All the Cool Kids Are Voting for Me
Why, more than anything else, does Anne Northup say she should be the Republican nominee for governor of Kentucky? Not because she'll fix the state's ...
Why, more than anything else, does Anne Northup say she should be the Republican nominee for governor of Kentucky? Not because she'll fix the state's health care system or improve public education or lower taxes or boost the state economy.
Oh sure, Northup, a former congresswoman who is challenging Governor Ernie Fletcher in the GOP primary, says she'll do those things. But to win the May 15 22 primary, Northup is depending on the political equivalent of peer pressure: the electability argument.
She's not ashamed of it either. Her first two campaign ads end with the slogan: "The only Republican who can win in November: Anne Northup."
Talk of electability is, of course, a staple of modern campaigns. Candidates tout their broad appeal as they woo donors, activists and potential endorsers. But a blunt pitch like that, targeted at average voters, isn't something you see every day.
Northup, however, doesn't have any other choice. To unseat a sitting governor, she has to explain what's wrong with him. Criticizing Fletcher's policies won't work because most GOPers agree with his policies. And, even though the governor embroiled himself in a hiring scandal and pardoned many of his senior staffers, focusing on his ethical lapses risks making her sound like the worst possible thing in a Republican primary: a Democrat.
As a result, Northup is walking a very fine line. She says that Fletcher's scandals have rendered him unelectable, but isn't dwelling much on whether he did anything wrong.
This strategy has its perils too. Besides requiring voters to digest a nuanced distinction, there's a good chance they will end up saying, "Sure, you'll win, but why exactly would we want you to?"
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
The Week in Public Finance: D.C. Interference, Let's Make a Deal and Urban Poverty3 days ago
Oklahoma's First Transgender State House Candidate Loses Primary Race3 days ago
Feds Revoke Oklahoma's NCLB Waiver After State Repealed Common Core3 days ago
Ferguson Protesters Sue Police for $41 Million3 days ago
9 Years After Katrina, Feds Forgive $391M in Disaster Debt3 days ago
Governor: Utah Should Defend Anti-Polygamy Law3 days ago