2020 federal dossier: Intangibles

This is the final part of a ten-part series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, intangibles are only worth 5 points – unlike other parts, however, these points can be subtractive as well. Intangibles are items like issues that I don’t cover, their websites, how they are running their campaign, and so forth.

Again, instead of a randomized order I will begin with the two House contenders then do the Senate. At the end of each I will make my endorsements for the Republican nomination.

Matthew Morris (House)

A significant part of Matthew’s campaign has to do with prison reform, which is obviously something he’s familiar with since he served time a few years ago. It also goes with opioid abuse, which is a hot topic among all the GOP contenders this time around. These tip the scales a little bit on the intangibles, but not nearly as much as the idea of legalizing marijuana.

The other key point in his favor is his willingness to engage with people, including this blogger. He’s been pretty good about answering questions, even if I’m generally in disagreement.

There are a few negatives about his campaign; however, I think they can be chalked up to a steep learning curve in a statewide race. His first two volunteers should have been a web designer and a scheduler/manager; instead, I think Matt’s trying to do it all himself and that’s hard for a local race – let alone statewide. At a time when the GOP could use local candidates, he opted for a federal run – although given the field it may not have seemed a bad choice at the time.

Overall, on issues I care about I think Matthew would only be marginally better than the incumbent on some and a decent improvement on others. But when you consider the level of retail politics he’s used to and the fact most of the state representatives in his area are unopposed in the general, perhaps he had a better shot trying to unseat his state representative than a sitting member of Congress.

Lee Murphy (House)

Like his primary opponent, Lee keeps opioid abuse at the forefront of his campaign. Aside from that, though, he keeps things rather close to the vest: it’s telling that I had to dig out some nuggets of information.

After a decent start, the lines of communication between the Murphy campaign and me have become a bit strained. I think we work at cross purposes.

One thing Lee has going for him is that he has run a statewide campaign. But the strike against him is that he’s not run a successful statewide campaign and the person he lost in said statewide campaign to is generally the butt of political jokes for his colorful personality and party-jumping skills. Obviously Lee has lost some races in hopeless situations, but this one was like fumbling at the five-yard line on the way to the winning touchdown.

This is a race where a prominent Republican could have made a difference, but instead everyone and their brother decided to try for Governor. We’re left with a rather weak field, but of the two Republican candidates presented Lee Murphy is the better choice.

James DeMartino (Senate)

I found this to be an interesting approach, which is the lone intangible I noted for James: “Since 2010, our party has been divided. I will mend the divide and unite our party in November. The choice is clear, integrity over deceit.”

“In Delaware we need balance and cooperation from both sides and listen to the people. The silent majority must be heard. As candidate for U.S. Senate, I’m listening.”

This brings out several reactions.

First of all, to note that the party has been divided since 2010 is a direct indictment of the TEA Party (which is the real silent majority these days) and it shows that the takeover wasn’t quite completed in Delaware. In part, this stems from the DEGOP making pre-primary endorsements – let the voters make up their own mind and the division goes away.

And then we have the “integrity over deceit” comment. Who did the deception, and what proof does DeMartino have? Those are weighty words to toss around.

Then we have the cooperation from both sides bromide, which means we cave and they get what they want because they don’t stop while those on our side try and live our lives. That is garbage. The key is to convince those who nominally support the other side to do what’s best for all of us (that being increased liberty), not what’s best for maintaining the power of those people who are using the working stiffs as pawns.

James talks a good game, but he’s run such a low-energy campaign targeted to the hardcore party faithful that if he manages to win the primary there’s zero enthusiasm for him and Chris Coons walks right over him. I seldom hear of a DeMartino appearance to meet voters or get an update on social media: over the first two weeks of August Jim has updated his social media six times and made one campaign appearance. Compare that to his opponent who has that many updates and more each day.

Maybe the “party over everything” crowd is okay with that but average Republicans aren’t, hence DeMartino’s past results where he trailed the party standardbearers.

He’s also the one candidate who has not responded to my repeated questions on issues, so it has to be asked how that will translate to constituent service. I may be a rather unique constituent, but I am a Delaware resident nonetheless.

In short, he lost points on intangibles with me.

Lauren Witzke (Senate)

Lauren is not shy about expressing her opinion. Perhaps that’s not quite the standard temperament for the Senate, but it seems to work for Ted Cruz.

Out of a lot of interesting statements to consider in this category, I’m picking out two.

“So far the righteous anger and frustration conservatives have felt over the years, has only been channeled to only result in tax cuts and deregulation rulings in favor of the socially progressive billionaire class – A billionaire class that looks down upon and views anyone on Main Street America, the American worker, or any social conservative (for that matter) with contempt.”

She is correct to a point; however, I believe the tax cuts and deregulation have improved the lot for all of us. Billionaires are in a better position to prosper, but bear in mind that they have written many of the regulations in order to tamp down potential competition. So deregulation defeats their purpose.

Secondly:

“I reject Bernie’s socialist ideology. But I understand why my generation seems to embrace it. Crippling student loan debt, unaffordable healthcare, unemployment, addiction, low wages, and in-achievable home ownership for the younger generation has become a stagnant norm.

When a socialist candidate provides solutions to their current problems, we’d be fools to believe they won’t embrace it. We have a serious battle ahead of us against a radical socialist takeover.”

What we need to do is properly educate Millennials that what the Bernie/Biden brigade is promising is fool’s gold, the value of which will indebt their grandchildren’s grandchildren to a one-world tyranny where they will be cogs in the machine unless blessed by birth to be in the ruling class. The rest will suffer the serfdom of the Dark Ages.

It’s where I depart from Lauren’s big-government philosophy, because regardless of the intentions of big government, in the end it only succeeds in reducing our liberty.

However, there are two things Lauren is doing very well in this campaign: nationalizing her race (which is a must in an uphill battle like this) and engaging voters at a far more frenetic pace than either her primary opponent or the Democrat incumbent. (However, he will simply bombard the airwaves with 30 second commercials about “orange man bad” and call it engagement. That’s the advantage of a seven-figure war chest Lauren doesn’t have.) And while I don’t agree with her embrace of Big Labor, that overture does make an inroads into her opponent’s core constituency.

So based on her attractive positions regarding education, 2A issues, and immigration, I can overlook the shortcomings on other issues because, quite frankly, I don’t see anything from pale pastels from her opponent and this is an election where bold colors are needed. For Republicans, Lauren Witzke is my recommended choice.

Now I’m going to clear my docket with an odds and ends post before resuming the dossier series with the governor’s race.

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