In 2010 RI Primaries, unions show Republicans how to win elections
Thursday, September 23, 2010
As a Republican, I feel many think I should be angry about this and write about how unions are a irrepressible influence on our local politics. Here’s some perspective from the somewhat recent past. In 2004, I watched a newcomer in Grace Diaz beat an incumbent in Leon Tejada with some heavy support by unions. The weeks leading up to the primary, I saw countless people of many different races doing lit drops, putting up signs, and the like on Diaz’s behalf. It was a serious and formidable operation as Tejada would soon discover.
Before I put on my Republican garb, I’m a grass roots populist. I believe in the collective power of the people, if you will. And unions have for a long time in this state and elsewhere been able to galvanize a core group of voters & volunteers getting their message out to the voter and getting those voters to the polls. This primary season was no different nor is it surprising. Instead, the union victories should tell Republicans, especially those working towards RI Clean Slate, how to win a local election. First, you need cash to infuse into an election. Second, you need to work your butt off. Third, you need a core group of volunteers to do much of the unappreciated but vitally important work of a campaign – namely lit dropping, driving people to the polls, going door-to-door, etc. Not rocket science here folks.
So you could say that the union victories weren’t necessarily victories only for unions but victories showing that when a collective group gets together they can get things done. What’s sad is that this primary saw the fewest voters in over a decade perhaps signaling that RI voters are apathetic. Union strength is amplified during those times because they simply can get their constituents to the polls better than other groups. So, and this is directed at you Republican party, will you be able to organize a ground game like the unions or will you be lamenting their strength (again) on November 3?
Time will tell.
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