Anecdotal Kinky Thoughts
A few days ago while at Target, I saw two bumper stickers on upscale cars that both also sported Kerry Edwards bumper stickers.
It got me thinking: how seriously should we take Kinky?
My answer below the jump.
My answer: I'm not sure yet, but I'm beginning to think we ought take Kinky seriously.
The big roadblock is that Friedman will have only nine weeks to get on the ballot. After the March 7 primaries, independent candidates have nine weeks (until May 11) to get 45,540 signatures (1% of the 4,553,979 who voted in 2002) of registered voters who did not vote in either party's primary. So in other words, the people most likely to care are the people who aren't eligible to sign.
There's a further complication: a divisive, high-profile GOP primary will probably feature higher turnout meaning more people are ineligible to sign Kinky's petition, but may make registered voters more willing to sign a petition for another option in the race.
So let's assume that Kinky needs to collect 70,000 signatures to account for the inevitable non-eligible signers. There's a general going rate in politics for signature gathering: two dollars. There are even professional political folks who specialize in signature gathering.
At that pace, Kinky ought to be able to get on the ballot for "just" about $150,000. It's certainly doable; Kinky's campaign has quite a few months to get ready for the petition drive. Since it appears that Kinky is putting together a real campaign -- he's put together a website and a campaign team -- it appears to me that his odds for getting on the ballot should be favorable. They've got 8 months to plan for this: they should be able to do it.
The Friedman campaign has also hired Bill Hillsman, an adman widely praised for his work on Jesse Ventura's campaign, who has also done ads for Paul Wellstone, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Arianna Huffington and Ralph Nader. He also consulted with Warren Beatty on his 1999 flirtation with running for president. Hillaman is undeniably on the political left, though he advocates for independent candidates. Interestingly, folks like Nader and Huffington received wide media attention, but couldn't translate it into votes.
Judging from the coverage so far, Friedman is likely to receive plenty of free media. Heck, he announced at the Alamo on cable TV. Press coverage will likely treat Friedman as a novelty -- soft but "he has no chance" coverage -- until a poll comes out showing Friedman with reasonable support, say above 10%. However, if Kinky can show himself to be gaining traction in the polls,it seems to me that he's a candidate that the fourth estate is likely to love: independent, claiming fiscal conservatism but socially leaning left.
Of course, as Byron has pointed out, Kinky isn't necessarily up to date on current events and issues facing the lege and guv. If Kinky becomes seen as a real candidate -- or even a potential spoiler -- then I think he ought and will get the substantive coverage that he deserves.
Who does Kinky draw from?
I started this post with anecdotal evidence suggesting Kinky might draw from Democrats. It certainly appears that he leans left socially -- anti-death penalty and pro-gay marriage -- but there are lots of reasons Kinky might draw more from the GOP. It's possible that disaffected Republicans and Republican-leaners might be unwilling to vote for a Democrat, but would vote for an independent. On the other hand, that could cut the other way: it's also possible that an anti-Rick Perry vote could be split.
There's lots more reasons Kinky could draw from either party. It's too early to tell, because we still don't have a true picture of how he's going to campaign -- or even whether he'll be on the ballot. But I think the word at this point is that while Kinky is very unlikely to be governor, he may be worth taking seriously and could potentially be a spoiler if he gets on the ballot.
Coming from the left, I've speculated about this as well. I tend to think the Kinkster might draw more from the GOP. But of course I thought Dean was going to win the Dem nomination.
I kept asking you about Kinky.....
Observing this session I'm left with the feeling that our elected officials aren't "necessarily up to date on current events and issues facing the lege and guv" either - they remind me of cops giving out speeding tickets in front of a known crack house - real problems are scary, let's talk about cheerleaders and scary gay people instead.
The people of Texas have got to be tired of this silly behavior - I think Kinky is going to shock a lot of "professionals" with the depth of his real world support.
I am a little concerned about Hillsman. His track record, frankly, does not bode well for a succesful bid by the Kinkster. Some, if not all, of his well known clients sould have generated the "free" publicity without his help. Ventura, Huffington, etc. are pretty good at self-promotion. Kinky can't make the mistake of not trusting his own gut. God forbid he end up talking like Ventura and looking like Huffman. Kinky only has a chance if he is inclusive of all sides of the fence.
My philosophy has been that Rick Perry will likely win the GOP primary and pissed off KBH supporters who hate Perry but would never vote for a Democrat will cast their ballot for Kinky.
But with the nightmare that this session has been and Perry's absence from any of the debate, KBH can call him a do-nothing failure. Whether that will beat out the "baby killing Hillary lover" rap remains to be seen. If KBH wins the vote, Perry voters are less likely to vote for Kinky as they are the more socially conservative type.
On the Democratic side, a Chris Bell type might drive some rural Dems and Dem-leaning independents over to Kinky with his more progressive social policy (Kinky may be socially progressive, but he doesn't sound like it). A John Sharp type might drive very-liberals over to Kinky (he may not sound progressive, but he is). Furthermore, Bell can be a bit dry and he is likely to push people bored with him to the admittedly more exciting Kinky. Sharp has a bit more Elvis so he is less likely to push those voters into the Kinky file. The answer to all of this is only time will tell.
So it essentially breaks down like this-- if Perry wins, he loses a chunk of solid Republicans to Kinky. If KBH wins, some GOPers may stay home and a handful will vote for Kinky, but most will vote for her. If Sharp wins, I think a lot of liberals (who are starting to froth at the mouth about Bell in a Deanesque fasion) will go to the Kinkster, if Bell wins a handful of rural types (a dying breed) will go to Kinky.
Sharp vs. Perry vs. Kinky will probably be the most tumultuous, as Sharp will get a lot of independents (see 2002) while losing liberals, Perry will lose a lot of ground and Kinky picks up a lot of support.
Bell vs. Perry vs. Kinky will mean a more solid place for both Perry and Bell (as liberals won't go to Kinky as much and GOPers will be scared by Perry's brutal ads against Bell), with Perry slightly better off.
KBH beats everyone, with Sharp presenting a bit of a threat.
Of course, if Kinky doesn't make the ballot... all of this is moot. And I'm not the world's greatest predictor of these things either.
Kinky will get some people all excited for a while as they project what they want onto him. Then, as he actually has to talk about politics in any sort of detail, he'll come off as the political assclown that he is and that will be that.
Why take him any more seriously than that?
I hope he does not get on the ballot. His ideas and plans for this state are pure jiberish
Posted by Ivan @ 06/03/05 10:40 AM
I am exactly the kind of disaffected Republican the radical right has left behind. The GOP no longer represents me because it has ceased to be conservative and has become a radical religious party. However, I can't bring myself to vote for the Dems. So for me it's Kinky all the way.
Posted by Chad, San Marcos @ 06/04/05 02:29 PM
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