When you get a Head Shot, Take It: An analysis of the 2019 election

Hindsight is always 20/20 and I think a lot of people did some really good work in the various school board races and school levies that were on the ballot. Everything from the scandal at Lebanon schools where the levy was rejected in May then it was right back on the ballot here in November to the governor election in Kentucky where Matt Bevin lost largely due to the mad mom teacher’s union types. Or the local school board issue in my district where the incumbents won and the needed Republican vote from James Hahn fell short. He did well, but not well enough to knock off Julie Shaffer, the longtime union endorsed candidate, and stooge for contract negotiations. But the summary and what we can learn from this election is something I’ve been saying for a long time. If you get a chance to take a head shot, take the shot, metaphorically speaking of course. When you have the kind of dirt that there was on Julie Shaffer, use it. And we should have.

I’m a little rough in these kinds of things, I think of politics as war and the opponents as our mortal enemies. I don’t see the exchange as a pinky out exercise of politeness where the enemy kills you with kindness every time. That’s not a game I’m interested in playing. And many times, during this campaign that was my advice, but I understand why people didn’t take it. They still want to believe in a system that they’ve grown up with. They aren’t ready to see the education system for what it really is. They have hope that I’m wrong about it all, and for that I understand. As my wife said many times over the last few months, she likes a lot of the opponents and thinks they are nice people. I would say to her, and anybody else who said similar things, “what makes them dangerous is what they think when nobody is looking, when the lights are out. How they think and the content of those thoughts are what make them so dangerous. It’s not the smile on their faces when you shake their hands or listen to them in a polite debate.”

I said more than once during this election season that Julie Shaffer could walk naked down the middle of the street and still get 5000 union votes no matter what. So to beat her it was going to take getting a little dirty, because the union plays dirty. Look at the Bevin case in Kentucky. You must match their zeal, or they will win every time. It probably would have been better to stick Jim next to Lynda closer instead of worrying about whether or not we’d lose both of them. Jim needed more name recognition and some bigger splash stories. Votes after all went for the candidates voters read about here and there over time. They didn’t have enough information to change behavior at Lakota schools, so they voted for what was safe.

A lot of people hoped that the proof that the Lakota school board had been involved in an extortion case with a local developer, and the proof of that evidence being released with a letter would help pro-business candidates like Jim get enough votes to win. He had a respectable showing, but the issue was too complicated for most voters to understand. Most voters don’t own businesses even if they do appreciate them. Voters need more meat and potatoes, not gold bricks. The gold brick may be far more valuable, but if nobody knows what to do with it, it’s just a hunk of metal. The other side has the “children” narrative, so any opposition to them must be just as powerful and something people can relate to. Once you start talking over their heads you may not lose voters, but new ones won’t be inspired to get off their couch to vote. The labor union and their families were, because they want a nice big paycheck off that $100 million surplus.

I don’t normally do Facebook because I think its an evil data collection service that is geared to low intelligence induced people, but it is the center of most social commentary. And several people sent me Facebook postings of election activity and in reading them and the comments of many people it was amazing how deceitful people truly are. And that’s where I draw the line between good and evil. Most of the people I know in politics are good people, and in the business community. They want to do the right things in spite of the climate they are trying to do them in. I do want to help people like that because I like to see good win out. However, there are people who are truly evil, and they work in the school system and they have no idea why I would think of them that way. But they are and they should feel some pain for their villainy. Now I have defined that evil in many places, including some of my own published work in addition to these millions and millions of words. It’s not a definition a lot of people feel comfortable with, but its there, nonetheless. Its not hard for me to come to the conclusion that in politics sometimes when you get the head shot, you should take it. The one who flinches is usually the one who loses. The other side has no problem with taking a head shot, and that is why they win. Voters vote for winners good or evil. They vote for who they think will be victorious and as a candidate, if you are on your heels, they’ll pick up on it and it will show in the voter results—most of the time.

The only thing holding Republicans back is niceness. They are nice people who truly want to do the right things. From my experience, they don’t deserve many of the attacks thrown at them, and too often, they are the ones who end up on the defense for something they never did. The public education system is not only built by the worst of the villains, but its whole purpose is to make more of them which is something everyone should come to terms with if they ever want to fix it. At Lakota, things will stay the same for now, but to improve it, we needed that third vote. For the other regional fights that went in the wrong direction, well, that is always part of the plan when there are union backed candidates on the board spending the money like there is no tomorrow. And what they are teaching kids isn’t what we might call education, its something far worse and much more radical.

The next time we do these things, just some advice, play to win, hit harder and if you have dirt, use it and crush your opponent. Forget about all this playing nice stuff. Forget the handshakes, the polite debates and the trivial nonsense. Where we did play hard, and the candidates couldn’t come up for air, victory was certainly there. But why not do that in every circumstance, especially when the issue is placed right before your feet. My wife doesn’t agree, but as I was telling her last night, morality is defined by those who are victorious. Right and wrong are largely a condition of political theater, what is truly moral or not is much more obscure, and philosophical. Its not a good person who pretends to be nice but supports an organization of anti-capitalist tyranny. The smiles and bridge building are worthless in that context. So, in the future keep that in mind, and don’t hold back so much. Play to win, and to crush your opponents so much, that they will never dare to get up again.

 

Rich Hoffman