Idaho Democrats refuse to repeat errors of the past
House Speaker Scott Bedke says it’s okay for two fellow GOP House members to take compensation that they didn’t deserve. The Tribune’s Marty Trillhaase is to be commended for drawing attention to this betrayal. Good job.
For the record, Idaho Democrats say shame on Speaker Bedke and his twisted political peers who put power above duty to their neighbors, their state, and their nation. This kind of ugly, in-your-face, corruption is the pastime of tyrants and traitors.
Are we laying it on too thick?
Well, we need to be unambiguous because Trillhaase asks: “Why would Idaho Democrats allow him (Bedke) to get away with it?”
That’s a weird question. The Speaker is master of his own bad choices. And, of course, the Party will integrate those bad choices into our broader strategy to win seats in 2018. In short, you can be sure that Idaho Dems will pick our shots and use tactics that work.
You see, the Idaho Democratic Party has wised up. We take to heart the adage: The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
That means we don’t squander time and energy using tactics that no longer work.
Many well-meaning folks advise us to proceed as though we still live in a pre-internet era when people read newspapers, watched three TV news stations, and listened to local radio for non-fake news. Back then, a political party could “fire off” a press release and actually affect public opinion. Back then, a front-page story could kill political careers.
Alas, along with the Fairness Doctrine, those days have passed. Our world’s beloved billionaires have pushed us into a bold, new, alternative-fact-filled future.
Just think of it: The President of the United States is surviving a scandal that involves an open-door policy at the White House to … Russian spies!
Hey, GOP friends! How do you suppose that would square with the Gipper?
Idaho Dems are embracing new ways to communicate. We’re letting folks know that an Idahoan’s work is worth more than $7 an hour. That country kids ought to have as good an education as city kids. And that we mean it when we say, “Idaho is not for sale.”
For now, the best way to reach voters is often to side-pass traditional media altogether. This year, we’ve started a program to activate and manage a pool of 600 volunteers — our Rapid Responders — who spread the word over the telephone.
In fact, when Idaho Dems first heard about Reps. Trujillo and Moyle lining their pockets with per diem booty, our Rapid Responders hit the phones with that message. We pushed it out over social media and email. One unboosted Facebook post reached 12,000 individuals.
Recently, we’ve focused on U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador’s national news — Really? No one dies from a lack of health care? Good grief, Congressman. That’s ridiculous.
When the timing is right, we’ll return to Bedke. Maybe our Rapid Responders will call his hometown. Maybe we’ll call Rep. Mike Moyle’s district. Maybe we’ll call Rep. Janet Trujillo’s Idaho Falls district to let folks know that she seems to have a new home with her new husband — 300 miles across the state. Maybe we’ll send letters, or emails, or write to newspapers. Maybe we’ll send a press release to TV, radio, and newspapers.
We use many methods to connect with voters. But much of what we do is a more direct form of contact than offered by the traditional media. Don’t get me wrong. We know that this kind of political outreach isn’t as splashy as front-page headlines. But my point is that front-page headlines aren’t all that splashy either — not anymore.
Idaho Dems will not be pressured into using time-honored tactics that no longer work. That’s a sure-fire way to lose. We will refuse to make this mistake. You do not win tomorrow’s elections by running yesterday’s campaigns.
Dean Ferguson is the interim Executive Director of the Idaho Democratic Party.