Democrats are in a bit of a pickle. Since 2010, they’ve lost the legislature, the governorship, a Supreme Court contest, and redistricting decimated their ranks. Obviously, the political landscape in North Carolina has changed drastically, and it’s time for Democrats to find solutions and dig themselves out of this hole they’ve gotten into.
Fortunately, they’ve settled on a tried-and-true tactic: bash Art Pope! A gazillionaire white guy businessman who gives money to Republican candidates and organizations. In other words, the epitome of evil to all liberals.
Raising the specter of the nefarious Art Pope has been going on for quite some time now, but intensified in the wake of the Republicans taking control of the state legislature. Some liberals have even gone so far as to compare him to the Koch brothers. Who?
Things have changed now that Mr. Pope is Deputy Budget Director for the McCrory administration, so maybe North Carolinians will find attacks on Art Pope to be more relevant. So far though, only 69% of North Carolinians have an opinion on Mr. Pope, meaning that the vast majority of the state a) don’t know who Art Pope is or b) don’t care.
Nobody cares about the Koch brothers, and nobody cares about Art Pope. Why? Because voters have better things to do. They don’t obsess about politics day after day. When they watch a political advertisement on television, they don’t care about who funds it, only what the message is. They may profess discomfort with the vast amount of money influencing the political process, but that still doesn’t take away from the veracity of the message being broadcast. It’s not like if voters hear an Obama ad paid for by George Soros that the ad is “tainted” and they discard the information.
The ability to buy an election is overrated anyway. Sure, if one candidate is running for the U.S. Senate and has $5 million to spend and his opponent has $60,000, then yes, there’s going to be a disparity in terms of ability to get their messages across. But there’s a law of diminishing returns when it comes to money in politics. Take Meg Whitman, who ran for governor of California and outspent her opponent by $140 million and still didn’t win. Yes, money is important, but only up to a point. Once both candidates have a certain amount of money, it comes down to the candidate, messaging, and execution.
Liberals in North Carolina, though, don’t seem to understand this. Maybe bashing Art Pope is a form of self-therapy for them. It sure hasn’t been effective at anything else. As mentioned before, the latest PPP poll has only 31% who can’t tell you their opinion on Art Pope, and everyone knows that people lie to pollsters about this stuff because they want to feel smart. After two years of incessant attacks from liberals, over two-thirds of the state still can’t tell you anything about Art Pope!
Of course, liberals will look at these numbers and think that they need to get even LOUDER. More blog posts about Art Pope! More tweets about his evilness! More investigations into his nefarious non-profits! Perhaps one day, Art Pope’s name will be as notorious as that of the Koch brothers!
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.