Follow-up analysis: Should 2 people drop out of the TUSD school board race?

Time is money.

I wrote a really tough (for me) article earlier this week suggesting that at least 2 people should drop out of the TUSD school board race. Getting to know the candidates makes it tougher to be objective and honest with them, but then again getting to know the candidates is what one should do to be well-informed.

As expected, all candidates are doubling-down, as they should, if they are really serious about this board race. However, doubling-down after just one blog post is just the first of many obstacles that will need to be overcome to win this election.

To whichever candidates win, this is when the real tough job begins, as you become the target of daily criticism not just by the blogs, but by print media as well (if they are still doing their jobs by then).

I have run this idea, about two people dropping out to maximize the chances of changing the school board, to many different people from all sides of the spectrum who follow TUSD closely. Everyone agrees; Yes, two people should get out so there is a unified front to defeat Kristel and Cam.

My article focused on who I thought the two least-formidable candidates were at this point in time. There are huge machines that are supporting/NEED Kristel and Cam to win in order to continue the hegemony of the current Sanchez-Grijalva regime in TUSD.

There are even rich Republicans in Paradise Valley that can all of a sudden drop $5,000 for both of them, and this happened despite Kristel and Cam being strongly-entrenched Democrats. The unions, which also follow the tune of the leader of the G-Crew will also throw their resources — time and money — behind these two.

There’s also the advantage they may have from being the incumbents with name-recognition.

To defeat them will take lots of time and/or money.

The less time a candidate has — the fewer days they walk door-to-door and the fewer volunteers they have making calls and walking on their behalf — then the more money they will need. I would argue that the time is probably more powerful, as those real-life personal connections are made by home visit or phone call. Thus that much more money will be needed to compensate for the lack of time put into this race.

Meeting 1,000 people by walking is strong, definitely stronger than sending out 1,000 pamphlets by mail since only a small fraction of the electorate will even read all that literature, but I think this is even more powerful than road signs. Signs are needed, but tons are needed just to break even and to have as much name recognition as the top incumbents running, and at this point this is even less personal than the visits, the calls, and the mass mailings.

But even this is more powerful than nothing at all, which is what you get when you have minimal money to compensate for the lack of time commitments.

The point here is that massive amounts of time and money are needed. A whole volunteer crew is needed, people donating hours and hours consistently to help you walk and call, to help you with many other things, including plugging you into their network to meet Tucson’s leaders; those who can help you with even more connections which helps you raise even more money to become a formidable opponent.

This is the main reason I do not run for office. I have a job and family that take up a lot of my time, as does this blog, and to make up for that time I would need massive amounts of money, and I’m not the type of person that likes to ask for money constantly. However, I have been involved in many campaigns and I know that this is what is needed; either a massive grassroots crew of people passionate about your campaign (think Bernie) who are pumping all their resources into getting you elected, or tons of money.

In the end Bernie had lots of both, but still lost as he fought against the party powers and a “almost-” incumbent with the same last name as a recent President.

If you are not all-in on this TUSD board race, then you are wasting everyone else’s time and money.

Time and/or money spent on you, if you are not ALL-IN, is time and money that could have gone to those candidates that are all-in and who are really posing a threat to the status quo.

Just your mere presence can get in the way of progress since in the end you may siphon votes away from the other candidates.

Do not underestimate the power of the mere presence in an election!

As an informed voter and educational activist, in the end I might vote for one of the very people I think should drop out now!

Consider the following scenario

There are five random candidates running for three open seats which we will call F, J, S, P, R. Now suppose people on both sides of the aisle strongly believe that F and J need to go immediately in order to change the balance of unchecked power in TUSD.

Now let’s suppose that S, P and R are not necessarily aligned politically. For example, suppose that Republicans prefer S while Democrats may prefer P. So let’s suppose that that Republicans single-shot for S while Democrats single-shot for P. While a single-shot for S is obviously good for S, it is also not necessarily harming P, and vice-versa, since their vote tally stays the same.

Now consider the mere presence of two other options; LR and RS, and we know that LR is Democrat while RS is Republican.

Now the left-leaning person, instead of single-shot voting for P will now also vote for LR also. Now this hurts S since we can now think of this as not just a zero increase for their tally, but as a decrease in the sense that now S needs another vote just to catch up.

Here’s a very simple simulation to demonstrate this:

Let’s suppose there are 10 voters; 6 are liberal and 4 are conservative. Then a possible outcome of these 10 voters voting for two candidates is:

 P these two single-shot

P — LR
 P — LR
 P — LR
 P — LR these 4 go with the liberal choice.

S — single-shot

S — RS
 S — RS
 S — RS these 3 go with the conservative choice.

If LR and RS were not in the race, then P and S would win, but now with their mere presence our final tally is:

P = 6
 LR = 4
 S = 4
 RS = 3

Now the vote has been split and S must now compete with LR to win. In fact, now S needs much more time and/or money because of the mere presence of LR.

Of course, this is just one simplified scenario of many, but hopefully it illustrates some of the possible outcomes that may occur.

So perhaps a new conclusion of this article might be that S should drop out instead? This might be ideal, but what if LR is not providing the time and/or money required to defeat the F and J incumbency?

Now consider that you can vote for 3 people, and instead of 5 options there are now 7 (the current situation in the TUSD race). You can see how easily it will be to “dilute” some candidates as voters split their votes, rather than in a unified front method, in a scatter-shot method.

Now to come back to the real situation in TUSD…

To Rachael, I am just trying to give you a heads-up, but be ready for some massive attacks that you have brought upon yourself with some of your recent actions, from collecting signatures before you even filed as a candidate, to your super-sloppy campaign finance reports, to more…

To Lori, if you stay in the race I may vote for you, but that means you should repay that vote from me, and others like me, with a full 100% dedication to this school board race. That means you need to start collecting tons more money also. Anything short of 100% is both a waste of time and money to those who donate either to you.

To Mark, now with 5 instead of 3 options to replace the current board majority, you will now have to work even harder than you are now, needing either more volunteers or more money or both, just to win as votes get split up to dilute your tally. If you are not going to get that extra time or money, maybe it is you that should consider dropping out?

This goes for Betts and Brett also.

The mere presence of 2 extra options requires the three who have been raising the most money and working hard via volunteer time so far to now work even harder or to get more time somehow.

Thus the mere presence of 2 extra options, by making it harder for all the non-board-majority candidates, now it makes it easier and more like for the two in the board majority to get re-elected. Two extra options dilutes the power of the other 3 candidates and makes it easier for Kristel and Cam to return to power.

The right to run for office is a right that I will not question. If you want to run for office, then by all means do so. But just keep in mind that you will have targets on you from all sides, and with TUSD things can get really nasty (I could not even speak at the last call-to-the-audience because the current majority imposed extra rules beyond state statute to limit my free speech).

And even if your candidacy does not garner a lot of attention, or perhaps even gets ignored by media, in the end the uninformed voter will randomly choose even the least-formidable candidate as they randomly choose three candidates for this race that comes on the flip-side and at the bottom of the ballot. Rather than have a unified opposition to the current board majority, we now have a diluted force taking on the powerful G-Force.

With many candidates diluting the entire field, you sometimes end up with a Trump. I have no doubt that if there were not 17 Republicans running, there would be no Trump today. Possibilities such as Trump winning his primary are made more likely as the more the alternative choices become diluted with the mere presence of too many candidates.

Originally published at TSON News.

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