Podcast 24

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Republican Texas Congressman Will Hurd about how he managed to get re-elected in 2018 in a blueish district, going against the national outcome. Congressman Hurd’s story is great, but the closing of the article is a lesson for all Republicans moving forward in how to approach outreach and communicating with communities that might be new to us. In this episode, we explore what new approaches might look like, and why the old ones are useless.

The concluding portion of the article that was read in this episode:

He tells a story about his first visit to Eagle Pass, another border town. Mr. Hurd showed up to a tardeada, an afternoon party, where there were hundreds of people. At 6-foot-4 he’s hard to miss, and he recalls that the band stopped playing when he walked in. “Everybody asked the question: ‘Why are you here?’ ” he says. “My answer was, because I like to drink beer and eat cabrito”—roast kid goat—“too. And everybody laughed. And the second time I showed up, people actually shook my hand, all right? Third time I showed up, you’d have people walk by”—he drops to a conspiratorial whisper—“and be like, ‘I’m a Republican.’ Fourth time, people would talk about some of the problems that they had. Fifth time, I was able to talk about, ‘Hey, here’s the way we can solve it.’ ”

His share of the vote in that county has since risen from 18%, to 21%, to 27%. “Now, it’s not huge,” Mr. Hurd says, “but that delta is what makes up—you know, you put those together in 29 different places, and this is how you win.”

Steve Parkhurst Interviewed by French Newspaper About Big Data

Steve Parkhurst was recently interviewed by Elisabeth Guédel of the conservative French newspaper l’Opinion. The two discussed Big Data in America in 2016 and in the French Presidential elections of 2017. The writer reached out because of Steve’s report on Big Data, free for download.

Note: The translation from French to English was done using Google Translate, so take that with a grain of salt.

In the US, the “profiling” of still further constituents

The strength of the digital teams Barack Obama contributed to the difference in 2008 and especially in 2012

In the US, everyone remembers “the victory of Big Data,” as the newspapers headlined at the re-election of Barack Obama in 2012. The US president had been able to target 15 million indecisive and broaden its base Election compared to 2008, particularly among young people. The digital campaign has become a model of its kind which today inspire presidential candidates next year.”The tools are not exactly new for 2016, but they are refined, said the political advisor big data expert, Steve Parkhurst, the Texas firm American Renaissance. The campaign teams develop a multitude of tablet and smartphone applications to better achieve and identifying potential voters. “64% of Americans today have a mobile phone, according to Pew Research, against 35% in spring 2011, when the presidential election campaign began.

. Swing states The “profiling” method evolved: there four years, voter identification was based on geolocation, defined from residential areas. Today, it is a “get people where they are, that is, anywhere,” said Steve Parkhurst yet. Although residents of “swing states” – those American States which can switch in the Democratic camp or the Republicans one election to another – are still targeted, research is no longer based on an address or postal code but on the tastes, preferences and conversations. It is crossed with the analysis of data available on social networks, the number of users in the US is expected to exceed 186 million in 2016 against 160 million in 2012, according to estimates. Seven US ten Internet users today have a Facebook account.

The strength of the digital teams Barack Obama was their ability to “track” the BarackObama.com website could leave up to 87 different cookies while browsing, MittRomney.com, website Republican rival candidate, not included as 48, revealed the Wall Street Journal in November 2012. The information collectors have informed accurately about the habits of Internet users – what read newspapers, or favorite foods charities supported by example and helped to customize the messages that whether in emails to solicit donations and volunteer hours or in political commercials.

“Massive data are not sufficient in themselves, Steve Parkhurst notes, however, you also have the right person asking the right questions.” Barack Obama had attracted a genius  cloud  as Harper Reed, key man of his campaign 2012. Not sure Hillary Clinton, despite the help of Groundwork, a start-up created by the Executive President of Alphabet (parent Google) Eric Schmidt to help the candidate to hire talent, also has an attractive candidate.

Paul Ryan: A New Direction in the War on Poverty

By Steve Parkhurst

It’s no secret, I’m a big fan and admirer of Paul Ryan. I’ve said for a while that his years of working with the late Jack Kemp, have helped mold him into a modern day Kemp. You don’t have to search our site long to find examples of this.

Congressman Ryan wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, outlining a few of his thoughts on the 50 years of the failed “war on poverty.” I wanted to take this time to highlight a few passages, though I’d encourage you to read the entire op-ed.

Yet for all its professed concern about families in need, Washington is more concerned with protecting the status quo than with pursuing what actually works.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. For years, politicians have pointed to the money they’ve spent or the programs they’ve created. But despite trillions of dollars in spending, 47 million Americans still live in poverty today. And the reason is simple: Poverty isn’t just a form of deprivation; it’s a form of isolation. Crime, drugs and broken families are dragging down millions of Americans. On every measure from education levels to marriage rates, poor families are drifting further away from the middle class.

Touche!

Poverty isn’t a rare disease from which the rest of us are immune. It’s the worst strain of a widespread scourge: economic insecurity. That’s why concern for the poor isn’t a policy niche; it goes to the heart of the American experiment. What the poor really need is to be reintegrated into our communities. But Washington is walling them up in a massive quarantine.

Absolutely true.

On this less-than-golden anniversary, we should renew the fight. The federal government needs to take a comprehensive view of the problem. It needs to dump decades-old programs and give poor families more flexibility. It needs to let communities like Pulaski High develop their own solutions. And it needs to remember that the best anti-poverty program is economic growth.

Ryan closes:

Other areas ripe for reform include health care, criminal justice and federal regulations. After all, the cultural antibodies that heal communities are already present and hard at work. For policy makers, the question is, how do we spread their influence? What barriers do we remove? What incentives do we put in place? And to whom do we look for guidance—government bureaucrats or community leaders?

For 50 years, we’ve been going in the wrong direction, and liberals want to march on. Some in Washington insist that you’re concerned for the poor only if you’re committed to a path that has failed the poor. But the question isn’t whether we should do more or less of the same. It is which new direction will work best.

That one line, “the cultural antibodies that heal communities are already present and hard at work,” that’s really strong. Think about it. These ideas are things that can lead to that American Renaissance that lies ahead, that we need.

Senator Rand Paul Sums It Up

By Steve Parkhurst

US Senator Rand Paul has a terrific op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today. I want to suggest reading the entire op-ed, but in lieu of that, this is the quote that needs to be memorized and repeated:

Monitoring the records of as many as a billion phone calls, as some news reports have suggested, is no modest invasion of privacy. It is an extraordinary invasion of privacy. We fought a revolution over issues like generalized warrants, where soldiers would go from house to house, searching anything they liked. Our lives are now so digitized that the government going from computer to computer or phone to phone is the modern equivalent of the same type of tyranny that our Founders rebelled against.

Get that into the schools today!

Do yourself a favor and read the entire op-ed here.

Paul Ryan: A Balanced Budget By 2023

The Path to Prosperity, Paul Ryan, GPH Consulting

Congressman Paul Ryan has taken to the pages of the Wall Street Journal today to explain the new Republican balanced budget proposal. There are many great things to like in this balanced budget, and you can view the entire budget here, view many useful charts and tools here, but today’s op-ed below is a good place to start.

 

Wall Street Journal GPH-Consulting.com

By Paul Ryan

America’s national debt is over $16 trillion. Yet Washington can’t figure out how to cut $85 billion—or just 2% of the federal budget—without resorting to arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. Clearly, the budget process is broken. In four of the past five years, the president has missed his budget deadline. Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in over 1,400 days. By refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation’s debt—or simply to write a budget—Washington lurches from crisis to crisis.

House Republicans have a plan to change course. On Tuesday, we’re introducing a budget that balances in 10 years—without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn’t have. Historically, Americans have paid a little less than one-fifth of their income in taxes to the federal government each year. But the government has spent more.

So our budget matches spending with income. Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we’ll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade.

Our opponents will shout austerity, but let’s put this in perspective. On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy.

Yet the most important question isn’t how we balance the budget. It’s why. A budget is a means to an end, and the end isn’t a neat and tidy spreadsheet. It’s the well-being of all Americans. By giving families stability and protecting them from tax hikes, our budget will promote a healthier economy and help create jobs. Most important, our budget will reignite the American Dream, the idea that anyone can make it in this country.

The truth is, the nation’s debt is a sign of overreach. Government is trying to do too much, and when government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So a balanced budget is a reasonable goal, because it returns government to its proper limits and focus. By curbing government’s overreach, our budget will give families the space they need to thrive.

The other side will warn of a relapse into recession—just as they predicted economic disaster when the budget sequester hit. But a balanced budget will help the economy. Smaller deficits will keep interest rates low, which will help small businesses to expand and hire. It’s no surprise, then, that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office believes that legislation reducing the deficit as much as our budget does would boost gross national product by 1.7% in 2023.

We must take action now. Our budget will expand opportunity in major areas like energy. It will protect and strengthen key priorities like Medicare. It will encourage social mobility by retooling welfare. It will fix the broken tax code to create jobs and increase wages.

First, energy. America has the world’s largest natural-gas, oil and coal reserves—enough natural gas to meet the country’s needs for 90 years. Yet the administration is buying up land to prevent further development. Our budget opens these lands to development, so families will have affordable energy. It approves the Keystone XL pipeline, which will create 20,000 direct jobs—and 118,000 indirect jobs. Our budget puts the country on the path to North American energy independence.

Second, health care. Our budget repeals the president’s health-care law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms. It also protects and strengthens Medicare. I want Medicare to be there for my kids—just as it’s there for my mom today. But Medicare is going broke. Under our proposal, those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on. Starting in 2024, we’ll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose—including traditional Medicare—and help them pay the premiums.

The other side will demagogue this issue. But remember: Anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program’s demise.

Third, welfare reform. After the welfare reforms of 1996, child poverty fell by double digits. This budget extends those reforms to other federal aid programs. It gives states flexibility so they can tailor programs like Medicaid and food stamps to their people’s needs. It encourages states to get people off the welfare rolls and onto payrolls. We shouldn’t measure success by how much we spend. We should measure it by how many people we help. Those who protect the status quo must answer to the 46 million Americans living in poverty.

Fourth, tax reform. The current tax code is a Rubik’s cube that Americans spend six billion hours—and $160 billion—each year trying to solve. The U.S. corporate tax is the highest in the industrialized world. So our budget paves the way for comprehensive tax reform. It calls for Congress to simplify the code by closing loopholes and consolidating tax rates. Our goal is to have just two brackets: 10% and 25%. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has committed to pass a specific bill this year.

If we take these steps, the United States will once again become a haven of opportunity. The economy will grow, and the country will regain its strength. All we need is leadership. Washington owes the American people a balanced budget. It isn’t fair to take more from families so government can spend more.

A balanced budget isn’t unprecedented. President Bill Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to get it done. House Republicans’ last two budgets balanced, too—albeit at a later date. But a balanced budget is still a noteworthy achievement, considering the competition.

The recent debt-ceiling agreement forced Senate Democrats to write a budget this year, and we expect to see it this week. I hate to break the suspense, but their budget won’t balance—ever. Instead, it will raise taxes to pay for more spending. The president, meanwhile, is standing on the sidelines. He is expected to submit his budget in April—two months past his deadline.

We House Republicans have done our part. We’re offering a credible plan for all the country to see. We’re outlining how to solve the greatest problems facing America today. Now we invite the president and Senate Democrats to join in the effort.

— Mr. Ryan, a Republican, represents Wisconsin’s first congressional district and is chairman of the House Budget Committee.

– –

A version of this article appeared March 12, 2013, on page A17 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The GOP Plan to Balance the Budget by 2023.

Marco Rubio WSJ Weekend Interview

Wall Street Journal GPH-Consulting.com

In case you have not seen it yet, Saturday’s Wall Street Journal features a very good interview with US Senator Marco Rubio.

A couple of segments are worth excerpting:

In terms of legislative strategy, Mr. Rubio says he would want to see “a comprehensive package of bills”—maybe four or five as opposed to one omnibus—move through Congress concurrently. He says other experience with “comprehensive” reform (ObamaCare, the recent debt deal) shows how bad policy easily sneaks into big bills. It would also offer a tempting big target for opponents. Other reformers think that only a comprehensive bill can address the toughest issues. “It’s not a line in the sand for me,” replies Mr. Rubio.

Not missing a chance to tweak the president, he says that Mr. Obama has “not done a thing” on reform and may prefer to keep it alive as an electoral winner for Democrats with Hispanics for years to come. But, then again, “maybe he’s interested in his legacy,” Mr. Rubio adds, and open to a deal. The president, he says, would need to bring over Big Labor and talk back the most ardent pro-immigration groups from “unrealistic” positions on citizenship for illegals.

Is immigration reform a magic bullet for the GOP’s troubles with Hispanic voters?

“No,” Mr. Rubio says, but “the immigration issue is a gateway issue for Hispanics, no doubt about it. No matter what your stance is on a number of other issues, if people somehow come to believe that you don’t like them or want them here, it’s difficult to get them to listen to anything else.”

He adds: “I think it’s the rhetoric by a handful of voices in the minority, but loud nonetheless, that have allowed the left to create an unfair perception that conservatives and Republicans are anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration, and we do have to overcome that.”

After two relatively quiet years in the Senate, Mr. Rubio is taking his first significant risk. Often mentioned in talk about a 2016 presidential run, he has decided to make immigration a signature issue.

WSJ: Teachers Unions vs. Black Kids

The Wall Street Journal has this on their website today. I thought it was a short enough blurb, that it needed to be shared. This is crazy.

By JASON L. RILEY

Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana signed into law an expanded school choice program for underprivileged kids. Naturally, the teachers unions are suing to block it. Oral arguments begin tomorrow.

The program provides scholarships to poor families with children in failing schools. Last year, 36% of the state’s public schools received a D or F ranking, according to the Louisiana Department of Education. Some 5,000 kids are participating in the program and many are black, which is why the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is defending the law.

“There is no greater injustice than to tell children that they don’t deserve a chance at the best possible education because their family can’t afford it,” said Kenneth Campbell of BAEO in press release from the Institute for Justice, which represents families using the program. “No one should be treated any less or be prevented from gaining access to high quality educational options based on their income or zip code.”

The teachers unions claim to be taking issue with how the program is funded. The reality is that they oppose its existence. The top priority of the unions is their members, not whether children are receiving a quality education. Denying school choice to people who can’t afford private schools or to move to a neighborhood with better public schools is a way for unions to ensure that their members have jobs.

WSJ: Informed Independents Cool to ObamaCare

Today’s Wall Street Journal features this rather interesting, and informative column about the view independents have toward ObamaCare.

Presenting facts about even popular aspects of the health-care law had a side effect: increasing support for Mitt Romney.

By Heather R. Higgins and Hadley Heath

Just a few days ago, the conventional wisdom about the presidential campaign was beginning to take hold: Mitt Romney’s candidacy had failed to catch fire, and Barack Obama’s re-election was almost certain. Wednesday’s debate upended that notion. While there is still plenty of time for more twists in the campaign, it is clear that many voters who thought they had enough information about the candidates are now considering them in a new light.

One of the debate’s major topics was health care, about which it is assumed the public has also largely made up its mind, either for or against ObamaCare. New research suggests that this assumption is wrong, and that a little education can prompt people to re-evaluate their positions.

Those who support the president’s health law and those who oppose it have argued past one another. Supporters focus on what public-opinion surveys show to be the “popular” parts of ObamaCare (e.g. all the coverage provisions for those who might have difficulty obtaining insurance), while opponents focus on what public-opinion surveys have shown to be the least-popular aspects of the legislation (the individual mandate, Medicare cuts, “death panels,” and a bureaucracy that will stand between doctors and patients).

Neither side conducted significant messaging programs to take on the opposition’s arguments. Consequently, voters tended to accept both sets of arguments as true and chose whether to support or oppose ObamaCare based on their own preferences. Those most motivated by “fairness” lined up in favor of the law, while those most motivated by “liberty” or “quality of care” ended up against it.

Independent Women’s Voice, an educational advocacy organization that runs the Repeal Pledge calling for the elimination of ObamaCare, believes that opinions about health care can be changed. When people’s views are based on faulty or incomplete information, IWV has had great success in changing those views by offering solid information.

Over one week in mid-September, IWV conducted a message test among independent voters in 24,000 households spread over four states. The goal was to see if simply providing the facts about the true costs of the health law would affect popular support. Would independents, once they were educated about little-known but very real aspects of ObamaCare’s popular elements, change their minds about those elements? Would their support overall for repeal increase?

After just one week of intensive, multipart, multimedia education message delivery to households in the test group, the results were dramatic.

One measure of the effectiveness of this education campaign is the presidential-ballot test, which becomes a proxy for how seriously people take either repealing or keeping the law. Independents increased their support for Mr. Romney (who was not mentioned in the informational messaging about ObamaCare, but who has been clear that he will repeal, then replace it) and they moved away from support for President Obama (who also was not mentioned in the messaging, but who clearly intends to implement the law).

The change was startling. The numbers moved a net +14 points, from 44%-42% in favor of Mr. Romney among the control group (which had received no IWV messaging) to 50%-34% in favor of Mr. Romney among the test group (which had received the IWV messaging).

Just what were the little-known facts about ObamaCare that the 24,000 independent households found so persuasive? You can find them, and their sources, at HealthReformQuestions.com, but here are a few examples:

• Americans know that ObamaCare requires insurance companies to allow families to keep adult children up to age 26 on their parents’ policy. They are less likely to know that the provision increased the average family premium—even for families that didn’t add adult dependents—by $150-$450 in 2011.

• The average family’s health-insurance premiums are already up $1,300.

• Young workers who buy their own insurance will see a 19%-30% increase in premiums as a result of ObamaCare.

• Remember the 700,000 people whom the Congressional Budget Office predicted would make use of ObamaCare’s federal high-risk program? Just 78,000 people have enrolled. As a result, each person in the program costs taxpayers millions of allocated dollars. Americans, when they hear this, know instinctively that there must be a better way to address the problem.

• ObamaCare was sold as the solution to covering the 47 million uninsured in America, but 10 years after the law is implemented, 30 million Americans will still be uninsured. What problem, exactly, is ObamaCare solving again?

• Americans are also generally familiar with Medicaid’s problems, among them the refusal by many doctors to accept Medicaid patients. What most people don’t know is that approximately 10 million of those who gain insurance under ObamaCare will just be dumped into the already cash-strapped Medicaid system.

IWV’s research shows that this information makes a difference, and a big one. Independent voters who came to understand that ObamaCare’s increased regulations would drive up insurance costs for young adults supported Mr. Romney over Mr. Obama, 74%-14%, up from a 50%-43% Romney lead before they were given the facts. Those informed of the disappointing enrollment in risk pools for pre-existing conditions support Mr. Romney over Mr. Obama, 60% to 31%.

For IWV’s Repeal Pledge effort, the results are heartening: When they take onboard the facts about ObamaCare, many independents will adjust their thinking. As for the political meaning of it all, we’ll leave that to the campaign consultants.

Ms. Higgins is president and CEO of Independent Women’s Voice. Ms. Heath is a policy analyst with its sister organization, Independent Women’s Forum.

A version of this article appeared October 5, 2012, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Informed Independents Cool to ObamaCare.

Newspaper Headlines After Paul Ryan’s Speech

The Houston Chronicle gets it right; the right photo and the right words, “American turnaround”.

GPH Political Consulting GPH-Consulting.com Paul Ryan

The Old York Times chooses the most despicable of pictures, but at least “U.S. Turnaround” is mostly correct.

GPH Political Consulting GPH-Consulting.com

For as much as I love the Wall Street Journal, they got this one half wrong. Great photo, and the photo is big. However, Paul Ryan did not pledge a “GOP rebirth” he pledged an American rebirth.

GPH Political Consulting GPH-Consulting.com

Honorable mention goes to both the Los Angeles Times and The Press-Enterprise for their front page coverage.

LA Times Paul Ryan - GPH-Consulting.com    The Press-Enterprise GPH-Consulting.com

Finally, the USA Today continues to embarrass itself with their 2012 coverage. This time by using “Grand Old Party”.

GPH Political Consulting GPH-Consulting.com Paul Ryan

What The Romney Ryan Newspapers Look Like

I’m a newspaper guy, and a visual guy (sometimes), I usually like the optics more than the visuals, there is a difference. Anyway, I’ve captured a few pictures of the newspaper coverage of Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Wall Street Journal VP Cover GPH-Consulting.com  USA Today VP Cover GPH-Consulting.com

New York Times VP Cover GPH-Consulting.com  Financial Times VP Cover GPH-Consulting.com

Houston Chronicle GPH-Consulting.com LA Times Cover GPH-Consulting.com

I might add more pictures as I get them, but I wanted to get this started.