A Successful Primary; Voter Guides can make the Difference

March 14, 2018

The voter guides certainly made the difference where the people were most familiar with them; Collin County. Over 1,200 downloaded and- more importantly, 8-10,000 printed copies voluntarily taken by voters. Of the 12 local races, 11 were won outright and the last one, the recommended person is the top votegetter going into the runoff. They were the talk of the meeting in the McKinney Tea Party meeting tonight. But that level of success only came because of the unbeatable grassroots of Collin County, mainly in over 20 volunteers choosing to hand out the guides at candidate forums, community events, and polling places. These guides are a tool of the grassroots and success cannot be had without them.

Smaller successes elsewhere, with hundreds downloaded in Tarrant, Denton, Dallas, and Montgomery counties. 40 counties proved a bit excessive and I will later post the full counts. Hopefully, next time we will expand further. One of the surest signs of the success is the number of imitations of our style of guide that arose, as well as efforts to discount our guides (laughably calling them ‘pay for play’, while pitching a TRUE ‘pay-for-play’ list as a ‘better alternative’).

The Thursday – Saturday Garbage Dump is Coming!

February 10, 2018

OK: folks. Time to talk about something I first warned about in 20110 before it happened- and have been proven justified with the warning EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Early voting Starts on Monday February 20th, which means this next week we will see the most detestable campaign tactic that generally is deployed; the last-minute garbage dump, normally starting to show up in your mailbox about Thursday. What is will be some horrifying expose of a candidate- often personal in nature, usually not discussed at all before this hits your mailbox.  It’s content is normally quite contestable by the attacked candidate as provable falsehoods, ridiculously out-of-context statements, insinuations, and massively cherry-picked data.  It is saved for the last because the explanations that easily counter it cannot be deliver in time. (Mind you, don’t discount ALL last minute mailers; often a candidate has to answer the mailers you’ve gotten in the 7-10 days before; but look to the content).

These smear pieces are a specialty of certain consultants; Murphy-Nasica is most notorious for this slimeball tactic.  Their clients opponent can pretty well be assured of some garbage coming their way. For example, Bob Hall opponent Cindy Burkett has dropped a HUGE amount of money on Murphy; he’s GUARANTEED to see a dump.

Here’s a good rule of thumb; any attack ads that seem the least bit scurrilous or personal in that time frame, especially on an issue you’ve never seen before or discussing anything or event over 6 month old,  don’t dump them straight in the recycle bin. Take note of the name of the ‘accused’- and plan to vote for that person to help bring an end to this sleaziness. This tactic has backfired SO many times, it’s amazing people are dumb enough to still use it.  But that last minute mailer is income in the pockets of the mud merchants, so they’ll continue pitching its use.

How to Build Your Own County Voter Guide

February 6, 2018

If your county isn’t in the 40 on the right (we tried to get all the major ones), here’s the handy-dandy guide to ‘rolling your own’ (if it’s big enough and important enough, let us know and we’ll TRY to get to it).

  1. First download the Template spreadsheet (A County Guide template)
  2. Open the Secretary of State site for candidates (By County Primary Candidates). Select your county, ‘Republican Party only’, and MOST important, On the ‘Restrict by Status’ poplist, select ‘Candidates on Ballot’. That displays them in the order for YOUR county.
  3. Open the template spreadsheet and reorganize the statewide candidates (including moving their endorsements) in your county’s ballot order.
  4. Now start adding the races specific to your county. Generally I cut & paste the footer text onto a separate worksheet to get it out of the way, then cut the empty frames below my working area, then cut & paste the right ones for the number of candidates until I have all the right frames in place, then populate with the offices and the candidates.
  5. Then start populating the major group endorsements from the following links:
    1. TFR: Texans for Fiscal Responsibility
    2. YCT: Young Conservatives of Texas
    3. EF: Eagle Forum
    4. TVA: Texas Values Action
    5. THSC: Texas Homeschool Coalition
  6. Add any RELIABLE local group’s endorsement to the last column and, after you restor the footer include them in there with any web link.
  7. Review CAREFULLY the result; EASY to make mistakes.

Now repeat 40 times- correcting your massive errors as you go.  If you can do that and stay sane, let me know how. I couldn’t! 😀

Good luck!

Pay for Play; Candidates PAYING for Endorsements

February 3, 2018

For those unfamiliar with the process (people outside of Harris county And now Tarrant county) the process is- in its rawest state simple. Some political emailers/snailmailers offer to endorse a candidate if the ‘help cover’ the cost of the distribution of the news of the endorsement. And for many of those, the person doing the endorsement has a significant interest (either directly, or through family and friends) in the companies that get paid to do the printing/mailing or maintain the email lists.

This is an inherently corrupt process that has made most lists available locally in Harris County of laughable value; more a measure of the checkbook of the candidate’s campaign than any other attribute. Unfortunately most Harris county voters don’t know any better since this has become institutionalized for quite some time. The Link List, the Conservative Republicans of Texas, and Texas Conservative review are all versions of this. Indeed, this money-making tactic is so pervasive in Harris county, they don’t envision any other way of doing things and wrongly assume all ‘slate lists are done the same way.

Unfortunately, a version of this has recently sprouted its ugly head here in North Texas (Fort Worth) that is somewhat different, but no less inherently corrupt. A candidate forum is widely advertised that a ‘straw poll’ will be held to announce ‘endorsements’. The forum is free for voters, but to attend it, a candidate has to pay $800. A candidate not showing up essentially forfeits any real chance. And, of course, a candidate that can organize (or PAY) bodies to show up will generally carry the day; no expertise of even candidate knowledge is required. Anyone who has been to Austin for controversial hearings understand bussing in attendance (whether an actual bus is used or not), normally paid with meal or actual payments, happens all the time. That’s how the anti-sanctuary city bill and Privacy (bathroom) Bill both had an over 50-1 opposed testimony, Such is hardly a reflection for the actual voting population. (UPDATE: it didn’t take 6 hours to be proven right on this, Charlie Geren’s and George P. Bush’s crews organized a ‘packing’ operation, skewed the vote and won despite the conservatives winning everywhere else. Charlie’s group didn’t even man their table!) (UDPADE2: our old Ft Worth nemesis Bud Kennedy pointed out dishonest approaches associated with these folks in 2014; liberals- like broken clocks- do, on rare occasion, provide useful information.)

Most North Texans and central Texans know that there is a better, more ethical way. There are good vetting groups, based on principles and policies, that vett candidates that way and endorse based on that, WITHOUT any quid pro quo, other than to pledge to support for good policies in office. The lists found here ARE those groups. The endorsements are made, these combined lists were constructed and formatted- all at NO direct cost or financial quid pro quo from anyone on them. They are FREE to be download and printed (There is a spot for the name & address of whoever physically prints them to be added to fulfill the letter of the campaign laws, Any individual can spend up to $200 on such undirected efforts and not have to do any reporting.) They are FREE to be turned into mailers by any candidate or PAC who wishes to do so. (In 2014, an unsolicited donor stepped forward AFTER vetting was done and contributed to the North Texas Tea Party PAC to do just this; 105,000 mailers went out and both Matt Rinaldi and Bob Hall will tell you that they made the difference.)

So, to clarify what the lists here represent, the following disclaimer/clarification has been added to the  voter guides of Tarrant and Harris counties:

The groups listed represent tens of thousands of conservative political activists and no candidate listed was required to pay any of these groups or volunteers that made this compilation for consideration or inclusion in this voter guide.

Know the sources and the background of the sources you use to help you decide how to vote- and whether income or profit is a motive.

OK: 40 County-wide Voter Guides Finalized

January 30, 2018

MOSTLY.  All additional changes will be adding good local groups for specific counties; for example, waiting on NETTP for Tarrant County. Local groups were added to Collin, Kaufman, and Smith counties. If you know of good conservative groups we should consider adding to your county, let us know below and provide a link. No ‘pay-for plays’ please; money changes hands to spread their work and we are NOT paid for the stuff we do.
Again, without Holly Podkowa’s meticulous proofreading, much of this would be too error-prone to use. We can’t thank her enough.

Now comes the work of getting these in the voters’ hands. And we need EVERYBODY’S help on that.  Print them out and take them to political meeting and candidate forums; prepare to hand them out at polling locations. This was a LOT of work on this end; help us make it worthwhile.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Other Endorsement Groups

January 24, 2018

One of the problems with assembling a voting guide is selecting the actual groups whose recommendations to include. The ones we have chosen (Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Young Conservatives of Texas, Eagle Forum, Texas Values Action, and the Texas Homeschool Coalition) all have great records for focusing on fairly numerous issues for determining the ‘conservative character’ of various candidates. However, there are other fine groups that make endorsements, but simply for space concerns, could not be included in the formal voter guides. However, If people wish they, or fine local groups can be added to the last column as is appropriate. Their recommendations ARE included in the lists of group recommendations to the right

The first is Grassroots America, We The People (GAWTP) (http://www.gawtp.com) , the Texas branch of which is run out of Tyler by true fire-breathing, rock-ribbed conservative JoAnn Fleming. JoAnn has been giving ulcers to the Establishment and the Professional Political Class for a LONG time. She understands the field of play in Austin and in East Texas probably better than anyone, and applies the Marine motto, ‘No better friend, no worse enemy’ to principled conservatism. GAWTP’s recommendations ARE included in the Smith County Voters Guide, but really are suitable anywhere. Just not enough space.

The next is Texans Uniting for Reform & Freedom (TURF) ( http://www.texasturf.org/) This group is led by Terri Hall whose work capacity is positively terrifying! Mother of 10 kids, homeschools them and works as the premier expert in opposition to tollroads?? This group emphasizes transportation issues, heavily opposes tolling options for them and is a constant presence in Austin in testimony. The reluctantly weren’t included because their focus is a bit narrower than other groups, but they are extremely knowledgeable & effective, with GREAT recommendation for your ballots.

Last but far from least is Texans Right To Life (https://www.texasrighttolifepac.com), the absolutely BEST pro-life group. They are strong advocates not only for the unborn but for those nearing the end of life. Extremely effective and hard-working social conservative group. Again, their somewhat narrower focus is the only reason their recommendations are not included in the default guides, but, if Life issues are critical to you and those your work with, we have absolutely NO objection if people want to add them the to last available column.

However, there ARE groups that we would STRONGLY object anyone trying to associate all the work here with their work. One of those is the Texas Alliance for Life (https://www.texasallianceforlife.org/). TAL started out as a well-meaning group, but has found it more profitable to give misleading cover to Establishment figures by proclaiming them as pro-life. This last session literally saw TAL arguing AGAINST strong pro-life bills, making their ‘sellout’ complete.

Then there are laughably FALSE groups, tasked with putting sheep in sheepdog clothing. Proof of their fallacy is simple to come up with: by reviewing actual voting records of the people they claim to be conservative, not based on some advocacy groups rating, but based on the objective Rice University analysis of ALL contested votes for a given session. On of the most ludicrous (especially this year) is the Conservative Roundtable of Texas (http://conservativeroundtableoftexas.com). Who do they consider ‘Exemplary Conservatives’? Joe Straus, John Zerwas (81st ‘most conservative’ out of 94 non-Speaker GOP members), Chris Paddie (76th out of 94), Trent Ashby (74th out of 94), Four Price (71st out of 94), and Ken Seliger (20th out of 20 GOP Senators), among others. Oh, they always add in a few REAL conservatives, but always ones the Establishment really has no viable challenger trying to defeat them. Those conservatives are the sheepdog ‘cover’ to let the sheep pass themselves off as brave defenders of conservative principles. Their designation is positively hysterical to anyone who actually knows a thing about Austin.

In another posting, we’ll talk about the ‘Pay for Play’ problems of other groups, especially many in Houston.

Combined Voter Guides: 32 Counties Ready to Go

January 20, 2018

OK: got a LOT of work done. MAJOR corrections and got the candidates in the proper ballot order. Also, we’ve got the first pass of the Eagle Forum recommendations added for a stronger overall assessment.

I could not possibly have gotten this is such a superior shape without the help of a neighbor, Holly Podkowa. She has taken upon herself to proofread the work (Which I admit I’m not all that good at) and has done a FANTASTIC job, with great recommendations and catching each and every error.  The only reason the ones now uploaded are usable is because of her extensive work, which has gotten me to work SMARTER and quite pushing for quantity over quality in this effort. Two sets of eyes is ALWAYS better than one.
So, make use of these; they serve well as an addition to candidate literature and- most importantly- as a guide to lower ballot races very useful at polling locations. (Voters ARE allowed to take them in to the polling location with them.) More on all this later.