UPDATED: Are Michigan Republicans so flush with money they don’t have to target mailings? Or are they just dumb?


Yesterday I got a full-size, thick paper glossy mailing from Terri Lynn Land’s campaign. I also got TWO from Bill Schuette’s campaign, both different.

Now, most Eclectablog readers know what my political leaners are and that they are decidedly NOT leaning in the direction of the GOP. In fact, I am an elected Precinct Delegate and on the Executive Board for the Washtenaw County Democratic Party as co-Vice Chair for Precinct Organizing. I was also a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

You should see my Democratic score in the Voter Activation Network (VAN) database. It’s off the charts.

In other words, it’s pretty much not a secret that I am about as hardcore a Democrat as you are likely to find and that doesn’t even count the hundreds of thousands of words I write each month celebrating Democratic candidates and ideals while bashing on Republicans.

In short, I’m not going to vote for Terri Lynn Land or Bill Schuette, no matter how many pretty or threatening mailings you send me.

I’m not the only one in this situation. My friend Laura Packard posted about this last week on Facebook:

Michigan GOP targeting fail. Got three mailers today even though a) I mailed back my absentee ballot a couple days ago, b) I am a sitting elected DEMOCRATIC precinct delegate and c) even the most basic targeting info on me, my age, gender, location, past voting history would tell them I am never going to vote their way. Their GOTV mailers were accompanied by at least two fundraising solicitations from Dem candidates (who are better at mail).

Last week Mark Schauer was in Washtenaw County and took a question from someone in the audience about all of the GOP mail she’s been getting, wondering why she wasn’t seeing any Dem mail. Mark explained to her that the Democrats are far more strategic than that. We don’t bother our loyal supporters with mailings and we don’t send them to Republicans either, for the most part. Both of these would be a complete waste of money. The Michigan Democrats are being strategic, targeting undeceided voters (for persuasion) and sporadic Democrats who generally don’t vote in the midterm elections (for GOTV/get out the vote.)

That’s smart and, given the impressive VAN database the Democrats use, it is being done in a very targeted, precise way.

The Republicans don’t appear to be doing this. They are just flinging everything they have at the wall and don’t care who they splatter with it. It’s wasteful and it means one of three things:

It possibly means they have so much damn money that they don’t have to be targeted. They can send mail to everyone over and over and still have enough left over to fund robocalls and television ads and mobile billboards and even sky writing.

It might also mean that they don’t have the sophisticated data that the Dems are using that are allowing them to be so precise in their targeting. In other words, they are simply trailing Dems when it comes to accumulating and utilizing data for the most efficient operation possible.

Finally, it might mean that they are tragically stupid and don’t understand the value of being strategic. Perhaps they just think that endless mailers and negative attack ads are the way to win elections.

Given the evidence, it’s very hard to tell which of these three explanations are the right one but, if you ask me, I’ll bet it’s all three.

UPDATE: As soon as I posted this I started hearing from other folks. Apparently MI-07 candidate for Congress Pam Byrnes has received mail from Bill Schuette.

Also, too: Michigan Democratic Party Communications Director Josh Pugh who wrote to say, “I am also a Precinct Delegate and, you know, a paid staffer who has voted in every Democratic primary (which is public information available from the Secretary of State.)

[Photo/graphic by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]