Huey P. Long’s biographer, T. Harry Williams describes the Louisiana politician’s theory of campaigning. Early in his political career, Long travelled the back roads of Louisiana to towns his opponents considered not worth visiting. Huey calculated that, before he began speaking, a third of the crowd in a town would already be inclined to vote for him because of his party affiliation or what they’d heard about him, and another third would be opposed for the same reasons. And he figured that, if he spoke colorfully and eloquently enough about matters that concerned them, he could win over more than half of the undecided one-third of his listeners. It worked.
As we move into the 2018 campaign season, I think we could do worse than follow Huey P. Long’s theory. A recent poll found that 45% of Minnesotans think President Trump is doing a good job. Presuming this approval translates into support for candidates of Trump’s Republican party, working family candidates associated with the DFL have their work cut out for them.
But the poll also found a slightly greater number of Minnesotans – 47% – disapproving of the President’s work.
So the breakdown isn’t Long’s 1/3rd, 1/3rd, 1/3rd, but I think his theory still applies. We’re starting out with a large number of Trump/Republican supporters, significant numbers of voters who likely lean DFL because they disapprove of Trump’s work, and a smaller population of folks who are undecided. Our challenge is to:
- Reinforce the convictions of those who already favor working family candidates;
- Attract and win over the undecided, by addressing their concerns convincingly; and
- Motivate all supporters of working family candidates to vote come November.
Easy, huh? Lets get to it, then.
Things you can do right now
Help with phoning for February 12 special elections in SD 54 and HD 23B. Call the St. Paul RLF (651-846-9318), or the Southeast Area Labor Council in Mankato (507-316-1999).
Attend your precinct caucus, Tuesday Feb. 6.
Attend the Minnesota AFL-CIO 2018 Campaigns Conference, Feb. 15-16. Call the State Retiree Council for details: 651-227-7647 ext. 121
Bill Moore, President