The 2012 U.S. presidential election is more than two years away, but I’m sure jockeying has already begun. And given President Obama’s current approval ratings, I’m guessing that it will be a very tight, contentious race. What’s the most (cost) effective way for him — or his opponent — to swing a close race? Spending a gazillion dollars on a handful of counties in Ohio and Florida doesn’t seem like the best way to use their respective war chests. There’s definitely a better way…
Quick history quiz. What do the following men have in common?
Theodore Roosevelt, 1912
George Wallace, 1968
H. Ross Perot, 1992
Ralph Nader, 2000
They were all 3rd party candidates in U.S. presidential elections. More importantly, by taking votes away from the major party candidate politically similar to them, they were each major factors — some would say the factor — in the outcome of their respective elections. I’m sure there’s no way that Wilson (1912), Nixon (1968), Clinton (1992), or Bush (2000) put those men up to running, thereby tilting the race in their own favor. But it would’ve been damn smart if they did. Think about it. All you have to do is…
- find someone who (a) isn’t a serial killer / pedophile / communist and (b) can talk a good 30,000-ft-level game
- secretly invest the minimal amount of money necessary to get a “grassroots” campaign off the ground
- have your shill run on a platform a little bit left/right of your opponent
Voilà! You steal enough votes from your opponent to win, for far less than it would cost you to wage a major battle in the swing states/counties. It’s so easy. Your shill doesn’t even need to provide much policy detail; you’re just looking for him/her to capture the imagination of a key segment — which is better achieved with vague, feel-good, half-baked policies.
The only hard part is covering your tracks from your real opponent and the media bloodhounds. But that’s what off-shore accounts and black ops teams are for.
By the way, I’m sure someone has thought of this idea before, but I can’t find anything about it online. Either they don’t want to share the idea publicly or they “disappeared” after doing so. If you never see another san mateo pete post, you’ll know the answer.