Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Say What You Stand For, Loud and Proud!

Interesting little vignette here from Dick Viguerie's book.

Taft was the leader of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, and in 1950 the labor union bosses were pouring money into Ohio in an attempt to defeat his reelection bid.  His chief sin was that he was the coauthor of the Taft-Hartley Act, which curtailed the power of the union bosses to shut down the nation’s industries if they didn’t get what they wanted.  Unions were the most powerful political force in America at this time, and this was a “do or die” campaign for the bosses.

“Senator Taft was convinced that he should take his stand on the Taft-Hartley Law,” says Weintz, “and, of course, we tried to talk him out of that, because we knew that blue collar workers would be against him on the basis of the Taft-Hartley Act.”  Since the senator was adamant about taking a principled stand, his advisors retreated to the follow-up barricade: “Let’s test it.”  One of the great advantages of direct mail is that it allows you to test what you “know” to be true.  Different letters were mailed to Ohio constituents about why they should support Senator Taft, and asking for contributions.  Each letter had a “key code” to measure responses.  Here is what happened, as Weintz tells us in his informative book:

"We sent out about 20,000 copies of each letter. I was astounded when the letter (written by Senator Taft), which was built around a positive presentation of the Taft-Hartley Act, was far and away the most successful.

"We subsequently mailed hundreds of thousands of Taft-Hartley letters into the blue collar worker sections of the industrial cities of Ohio: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron, and so on. The blue collar workers responded by voting overwhelmingly for Taft against the urging, advice, and $3 million campaign fund of the union leaders.

"In addition, much to our surprise, we received a substantial number of small contributions, which helped us to finance the direct mail campaign. Indeed, the campaign paid for itself!"

It's certain that Trump understood the lesson here, and just as certain that a whole lot of others, both (D) and (R) do NOT understand it.

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