The longest-serving, career county commissioner in Hillsborough County said it best:
So, what is this secret "scientific method" that career politicians know, and you need to know? Well, it's less science and more "politics as usual," but here goes.
Step #1: Raise large amounts of cash from big donors that have business before government.
It's essential to find donors that have a vested interest in government, like Vin Marchetti, a lawyer-lobbyist, who raised more than $55,000 from his clients to reelect one county commissioner.
Otherwise, why would anyone give a career politician money?
You need to raise record amounts of cash from developer buddies and big corporate cronies to scare away any competitors, early in the election cycle. In most cases, this will mean you won't have any opponent opposing you! That's good, because voters can be fickle.
Of course, you'll need to keep this all secret from the voters during an election year, because voters don't like the idea of you taking their money to line the pockets of billionaire team owners, lawyers, landowners and developers. Read about it here.
Noah Pransky, WTSP 3:14 PM. EDT August 24, 2017
TAMPA, Florida - The Hillsborough County commissioner leading the charge to move the Tampa Bay Rays to Tampa has collected a campaign checks from high-profile donors who are directly benefiting from the stadium efforts...
Step #2: Conduct polling and memorize what you are told to say (to fool the voters)...
Now, there is a chance that you will have an opponent from your own party. Don't worry. Just follow the scientific method. Professional paid pollsters can find out what voters really want.
For example, voters in district 2 of Hillsborough County have already received calls from a pollster asking about the race and gauging if their is any support for public funding a stadium in Tampa.
This is a classic move. You shouldn't say a thing until you know what's popular with voters in your district!
Of course, taxpayer financing of a stadium is very unpopular. So, you'll need to say nothing about how the stadium is financed until after the election. Just preface any mention of your support for a stadium, the reason that you are running, by saying "I don't support taxpayer dollars for a stadium" while secretly scheming to use taxpayer financing (debt) to build the stadium. After all, obligating taxpayers to pay a billion dollars in debt and interest and finance fees is not using taxpayer dollars.... uhhhh... directly.
If your district is "conservative," then say that you are conservative. If you're running in a more moderate district, then run as a "moderate" pragmatic candidate that supports government solutions. You can switch back and forth between these as often as you like.
Just remember to do your polling, first, then say whatever you are told to say by your pollster! It's not rocket science. It's political science! I know what your thinking: "what about my voting record?" Don't worry about details. Just follow this scientific method. That's where all the money you raised really comes in handy. You'll flood mail boxes and the airwaves with deceptive campaign ads that say exactly what the voters want to hear! That's what will get you elected.
Don't worry. After you're elected, you can do anything that you want until the next election cycle. Just memorize what you are told to say and say that over and over again. For example, instead of mentioning your strong support for putting Billions of dollars of new sales taxes on the ballot in 2010, 2014 and 2016, if you're running in a conservative district, say ... wait for it... "I'm for cutting taxes" and "cut taxes ____ times". Put any number in the blank that sounds believable.
Wait, you're afraid that won't pass the laugh test? Time for another example. There's a career county commissioner in Hillsborough County Florida that has been pushing for Billions of dollars in new taxes since 2010! During questioning by sheriff's office investigators during a "Go Hillsborough" tax-for-transit scandal, he admitted, under oath, about his extensive involvement in putting the largest sales tax increase in history on the ballot in 2010:
Not only that, but he tried to set up another vote in 2014, until a transit study by the county's engineering firm, AECOM, reported that ridership on public transit was too sparse to support a federally funded light rail initiative! Since he's the longest serving county commissioner, he never gets discouraged. Instead, he attempted it again in 2016, even after HART lost 10% of its riders to ride sharing. He called it "Go Hillsborough," which sounds sporty. Now, he had to push it through in 2016, because he was term limited in 2018 and had to switch to a conservative district. Voters aren't stupid. They just have short memories. Always remember that!
Unfortunately, due to the short window, this "Go Hillsborough" tax increase scheme had to cut some corners. Cutting corners resulted in a bit of a scandal, but that's why you avoid election years. A local TV reporter, Noah Pransky of Channel 10 News, found out about secret texts flying back and forth between a close political adviser / PR consultant and several commissioners and county administrators. He pieced together the scheme to cut corners. More than $180,000 was paid by the county to the political adviser, a very close adviser to this longest serving career county commissioner that is now running for reelection in district 2.
The political insider managed to steer a contract to the very firm where she had a contract for her communications consulting skills. You can see where this is going. An investigation was inevitable, once the story broke! The investigation shows that this career county commissioner and the political insider called, texted and emailed each other frequently, sometimes about county business, sometimes during public county commission meetings, about things being discussed at the county commission meeting. Voters got concerned that the fix was in on the Go Hillsborough tax increase scheme. To make matters worse, the county commissioner used his personal phone and email account for any communications with the communications consultant about their schemes to fool voters into voting for tax increase. Unfortunately, there is a state law that requires texts and emails about official business to be retained, but this experienced county commission used the Hillary Clinton defense! Conveniently, most of his texts were lost when he changed personal phones, and investigators never did a forensic investigation of his old personal phone. The "experienced" county commissioner didn't know what the law required him to keep and disclose. Anyway, all of these texts and emails about Go Hillsborough were simply personal emails.
As a Republican career county commissioner, feel confident enough to vote for Billions of dollars in new sales taxes on families, seniors and small businesses in your county, even though not a single one of your fellow Republican colleagues join you! That's how good this secret scientific method works! If a scandal derails the tax increase, you'll be pushing for another tax increase referendum just as soon as this election year is over.
During the election year, you'll run as a "trusted conservative" Republican with a record of voting for tax cuts! Just count the number of times that you vote for tax cuts, no matter how minuscule and no matter how ineffectively. So long as you spend enough money, the voters will fall in line! Remember, though, you have to wait until after the election year to try again, unless you can get a "grassroots" campaign to put a tax increase on the ballot without your name associated with it!
You probably shouldn't continue to move a secret scheme for taxpayer financing of a sports stadium with your big donors and corporate cronies. (That pesky Noah Pransky and 10 Investigates might break a story on your secret schemes during the election year, which could hurt chances of winning!) If you do continue scheming, don't worry. You probably won't get caught. So, what if you do get caught? Then, stick with the scientific method.
Whenever an investigative reporter asks you a question just say: "...due to your irresponsible and misleading reporting, I have chosen not to speak to you...," a phrase that you must memorize perfectly! You don't have to worry if what you say sounds completely rehearsed. Voters won't notice. Just say this phrase over and over again, no matter what!
Here's a great example that you can learn from:
A career politician can't be expected to do better than that!
Using this scientific method, you can push for raising user fees, airport taxes, taxes for lighting, waste removal, hotels, rental cars.... If asked, just say the phrase that pays.
Let's say you said "...limitations on funding options is beginning to set into this board.... The reality is the money isn't there..." during a board meeting, in order to convince your fellow Republicans to vote for your huge sales tax increase. If called on it, just say: "...due to your irresponsible and misleading reporting, I have chosen not to speak to you...,"
Make sure to include in your direct mailers that you "voted to cut taxes" on some number of separate occasions, even if the cuts were minuscule or never actually enacted. Remember how many times those RINO Senators in Washington DC voted to repeal Obamacare, while President Obama was there to veto it? Worked great until President Trump got elected and ruined it for them. Misleading statistics are the best!
Let's assume that you are the longest serving county commission, and you've served from 2002. You're up for election in 2018, running back in a conservative district from a more moderate county wide district. You've been pushing for higher sales taxes, fees, tourist taxes and more spending on sports stadiums since 2010, when you ran for the county wide seat to extend your political career another 8 years. Now, you're term limited out, but you don't want to relinquish the power that you've gained by serving so long on the board of county commissioners.
You've raised more money faster than any other commissioner ever in the history of Hillsborough County. You've conducted polling, and your pollsters tell you voters want tax cuts and less government waste. County revenue skyrocketed your first few years as a commissioner but dipped slightly during a recession and home mortgage crisis, before taking off again and approaching new record highs. See the graph below. What do you do?
Say that you are going to cut taxes and cut government waste. Why? That's what your pollster tells you to say. Good job, but that was too easy.
Tout "conservative" credentials by saying that you saved the county from a devastating decline in revenue, even though it never actually declined to what it was when you were first elected.
Voters will think you're smart if you quote statistics. Remember to say numbers like 22.3% instead of round number like 20%, because people believe numbers that include something after a decimal point.
Say that you're for a big project, like a baseball stadium. When pressed for information on financing, say that the numbers aren't in, that taxes won't be raised to pay for it, that there will be no sweetheart deal like Raymond James stadium, and any public funding will be limited to "infrastructure".
Meanwhile, secretly agree with team owners, developers and big corporate donors that taxpayer financing is essential to make the deal work, and secretly negotiate a complex financing package that will benefit all of your big money donors. Remember Step #1 of our scientific method. Raise large amounts of cash from big donors that have business before government.
No matter what, keep the financing a secret until after the election, but take credit for keeping / moving the team to your county.
Spout irrelevant statistics about the number of "votes" to cut taxes, without actually reducing taxes on any real taxpayers.
Remember, it's critical to the scientific method to say what the voters want to hear!
Hide and deny your actual record of pushing tax and fee increases. Whenever confronted on your actual record deny it or run from it.
Remember, if your district is conservative, you are a "conservative," and it doesn't matter how you voted for the past 8 years. Make up numbers of jobs your plan created. After all, if Worknet Tampa Bay could get by with inflating numbers all those years, you should be able to make up numbers as you go too. Make up huge spending numbers based on stimulus spending and take credit for it.
My "Tax-Happy" opponent wants to increase sales taxes. So, he went one-by-one through other options for meeting the county's backlog of transportation needs that have gone unaddressed during his 15 years on the commission. What does a professional politician mean, when he says...?
This is the way a "career politician" tries to convince other commissioners to get behind his push for a referendum to increase sales taxes by more than a billion dollars.
When light rail is unpopular, say you are against "light rail," even though the plan you vote for allows the mayor of Tampa to elect to build light rail in Tampa. The fact that the mayor has already committed to building it doesn't matter.
Can you still be against it, even though you voted for it? No. That only works in Washington DC.
Also, since operating light rail requires massive subsidies, taxpayers in district 2 will continue to be taxed to operate your train, commissioner. You can't use your scientific method this time. We know what you're up to.
Chris Paradies -- listening to voters
TAMPA — A 2014 study by AECOM dismayed advocates of a plan to put a tax-increase-for-transportation referendum on an upcoming ballot. The study called for an increase in ridership on HART buses, first. Then, ridership dropped by 10% in 2016 and dropped again in 2017 and 2018...
In a Thursday night meeting, only one Republican, my opponent, "Tax-Happy" H., voted for a putting a new sales tax increase on the ballot. The four other Republican commissioners voted against his sales tax increase referendum.
Step #3: Paint yourself as the inevitable candidate to convince voters to stay home.
If you still have a primary challenger, then you're going to have to paint yourself as the inevitable candidate in order to convince voters to stay home. This is where the scientific method starts to get difficult.
Somehow, you need to convince voters that you are the inevitable candidate. Now, the local paper will likely help, because they'll only look at money raised. That's why step #1 is so important.
If your opponent is an experienced innovator, West Point graduate and small businessman, like Chris Paradies. It's going to be harder to discount his qualifications and experience.
Be warned. If you are running as a Republican, Republicans are tired of fake conservatives and fake "Republicans In Name Only." They've had enough of fake news! You'll need to work hard at making your record look like a record of achievement, even if you've mostly failed to fix any problems like traffic congestion, or you only made them worse by consistently voting for more urban sprawl, while preventing any funds from being spent on making roads better.
If you are a "Tax-Happy" career county commissioner, then you probably didn't count on a real scientist, with a Ph.D. in Materials Science from a prestigious engineering school, entering the race against you. Our "political science" won't work if you let "we the people" get active and involved. If you let support start growing for a West Point veteran, non-politician, and real small business innovator, such as Chris Paradies, then Republicans will have a real choice in the August primary, and they won't stay home!
You'll have to move on to Step #4.
Step #4: Paint the other candidates as unqualified and inexperienced and not capable of winning.
If you've moved to step #4, then there's real trouble, but don't panic.
You'll have to paint the other candidate as unqualified and inexperienced and not capable of winning.
Now, if your challenger is a West Point graduate and veteran, that earned a Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a top-tier engineering school, and his law degree summa cum laude, he's qualified, more qualified than you. So, you'll have to move on to inexperienced.
If the other candidate has more and better experience than yours, then you have another problem. How can you argue that, say, a candidate that honorably served in the Army, achieving the rank of Major, worked at Northrop Grumman, a major aerospace corporation, as a senior technical specialist and as a practice leader and shareholder at Fowler White Boggs, once one of Tampa's oldest and most respected law firms?
How can a "Tax-Happy" 16-year career county commissioner that once admitted that he didn't know anything about county government when he was first elected to the county commission paint an innovation expert with decades of experience helping small businesses to start and grow jobs of the future, teaching co.Starters, a life-changing program that helps artists and entrepreneurs to start new businesses, chairing the TEC Garage small business incubator's board of directors, and founding and leading an intellectual property law firm, as inexperienced.
If the insurgent candidate was recognized by the Florida Economic Development Council as its 2014 Regional Volunteer of the Year for helping small innovative businesses create the jobs of the future, it's going to be hard to dismiss for a career politician that has given hundreds of millions of dollars to big box stores, which put family businesses in our county out of business, creating no net new jobs and transferring millions of dollars out of your county.
If Hillsborough County and the entire Tampa Bay region have an historic opportunity to be the leader in entrepreneurship for the entire Southeast, competing with Atlanta and Research Triangle Park, then conservative voters are likely to choose someone like Chris Paradies, who fights for taxpayers and brings innovative leadership to the county commission.
As chairman of the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, which operates the TEC Garage in St. Pete and former vice-chair of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, I've mentored entrepreneurs and helped foster an innovation ecosystem. I want our sons and daughters to be able to stay here, rather than seeking employment far from home, out of necessity. As a small business owner, I know how hard it is to start and grow a business. We can make it easier for our local businesses to invest in our communities by keeping taxes low and spending tax dollars wisely. I want Hillsborough County to adopt the principles of innovation to provide better services, more efficiently.
-- Chris Paradies
If voters want a conservative Republican, a good steward of their tax dollars, with experience helping small businesses and creating jobs of the future, then they'll vote Chris Paradies on the primary ballot in August.
It'll be hard to paint such a candidate as either inexperienced or unqualified. Your only hope is to ignore the insurgent candidate, if he can't match your resources, or sling mud at him and hope it sticks. Be careful though, slinging mud often backfires if the mud you are slinging comes from your own yard.
Step #5: After the election, quietly do the opposite of what you said you would do.
A "Tax-Happy" career politician can't be expected to keep his promises. If you pushed for tax increases in 2010, 2014 and 2016, when you told voters that you were a "conservative" and would cut taxes, and they voted for you again, then why not continue to push for tax increases?
If you got away with calling yourself a conservative tax cutter in this election, while secretly "negotiating" for a taxpayer financed stadium in Ybor, which will benefit only the wealthy team owners, land owners and his big developer friends, then what's to keep you from completing the deal? After all, taxpayers will never miss the half Billion dollars or more that a stadium will cost them! Will they?
Our scientific method works, even when you are planning to add a new tax on tourists, voted to increase sales taxes on families, seniors and small businesses, and are willing to divert other resources, such as county land and general revenues to finance your dream of a baseball stadium in Ybor. It's OK. You're "a sports guy," and the voters like sports guys.
If documented texts, emails, statements under oath to sheriff's office investigators, and your own words recorded in public meetings aren't enough to derail your career as a county commissioner, nothing is.
You can say there will be no tax increases to finance the stadium, until those that stand to benefit from his stadium, such as owners of the Rays, land owners, developers, and lawyers, that filled your campaign coffers with tens of thousands of dollars in donations call in their favors.
Everyone knows from countless, independent studies by reputable economists that taxpayer subsidies for stadiums don't make sense, but that won't keep a true career politician from touting some bogus marketing study put out by the team, using inflated or fabricated numbers showing some huge economic impact for the region simply by moving the Rays across Tampa Bay.
In reality, economists have proven in credible, independent studies that there's no return on investment to taxpayers for taxpayer financed stadiums! But a "Tax-Happy" career politician should be able to find a sly way to slide secret subsidies past home plate, before the taxpayers can find out what is going on.
In fact, Cobb County already did this, and it's called the "Atlanta model". A career politician touted a new stadium as a "once in a lifetime opportunity" and an "economic development engine." Now, Cobb County is looking to raise sales taxes to pay for growing public safety expenses and is facing the closing of libraries to make up for revenues going to pay for stadium financing and operating costs. Revenues are up in Cobb County, but costs are up more!
Voters can't trust a "Tax-Happy" career politician that will say anything, loudly, to get elected, and then quietly do exactly the opposite after the election is over, but trust is over rated. It's "political science," plain and simple. This scientific method can get anyone elected, even a "Tax-Happy" 16-year career county commissioner!
Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Chris Paradies, Republican, for Hillsborough County Commission, District 2
Chris Paradies Campaign, PO Box 340611, Tampa, FL 33694