Facebook was littered, yesterday, with kind words about Denver Riggleman from political operatives running a couple of the other candidates social media accounts and personally on known Denver-Supporter timelines. The idea is, I suppose, that a bunch of votes just came on the market and we need to put “our guy” first in line to win those votes come June. The problem is, that the folks that supported Denver understood what an uphill battle they were facing, but they wanted to get behind an authentic, trustworthy outsider with real ideas that they believed he really supported. It was easy to believe Denver. He wasn’t bought and paid for. He was taking on special interests, not bowing down to them. Most everyone that met him spoke highly of him on the campaign trail.
If you want to win his voters, then you need to go back in time and come out of the gate as authentic, mature, honest, independent, trustworthy, and reach out to people as one of them and not as a cleverly crafted political parody of yourself – something which is far too common amongst politicians.
Now, I don’t blame politicians for behaving the way they do. They behave the way they do because it works, because most voters eat that stuff up, want to see their politicians lying and groveling before them, kissing their un-photogenic babies, shaking their hand and putting their arm over their shoulders as if they’ve been chums from the old days.
Conservatives will support just about anyone so long as they say conservative things. If Harry Reid ran as a conservative-candidate for the Senate in Virginia in 2018, on the campaign slogan, “I Was Just Joshing in Nevada; I’m Really One Of You!”, he’d probably win. “Look at all his experience” we’d say. “He knows how the Democrats play their games, he’s perfect! Wow! We’ve got a ringer!” Independents are little more skeptical; but independents will support anyone so long as they don’t say anything that bothers anybody.
I get it. I really do; so there is no way I’m pointing the finger at politicians and saying, “My God! Why are you behaving exactly like what the majority of people voting in a democratic election demand you to behave like?!?!” Because that would be stupid.
That said, Denver Riggleman simply refused to do that and because of this he won over a whole lot of voters who are simply sick of business and politics as usual. So if you want our votes, don’t try to schmooze us or tell us what you think we want to hear. None of us are listening. Just do what politicians always do when it comes time to win the votes of folks who fail to fall within easily manipulated or purchased factions – convince us that you are the lesser evil. While I’m sure a bunch of Denver’s supporters will say that they just aren’t going to vote in June, I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of them do and every single one of them is going to vote for the lesser evil.
Obviously, I’m not saying that Corey Stewart or Ed Gillespie or Frank Wagner are evil. I’ve listened to them at enough events to see good qualities in each of them. Furthermore, I have no intention of telling people who I think the lesser evil is, because anyone who was going to vote for Denver Riggleman was the kind of person other people can’t tell who to vote for. They see something authentic and something that isn’t politics-as-usual and they’ll go in that direction.
I don’t think that anyone can win a Denver Riggleman voter over – but you can convince us that if you’re the nominee, it’ll be better than if one of the other guys were. Just saying.