Saturday, December 29, 2012
There's an old saying in the business world: Nothing kills a bad product better than good advertising. According to a piece in The Huffington Post, Florida's attempts at disenfranchising voters resulted in roughly 49,000 people choosing to stay home rather than wait in incredibly long lines at polling places. And yet, Barack Obama still captured the state along with its 29 electoral votes on election night.
Florida wasn't the only state to go out of its way to discourage certain voters from staying away from the polls. Voter ID laws in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia were designed to prevent the President from winning reelection. The Pennsylvania law was ostensibly stayed, while the Ohio law was basically neutered. In the end, not one effort by Republican governors to deny key blocks from voting proved successful. The reason was really quite simple.
The GOP was so over the top in its campaign to suppress voter turnout that the very groups they were looking to undermine were more determined than ever to vote. Turnout among African American and Hispanic voters approached '08 levels.
In an ironic twist of fate, what the Republican Party had intended for political gain, badly boomeranged on it. The result was a trouncing on election night to the astonishment of a great many conservatives, most of whom had badly overestimated the chickens they had in the coop.
And now, fresh off a self-inflicted wound, the GOP must come to terms with a staggering reality: the groups of voters they had gone out of their way to alienate aren't likely to forget how badly they were treated. Indeed, they'll be certain to remember the slight.
Which brings me to another favorite saying of mine: ignore your customers and they'll go away.