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Jon Fleischman

Jon Fleischman has been a political activist and Republican political professional for 15 years. He was Executive Director of the California Republican Party from 1999 - 2001, and served as State President of the California Republican Assembly, the state's largest Republican volunteer organization, from 1995 - 1997.

He is proprietor of the website FlashReport which is a premier source of California political news.


The Mental Primary
A Blueprint for Republicans to Determine out How to Vote in a Recall Election.
[Jon Fleischman] 9/22/03

The "rules of engagement" for this special recall election are different than any normal Primary or General Election. I don't know about you, but in a normal Primary Election, I typically vote for the candidate with whom I agree the most on the issues. My candidate either wins the primary, or another candidate does (hopefully my candidate does). Either way, in the General Election, we then have a choice between the parties - and as a member of the Grand Old Party, I vote Republican. This special Recall Election combines the Primary and General Elections into one. Republicans have two main candidates running, Arnold Schwarzenegger and State Senator Tom McClintock. In the meantime, the Democrat Party has only one major candidate - Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante. This is a major problem, of course, because the top vote getter in this recall election wins the office of Governor (assuming that Gray Davis is recalled).

If you are a Republican Party voter, how do you deal with the fact that we, in essence, have a primary taking place right on the General Election ballot? Who do we vote for? As a conservative Republican, I have come to the conclusion that the only way we keep Bustamante from continuing the Democrat stranglehold on the Governor's seat is for me to hold my own "Mental Primary."

You might wonder exactly what I mean by that. It means that I decided to stop everything for a few minutes, and thoroughly review the candidates of both Schwarzenegger and McClintock. I looked at all of the information available to me, and then I cast my own silent vote (in my head) for the candidate for whom I would have voted if this were a normal Primary Election.

This process being done, I realized that in doing so, I now am free to look at this Recall Election as a General Election, with the guiding principle being: looking at the two Republicans, which one of them has the best chance of defeating Bustamante? I've done this, and come to my own conclusion. But for this process to work, every Republican needs to do this before they vote. It is a very difficult process to detach emotionally from your favorite candidate - but you have to figure out a way to look at the race objectively and figure out who "won" your mental primary. The "winner" of the primary is NOT necessary whom you "voted" for - the winner of the mental primary is the Republican you determine can defeat Cruz Bustamante.

If you want to be an opinion-leader, whether in your home, or in a group or organization, you should hold your "mental primary" as soon as you can. After all, over 500,000 votes have already been cast via absentee ballot, and it is Cruz Bustamante's big win if Republicans candidates receive nearly 40% of those votes, but those votes are split between two candidates.

I guarantee you that Cruz Bustamante, Democrat Party Chairman Art Torres, and the entire Democrat leadership team is banking on the fact that since there is only one Democrat on the ballot, and two Republicans - that the GOP votes will split and that liberals will retain the Governorship. The last thing that they want are millions of Republicans holding these personal "mental primaries" - but this is what we need to do to win.

I will close with these final thoughts. Remember that this blueprint only will work if you truly feel that either of our prominent Republican candidates would be a better Governor of California than Cruz Bustamante. Second - you have to hold your "mental primary" before you vote - and if you want to be an opinion-leader, you should hold very soon! Finally, you have to work hard to educate everyone you know about the importance of getting rid of Gray Davis. The recall election is nothing more than a beauty contest if Gray Davis survives the recall vote!

copyright 2003 Jon Fleischman



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