There’s a danger with “Scare ‘em.” Campaigning on fear and smear, you either have to be correct, or you’d better win. Why? Because what if you lose, and your opponent spends the next few years not doing what you warned? What then?
I’ll tell you what: That opponent will become very, very tough to unseat.
Take Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. Since his 2010 election to Governor, Democrat fear-mongers have branded him an anti-education zealot (since he opposes collective bargaining for public teacher unions). It’s been brutal. Spending incredible sums of money, nationwide unions and leftist mega-donors treat “Defeat Scott Walker” as a new religion.
Don’t believe me? Try walking the streets of Madison during election season. It’s like walking through a cult training video, complete with foul-smelling halfwits shoving literature in your face. “Would you like to know the love and joy of killing Scott Walker? Oh no, I don’t mean ‘literally’ (twitch! twitch!), but I discover lasting peace through meditating on Scott Walker being much, much less alive. Perhaps you’d like to focus your cleansing rage through one of our crystals! (it’s an ice cube) Not today? Why not? Hey, look at me when I’m speaking to you! Walker hates teachers and children! You hate him, don’t you? Don’t you? AREN’T YOU AT PEACE???”
The more these wackos accuse Walker, the more Wisconsinites see schools functioning nicely, along with a balanced budget and rising job creation. After several quick elections (including a hilarious recall attempt), Walker’s agenda speeds merrily onward. He’s nearly invincible now. Why? The first accusations proved false, so people are less open to new ones. These days, every super-financed anti-Walker campaign only produces booming tourism numbers. It’s like fresh snow on Colorado ski slopes.
Speaking of my home state, Colorado, Democrats here will soon learn another painful lesson in “Scare ‘em” politics. Witness newly elected GOP Senator, Cory Gardner. The now-vanquished Mark Udall spent his entire campaign pushing “War on Women” rhetoric, insisting Gardner would take away birth control and deny abortion choice to rape victims. So relentless were these ads, Colorado’s top liberal newspaper called Udall’s campaign “obnoxious.” They even endorsed Gardner.
Now, the Democrats have created a monster. Neither forcing rape victims to carry their rapists’ children nor outlawing BC pills, Gardner will confirm daily the preposterous nature of Udall’s claims. Oh, he’ll do a good job, too. As the months pass, Gardner will become more and more bulletproof, and he partly has Udall to thank for it. By 2020, he’ll sail to re-election.
My plan is to feature a running tally on our website—a tally of days accrued without Gardner and the Republicans forcing rape victims to carry the offspring of their rapists. Seriously. I want Conservatives reminding voters every passing month, to further erase this sickening talking point from the Democrats’ arsenal. “Gee, still no legislation outlawing contraception! Gee, still no legislation forcing rape victims to carry their rapists’ children! But…but…Udall promised!” This time, the Dems will pay for their “Scare ‘em” lies—and they’ll pay with interest. In 2016, they’ll pay with Colorado’s other Senate seat.
The strategy goes both ways, of course. In 2008, Al Franken barely won his Senate seat with a highly dubious recount in Minnesota, but rather than focus only on his policy ideas during the campaign, Republicans made a big point of his vulgar comedy routines. Fast forward six years, and Franken has done nothing objectionable his whole time in office (except for his voting record). And so, despite atrocious performance, Franken sailed to a landslide re-election, partly because people remembered how wrong we were in warning of his behavior. This discredited our campaign.
But here’s the good news: The Left uses “Scare ‘em” far more than the Right, and this year’s entire newly minted class of Republicans will benefit greatly. I say we use this Democrat mistake—big time—reminding voters how these warnings have proven embarrassingly wrong.
Many Conservatives were upset at the "War on Women" motif, but if we handle this right, it will be the Democrats who are more upset in 2016.