A shameless plug of an underreported election story: As I have fully disclosed here before, one of the reasons I do not blog heavily about politics is my day job work on behalf of one of our company’s clients, NFIB, the nation’s largest association of small business owners. I have disclosed (even though others have claimed to have “exposed” it) openingly and proudly that Hammock Publishing works closely with NFIB to help them keep their members informed utilizing a wide array of communication strategies, both online and print.
While the rexblog and I am often referred to in terms of “corporate blogging,” I rarely use it in such a self-congratulatory or shamelessly self-promotional way as I’m about to, but I wanted to blog a couple of articles that have appeared in the past few days that point out how successful our client, NFIB, was in last week’s election and what, in a supportive role, we assisted them in doing. (Explanation – as requested by an e-mailer: We provide an extensive array of services to NFIB including producing and helping to manage the content of NFIB.com, publishing MyBusiness magazine, and producing 51 legislative-oriented newsletters, among other things.)
(Warning: As some of the seven readers of this blog reside in blue states, you may not like what you’re about to read.)
First, a November 6 article in the Washington Post by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Thomas B. Edsall reveals that:
One key under-the-radar factor in the Bush and Republican congressional campaigning was an unprecedented effort by the business community to harness the Internet. The Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and other trade groups were aggressive in contacting employees, educating them on pro-business issues and getting them to the polls.
“The effort in this election was truly huge. It was several times bigger and broader than anything done by business before,” said Dirk Van Dongen, president of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and a leader in business get-out-the-vote efforts. “I truly believe it made a difference at the presidential level, at the senatorial level and at the level of the House.”
“I’m always cynical about how much the business community could do,” said Dan Danner, top lobbyist for the NFIB. “But this is a place where we delivered and made an impact.”
The NFIB also sent out millions of postcards, e-mails and faxes, and made telephone calls to members and others to remind small business owners that they could vote early and that they should vote for pro-small business candidates.
And this from a November 6 National Journal (paid subscription required) article by Bara Vaida and Peter H. Stone
Scoring big successes in Senate and House contests on November 2, business and conservative groups cemented their role as key drivers in getting out Republican voters. They surpassed the efforts of labor unions, environmental organizations, and women’s groups to mobilize Democrats. The National Federation of Independent Business, the National Rifle Association, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee, the American Medical Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which all had led successful grassroots and get-out-the vote efforts in 2002, were again big winners in the 2004 election.
These five organizations posted the best win-lose records in a National Journal survey of 20 interest groups — 10 representing social conservatives and business interests, and 10 representing unions, and environmental and liberal causes — that made contributions and endorsed congressional candidates across the country. The five least-successful records belonged to groups on the left: EMILY’s List, the Sierra Club, the National Education Association, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the AFL-CIO. “The business trade associations were aggressive, well funded, and took some risks,” said GOP strategist and lobbyist Scott Reed. “They scored well, and that bodes well for their futures as political powerhouses in Washington.”
The election again showed that business is beating labor at its longtime game of getting out the vote. Tactics included promoting candidates on Web sites; soliciting volunteers to work on races; mobilizing voters with mailings, phone calls, faxes, and e-mails; and sending voter-registration materials to members. In addition, said NFIB Senior Vice President of Public Policy Dan Danner, the business community made a significant difference by emphasizing early voting. “That was a big change,” Danner said. “This is a trend that will get bigger.”
Business and conservative groups spent millions on get-out-the-vote communications. For instance, Danner said, the NFIB spent about $8 million in soft money — about 25 percent more than it had in previous election cycles — to contact its 600,000 members nationwide.