How to Beat an Incumbent

One way is to exploit their mistakes.

The President has cast his lot with the wine and brie liberals at the expense of unemployed, blue collar lunch bucket democrats.

He’s created a gaping hole in his front line, left a key portion of his base exposed to an appeal from the Republican nominee, and with his decision to punt on the TransCanada’s Keystone XL Project, opened himself to assaults on several fronts.

Background: After discovering 175 billion barrels of tar sands oil in Alberta, TransCanada filed for a permit in 2008 to build a pipeline—one that would transport more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries. It would also create nearly 15,000 jobs for unemployed blue collar workers, 120,000 spin off jobs and generate $20 billion in new private investment, most of it on U.S. soil. State Department approval of the project was expected before the end of the year.

Last week the President invented a reason to delay a decision on the project until after the election in 2012.

Why? The Greens howled—that wine and brie bunch that genuflect in the Church of Global Warming and cling to the notion that we can, through subsidies and the stroke of a regulatory pen, wean ourselves of fossil fuels. They give a lot of money to the President. And they can make a lot of noise when the President deviates from the sermon the Greens have instructed him to recite.

To be sure, some of the labor leaders howled too, threatening to sit on their hands in the next election. The President in essence told the private sector unions to kiss off. The jobs can wait, especially if creating jobs would come of the expense of money and manpower from the congregants in the pews of the Global Warming Parishes.

Were the greens going to desert the President to pull the lever for a Republican? Their arm would fall off if they did.

There are other reasons to make an issue of the pipeline. Gas and fuel oil prices have more than doubled since Obama became President. And Canada is now threatening to sell the oil to China, which will soon overtake the United States as the largest economic engine on earth. In fact, one could argue that the President’s tax, regulatory and energy policies are creating more jobs in China than his own country. But as Reagan showed during the Carter years, blue collar democrats will desert a Democratic President who has a tin ear to their economic plight. Shame on the Republican candidate for President if he does not exploit the wedge Obama has driven into his own base.

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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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