If you’re wondering why the Catholic Church is sending out letters to parishioners asking for money, it’s because amendment supporters already spent all of their money – even before purchasing TV air time to run their ads!
MinnPost provides some great insight into how the ‘vote yes’ side has been spending their money. The most expensive expenditure?
Since January, Minnesota for Marriage has paid $332,000 for campaign-management services to strategist Frank Schubert and his new firm, Mission Public Affairs.
Yes, that Frank Schubert. The guy behind the strategy Minnesota for Marriage is using to push this mean-spirited amendment.
While these groups provide very little insight into their donors (which seems to defy donation disclosure rules and laws), MinnPost provides some interesting nuggets.
A powerful piece from MinnPost where Erin Keyes shares her personal story which includes a partner of eight years, the adoption of a child, buying a house and even raising a dog.
Recently, she was asked what it would feel like if the mean-spirited marriage amendment were to pass:
It seemed like a silly question at the time. But the truth is, I hadn’t really let myself think about it yet. In that moment, with the question hanging in the air, I felt it: an almost literal punch to the gut. Airless lungs, stinging eyes, a rock rising in my throat. For a moment.
If this amendment passes — after all the work, the money, the hard questions asked and answered, the risks taken, the eyes opened, the stories shared — it will be a moment of profound and visceral sadness for me, my partner, and for many in our state. It will mean that the essential commitments, needs, and realities of our family — the same as any two-parent family — are not recognized by over half of our fellow voting citizens.
Keyes continues with her story and reminds readers that no matter the outcome of this vote, she and her partner still won’t have any rights under the law. However, if this were to pass, voters would be letting Keyes – and all other committed same-sex couples in Minnesota – know that they are “less than” opposite sex couples and that rights wouldn’t be coming anytime soon.
Be sure to check out Keyes letter in its entirety. It’s well worth the read and is a tremendous reminder why we are fighting so hard in Minnesota.
Thank you, Erin, for sharing your personal story. Letters and stories like yours are changing history every single day.
We are confident that as we continue our final outreach effort, the voices of the majority of Minnesotans will speak louder at the polls than the amount of money wasted in a futile attempt to convince people that men and women are interchangeable, and the Marriage Amendment will pass on November 6th.
John Helmberger, Chairman, Minnesota for Marriage
Helmberger is quoted in an article about fundraising efforts by Minnesota for Marriage, the group that supports the mean-spirited amendment.
Minnesota for Marriage has raised nearly $1.2 million dollars so far in 2012, compared to $5.96 million raised by Minnesotans United for All Families. Helmberger had this to say about the fundraising disparity:
We’ve never been surprised by the amount of money wealthy same-sex ‘marriage’ activists are willing to pour into their attempt to change the minds of Minnesotans on the definition of marriage. In fact, we predicted over a year ago that we would be outspent 3 or 4 to 1.
Interesting that he chose to call out the “amount of money wasted” considering his side put this thing on the ballot in the first place! Oh the irony.
In this second television commercial from Minnesotans United for All Families, John from Richfield shares that his marriage is the most important thing in his life, and then asks the question:
Who am I to deny that to anybody, gay or straight?
In the last 15 seconds of the commercial, the “rights” argument is made:
I’m not going to limit a basic freedom just because I’m uncomfortable, and I’m not going to put it in our state Constitution. Our Constitution should protect our freedoms, not take them away.
As Vote No appears on the screen, John says:
I’m voting no.
Clearly, the emphasis on the Constitution in this ad is designed to get Minnesotans to think about whether or not we really want to make this permanent change. However, with Voter ID slated to pass with large margins, I don’t know that the Constitution message is one we want to hit hard (obviously, people are just find amending the Constitution).
Strategically, the Vote NO side has focused on making personal connections and telling stories. This is a result of analysis from previous campaigns that highlight the fact that the “rights” message doesn’t resonate strongly with voters (check out this great article from the Minnesota Post). With that said, there must be a belief that some voters in Minnesota may be swayed by the Constitution and rights message for this commercial to be aired.
What do you think? Does it resonate with you?
Great article from MinnPost that talks about Frank Schubert and his strategy. Yesterday, I wrote about his late-in-the-game tactics. The MinnPost article highlights how this strategy came to be and how he helped California pass Prop 8 (limiting the rights of marriage) with said strategy:
According to a 90-minute presentation Schubert made to the American Association of Political Consultants, the firm’s Prop 8 ads were the outgrowth of careful opinion surveying and message testing to learn what themes would sway the 10-15 percent of California voters who were open to being influenced.
One key element: After hearing that many people felt unaffected by the nature of a relationship between two other individuals, the firm realized it had to attach consequences to gay marriage. Voters in California, where same-sex marriage was legal before Prop 8, might not yet realize their liberty was being infringed, Schubert said.
The resulting campaigns, emotionally charged images accompanied by questionable arguments that gay marriage actively takes rights away from heterosexuals, have proven very hard to combat.
Let me re-emphasize part of that. This statement is so telling:
After hearing that many people felt unaffected by the nature of a relationship between two other individuals, the firm realized it had to attach consequences to gay marriage.
At the end of the day, the majority of Californians (and Minnesotans, too) are unaffected by a committed same-sex relationship, and Schubert knows this! Hence, his strategy of scare tactics that paint a picture of dire consequences if voters were to not pass the marriage amendment.
We know his strategy, and we know it’s extremely effective, so what are we doing to counter it? I struggle to understand why we haven’t come out with a preemptive educational piece for Minnesota voters. Instead of waiting for Schubert to attack us, why don’t we go on the offensive and share the fact that defeating this amendment won’t make same-sex marriage legal in Minnesota, it won’t force kindergarten teachers to teach kids about same-sex marriage and it won’t have any other dire consequences that Schubert and his campaign are sure to paint. Instead, we wait.
While our strategy of having conversations with voters across the state is part of our offense (and really good for Minnesota in the long-term), I worry that by not addressing Schubert’s tactics early, we’re going to be caught off guard and it’ll have far-reaching consequences (and really bad for Minnesota in the short-term).
Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz are encouraging voters to say NO to the mean-spirited marriage amendment this coming November. MinnPost quoted Blatz:
At this crossroads in Minnesota’s history we must not allow our state’s constitution to get caught up in the prevailing winds of the day. We may disagree on how best to recognize committed same-sex couples, but I believe quite firmly that legislating this issue by constitutional amendment is both inappropriate and a threat to the legacy of our state.
I’ve got to say, this MinnPost article is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. The author, Beth Hawkins, does a great job exploring the importance of messaging in amendment battles. She also includes several examples of amendment advertisements within the story. Over the next week, I’ll dig into some of the examples she provides in the article, along with others available online. It’s fascinating to think about what resonates with voters.
It’s also fascinating to learn more about the in-depth studies that were done after the Prop 8 loss in California. As time allows, I’ll do some digging into the studies and share some of those learnings on this blog as well.
We’re going to be seeing a lot of ads (TV, online, print) as both sides pour a lot of money into Minnesota targeting those voters in the middle. I’m hopeful that in sharing ads (from both sides) readers will be armed with responses when we see similar ads start to spring up here.
Oh, and Beth Hawkins, consider me a fan. ;)