Sometimes, when they search their heads, Southern Democrats will wonder what sets the Republicans apart. Sure, the party’s built off of a massive resistance to the civil rights movement and as such encompasses the white power structure, but it’s more than that. In 1998, you had big Democratic wins across the South. It’s possible. So, the Dems ask themselves, why can’t they do it every cycle?
Is it the money, the fundraising advantage? A better way of communicating to voters? Better GOTV? Ten years ago, there were rumors among the donkeys that the elephants on Lady Street had a nationwide GOP LAN they were plugged into (via satellite!), while Democratic field operatives worked on computers with black and white monitors.
Ultimately, you can break things down by race, income, education and the rest of the demographic information that tells us a black woman making $26,000 will almost always vote Democrat, and a white man making $260,000 will almost always vote Republican, at least in South Carolina.
But, one of the things that’s never discussed is the killer instinct. You have to want to bury the fucker. Put all their shady business dealings, mistakes, affairs, bad judgments, whatever it takes, in front of the voters.
In the documentary of the 1994 Ollie North-Chuck Robb U.S. Senate race in Virginia, the truth comes out. It’s election night, and North’s campaign manager knows that his guy got beat – knocked off by an inarticulate Democrat in a landslide cycle for Republicans (of course, there was that thing where North betrayed his country by selling arms to its enemies to fund an illegal war, but that’s another thing). What the campaign manager boiled it down to was that he should have cut Robb’s nuts off from the beginning.
He made the mistake, but few Republicans down here do the same. You’ve got to be willing to castrate the bastard on the other side in order to win. You’ve got to have the killer instinct.
Yes, Republican politics in this state are mean, nasty, bitter and fratricidal, to a point. But, that process creates better candidates and better operatives. Spend some time in a Democratic office, and you get the impression of people that feel like they are a part of a movement that is going to change the world. Spend some time in a Republican office, and you get the impression of people going to war.
That’s the difference between winning and losing.