used the danged paper ballots.
  6. MORE TRASH CANS would have been nice.
  7. Better organization of credentialing, More proactive engagement by the GOPer operatives with the delegates. This is where the shortage of precinct seat holders was evident–as they are usually on the front line at a convention, shepherding any of their precinct members through the process or helping those who don’t have a precinct seat holder around.
  8. The GOPer convention volunteer squad was on the small side, and not well coordinated either. Many of them didn’t know what was up during the second credentialing, and couldn’t answer other questions either.

It could have been far worse, of course, but it also could have been far better in terms of helping new participants understand how the party and process works. The few of us who had some prior experience were just too danged busy to coordinate our efforts. It was basically going from one small crisis to another, and hoping others were doing the same.

Considering how Graham was touting the outreach efforts from the last election and taking credit for the unprecedented growth of the party in THIS cycle, the actions came nowhere near supporting the rhetoric he was spouting. Getting people involved in the process for the vote is great. But KEEPING them involved is the only thing that can lead to reform.

Of course, the GOPers have no real interest in informed voters, when it comes to controlling party platforms, rules and direction–that would derail their gravy train.

 

 

AZGOP Convention Scuttlebutt Part 3

Part Two Here…

The Delegate Side Of The Fence

In between interrogating the party operatives at all levels, I also talked to a large number of miscellaneous delegates from all counties, of course. The delegates were mostly older white people, though about 1/4 to 1/3rd or so were Hispanic (judging by appearance and names), and another 10% or so were minority. The delegate pool was about 60/40 in favor of men, not unusual.

The delegates were also heavily weighted towards the first time crowd–far more than one would have seen at conventions decades ago when I attended them in other states as a guest. I spent a lot of time with newbies, for a reason–they had the least idea what was going on, and they were the most involved and upset people in the room.

I didn’t run into a single “newbie” that was a Cruz or Kasich supporter–they were ALL Trump supporters. My other half in the guest section (and there were about 300 guests) only talked to three Cruz supporters and found no Kasich people at all, the rest were Trump.

Common Delegate Complaints/Views Expressed

By far the most common complaint I heard was that the GOP was “stealing delegates”. Anyone who follows this blog knows that is essentially a false narrative the media and GOP are pushing to try and get people to stage an uprising in Cleveland, so I spent a great deal of time leading people to this blog on their smartphones or tablets, or giving them my business card.

Many also complained about how hard it was to find information on the process to begin with, and confusion on what would happen. I will give Graham his due on this, he DID spend a decent amount of time explaining to people what was going on….But again I spent a lot of time directing people to this blog and giving them my email for specific questions.

The Cruz delegates that I spoke to had very different aims from the Trump delegates–their aim being to get delegate slots by any means, of course.Most of them were long time GOPer voters/operatives who had convention experience, so the Cruz Crew had it easy at our convention–they just took advantage of the natural ignorance and emotion of the Trump supporters.

A lot of Trump delegates, sadly, “outed” themselves at the very beginning by wearing Trump gear, so while I noted names and voted for them and encouraged others to do so, we DID lose a lot of potential votes as the GOPers (and the ground teams) were pushing the “vote the slate” narrative, and making sure that as few identified Trump delegates were on the slate as possible.

The Common Misconceptions

Many delegates believed the canard the AZGOP posted in their emails and on the website about the convention wrapping up by 3:30 or so. I was shocked we were almost wrapped up at 5:30, myself, and I have been to previous conventions where we were still going as late as 10:00 at night, or had to extend to a second day. NEVER TAKE THE PARTY’S TIME ESTIMATIONS AS ACCURATE. If my physical stamina had held out I would have stayed until the very end, and then attempted to arrange a group meet up with people at a nearby burger place after.

because many people had believed the party rah-rah, quite a few delegates signed out after the first ballot, which led to having to credential a few dozen or more alternate delegates, which is NEVER a good thing.

A convention is the single best opportunity anyone has to gather first hand knowledge, experience, intelligence, party contacts, and in some cases make business deals. You WANT the convention to take a reasonable amount of time.

Many were also confused by the inevitable screw ups and inefficiency–especially the old time party operatives, and the rural delegates and operatives. Screw ups are a fact of life at an event like this, but if the AZGOP had just stuck with paper ballots and either didn’t slate at all or let each of us slate ourselves and declare candidate support when we were selected (and printed that on the ballots), it would have been much smoother–and we would have been able to effectively grab EVERY SINGLE SEAT by multi-slating.

Multi-slating, if you can communicate the plan privately to the ground team and other delegates, is the single best strategy to grab every seat in a slated convention setting.

Analysis Of The Ground Game In Mesa–AN INDICTMENT

One of Trump’s strengths is his populist support–in terms of getting the vote. However, it’s a serious weakness when you’re sending a bunch of newbies to a convention, or your ground support is made up of people who don’t communicate the most effective old school strategies to ALL delegates well in advance of the convention. Or ground teams that are not long time involved voters in the party–and former convention participants.

Much of the ground team I met fell in the last category–very little or no prior convention/campaign experience, and effectively none in a heavily contested race. The “big guys” on the ground here weren’t in evidence, either, though they apparently participated in the at large slating.

When you’re dealing with a bunch of nervous angry newbies to politics, the FIRST people you meet at the ground team table should be people who have attended many former conventions, under all circumstances, who are confident, supportive, and friendly. Sadly, I actually heard one ground team member tell a nervous delegate with simple question it wasn’t their job to “hold her hand”, and to “google it”–before shoving a slate into her hand and telling her to just vote the slate and ignore anything else. I immediately introduced myself when she left the table, welcomed her to the process, answered her question and helped her find where she needed to be.

EXCUSE ME, GROUND TEAM PERSON–IT IS YOUR JOB. 

Had the rules allowed the experienced ground team members to address the convention, or those people had been out in the delegate pool coordinating, things would have gone far better in terms of final delegate results. JUST HANDING SOMEONE PAPER AFTER PAPER AND TELLING THEM TO VOTE THE SLATE AND DON’T GET CONFUSED OR LISTEN TO ANYONE ELSE IS NOT PRODUCTIVE.

If how our convention was handled by the ground team is ANY indication of conventions elsewhere, it’s little wonder we’re having delegate issues. I spoke to almost every ground team member I could find at one point or another, and well over half had ZERO convention experience. And sadly, quite a few had what could be called “attitude” as well–while under normal circumstances, nailing your flag to the mast and being loudly defiant may work to some extent, it’s a miserable excuse for a strategy in the current situation.

Being curt, confrontational, overbearing or condescending isn’t productive either. When you hear other Trump supporters in the bathroom expressing confusion, hurt and anger because THE CANDIDATE’S GROUND TEAM MEMBERS ARE “BITCHES” OR “ASSHOLES”, YOU HAVE A REAL PROBLEM.

I’ll be the first to admit that after you have to reassure your 30th or 40th person on the very same issue as the last 30 or 40 people, or answer the same basic Politics 101 question for the 20th time in 2 hours, it’s a little bit wearing. Had I been able to find a quiet corner during lunch and round up a large number of people, I would have tabled my own damned meeting and given everyone a pep talk, some support, and allayed fears and confusion.

AND I AM NOT EVEN AN OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN WORKER. But I couldn’t find that quiet corner, and when I did suggest that to three different ground team members, they basically patted me on the head and brushed me off. I don’t know where the campaign found these yo-yo’s–but Trump was poorly served, at least in my part of the convention. I didn’t talk to every ground team member–but I did talk to a majority, as did my other half (who wasn’t impressed either, and he is not politically active).

This game has rules that most people don’t understand. It also is a very different experience to convention with all or majority newbies rather than seasoned operatives and involved party members.

PAY ATTENTION TO THIS:

WE ARE IN A SERIOUS FIGHT HERE. If you have a convention coming and are listed as a delegate, DO NOT OUT YOURSELF.

WEAR STICKERS FROM EVERY CANDIDATE IN THE RACE–or only local candidate stickers like your Senate/House contenders.

TALK TO THOSE AROUND YOU AND STUMP FOR VOTES USING GOPER BUZZWORDS.

IF SLATING HAPPENS, DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO GET SLATED FOR EVERY CANDIDATE AND THE UNITY SLATE, AND QUIETLY LET THE TRUMP TEAM AND OTHER TRUMP SUPPORTERS KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING SO THEY VOTE FOR YOU.

Any seasoned campaigner will tell you the single most important thing to do is make sure you get the votes, and the delegate slot. “Voting the slate” is ONLY a good idea IF YOU KNOW EVERYONE ON IT. In THIS game, you’re essentially playing “Liar’s Poker”. Slates can change dozens of times between the first and the moment you mark the ballot, as different party operatives work behind the scenes to get an advantage.

If your convention rules allow you to speak to your district and directly stump, QUIETLY, BEFORE YOU SPEAK, LET KEY TRUMP TEAM MEMBERS OR OTHER DELEGATES KNOW YOU WILL BE SPEAKING GOPER. If the rules don’t allow a speech, it’s up to you to introduce yourself to as many people as possible in your congressional district before the convention starts, and during it before the voting.YOU NEED TO SELL YOURSELF AS A DELEGATE. 

Had I been more focused on actually going to Cleveland as a delegate than building a ground network in AZ, I WOULD have gotten chosen by any means possible–because I KNOW THE RULES. But right now, we all need to also start focusing on building state networks so we can co-opt the GOP and give it to Trump when he gets elected.

I’m sorry if my bald assessment of the ground team in Mesa offends some people. But I feel it is perfectly in order, considering my first hand experience, and the importance of upcoming conventions. I also took the time to write an email to the Trump campaign stating basically what I wrote above, and telling them politely that this is an issue that needs addressing–not the least of which because after Trump wins the nomination, his supporters will be needed to campaign during the run up to the general election. And more than a few of the Trump supporters I met, like myself, had been volunteering on the phone banks and using social media to do what they can for Trump–and were somewhat regretting doing so after yesterday.

More scuttlebutt and a final takeaway to follow, next….

AZGOP Mesa Convention Scuttlebutt

This will be a mishmash of interesting comments, observances, and other small doings in GOPerLand from Mesa, in no particular order–though I will loosely group them into groups to give you the overall picture:

Mesa And The Convention Venue Physical Location:

The Mesa Convention Center itself was easy to find–but the much touted “ample parking” at the facility turned out to be woefully inadequate. We arrived promptly at 7:30, and found all parking lots full and the streets and side streets lined with cars everywhere it was legal to park. The other half had to drop me off and ended up parking a 1/2 block away.

I was doing a general bumper sticker survey at all times driving around Mesa, and in the time there I saw 134 Trump stickers, 51 Cruz, 9 Paul, 19 Kasich, 3 Carson,37 Hillary and 54 Bernie. I also saw while leaving an additional 59 Trump stickers that were brand new or being installed as we were navigating the traffic jam.

Kelli Ward stickers outnumbered Mc Cain stickers over 2 to 1.

Engagement Levels At Candidate Tables During Lunch:

When I got lunch, the other half and I used out tally counters  (the small clicky gizmos you can buy to count things, we own several LOL). From my vantage point in the Quesadilla line I noted that those attending the convention went for the two Barbecue options first, followed by switching to the Quesadilla truck when the BBQ lines got too long. The “organic/healthy food” truck got less than 1/3rd the traffic, but the line was consistent.

I was monitoring Cruz/Trump/Kasich while I had him watching the local candidates. The Cruz Crew had about 50% more total volunteers than Team Trump–but about 5 times as many people were either buying Trump/MAGA gear made by others from the vendor selling fan-designed gear or “Hillary for Prison 2016” shirts than buying Cruz gear. There were a few forlorn looking Kasich shirts being ignored at the shirt vendor’s spot also :-).

In order of popularity, the Tee Shirt Sold Tally from the lunch break:

Trump/MAGA shirts (4 designs available)–259 Adult, plus 26 child/teen

Hillary for Prison 2016–127, 2 different styles, 3 different colors. The round neck tees outsold the Vee necked ones by slightly more than 2 to 1. The guy I was watching ran out of Hillary for Prison Bumper stickers and buttons entirely.

Cruz shirts of any kind: 78. All one style (round/crew neck), 3 different colors.

Kasich: 11. The poor guy even tried hanging them in front, they were ignored.

No “build the Wall” shirts were available–he had sold out entirely, and they were on back order, before this event while doing other local events. The tee shirt guy had 2 helpers, and almost nobody took their gear in bags–everyone was just putting them right on over their clothes.

The Candidate Table Counts:

Trump table: 217, average stay at table 5 minutes.

Cruz table: 97, average stay 16 minutes (more on that in next post)

Kasich table:41, average stay 2 minutes (more on that also)

For the locals–

Kelli Ward table: 319–and Kelli herself was working all the lunch truck lines in between working the table. Average stay was close to 15 minutes, so a constant crush that caused her staffers to try and move people out into groups to answer questions.

Mc Cain: 98–and staffers were visibly working to keep people at the table, as the average stay was less than 3 minutes, while the average stay at Kelli’s table was just under 11 minutes.

Babaeu: 121–his came in “waves”, when he was there, and the average stay was 9 minutes.

In The Lunch Lines:

Talked to an Alfalfa farmer from Buckeye, Cruz voter–polite, nice guy, convinced Cruz was a spiritual person, Constitutional conservative, and statesman. Overheard three women (2 of them Hispanic) vociferously defending Trump from another Cruz guy at the healthy food truck next to us. The guy they were tag teaming on was a mid twenties Latino male, and they ranged in age from mid twenties to over 55.

Talked to a nice minister who was, though not an official Cruz Crew operative, trying to engage any passer by with the information that Cruz was America’s only protection from the Tribulation ( anyone who votes Cruz will be bumped to the top of the Rapture List, everyone)….Which led to a nice argument right next to me as I ate between himself (a Pre-Tribulation Rapture believer) and FIVE other people, 3 male 2 female, all in their mid/late 40’s divided into 2 Mid-Tribulation Rapture believers (one of each gender), and 3 Post Tribulation Rapture people.

The result of the rather convoluted debate was 6 people thumbing through different versions of pocket Bibles, and slinging verses at each other as they walked away (some other people had intervened and asked them to please take the fight further down the sidewalk, they were organic food Yuppie types). The main takeaway from the argument was that regardless of the timing of the Rapture, they all had to unite and pray very hard that the delegates chose rightly.

The healthy food line (which I strolled by slowly to get to a convenient trash can) was almost universally Cruz Country at the time I monitored it, while the best BBQ line was nearly all Trump. They were one upping each other with a long list of touching, patriotic, and heartwarming moments from the Cruz campaign to date.

Inside, I loitered by the concession stand, which is where about 75% of the higher ups were eating, and complaining about the “Secret Star Chamber” slating process, speculating on who had been involved, and gleefully predicting “a bloodbath” during the at-large delegate vote.

They were also chuckling over the fact that only about 15% of the delegates had been slated as supporting any candidate–and the vast majority of those were “names”. Nobody asked me who I supported–had they I would have asked to be slated for everyone, and had advised all the delegates I had connected with to do the same.

It should be noted I have yet to find ANY unknown delegate who was ASKED who we supported for slating purposes at all…..

In the Ladies’ Room:

Of course the ladies’ room was mobbed, all the time *sigh*. Most of the women I met were mid thirties or older, white or Hispanic, though I did also meet 6 Asian women and 2 Black women. Over 1/2 the women I talked to were Cruz supporters–but I converted a group of 8 to Trump when I showed them the interview with Heidi Cruz from some time ago on one of their tablets.

They, like me, couldn’t imagine any “normal” woman conducting business on a Blackberry while in labor–or saying it was great to be able to give up a spare bedroom to live in help so she could still work 80 hours AND support her husband’s career despite having very small children. When we moved out of the entry way back into the convention hall they were already busily spreading that information to friends….

More coming in the next post.