Winning Elections with Integrity and Authenticity

By Dr. Noah Robinson

Oregonians want honest elected officials. And yet, politics has become so corrupt that many voters ignore those officials as much as possible, and many of them don’t even vote.

One lesson from the Senate District 2 primary election is that Republican campaign consultants and candidates should run strictly honest campaigns. It actually isn’t hard – just try to tell the truth.

It is expected that candidates will advertise their strengths. It is expected that they will contrast themselves with their opponents in ways they feel will gain approval of the voters. This is simply good campaigning – providing it is not done in a way that implies something untrue.

Unfortunately, politicians figured out long ago that if they can twist the truth in such a way as to deceive voters, a race could be won that might otherwise be lost. This is covered up with all sorts of clever euphemisms like “defining your opponent” or “messaging an issue.”

Can a politician essentially lie to the voters during the election and then represent his constituents with common sense and integrity once elected? The experimental evidence shows it doesn’t happen.

State Capitol renovation

For example, is renovating the Capitol building in Salem so that politicians can have cushier meeting spaces so important that it is worth $600 million of taxpayer money? The politicians (mostly Democrats) thought so. Ordinary Oregonians would think differently. They are struggling to afford a house at all.

As usual, most of the money is being wasted. The cost of the project is more than $2,500 per square foot, which would be over $4 million for a 1,600-square-foot house.

It’s a renovation, not even a rebuild! Would you spend $4 million dollars on a remodel of your house?

No productive work is done in the Capitol; it is just a meeting place. There are no special facilities needed. Only the government could spend $4 million renovating the equivalent of a 1,600-square-foot house.

Campaign managers

Almost a century ago, Will Rogers quipped, “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as we do when the baby gets hold of a hammer. It’s just a question of how much damage he can do with it before you take it away from him.”

I have been my father’s campaign manager since he first ran for Congress against Rep. Peter DeFazio. I sometimes tell people that campaign managers are the lowest form of life, because they are supposed to do things that even the politicians aren’t willing to do. It’s perhaps too true a joke to be funny. Our scientific approach to managing campaigns, which involves trying very hard to be accurate, is not as common as it should be.

Voters are smart. They are not the rubes politicians often assume them to be. A straightforward and honest candidate has a tremendous advantage.

Voters are also tired of October surprises. The old tactic of trying to dream up a last-minute lie is wearing thin.

Will the consultants learn from wasting more than $300,000 of lobbyist money and making up outrageous lies about me and my family in trying to defeat us? I doubt it, even though the election wasn’t close. We won with over 61% of the vote.

Bryan Iverson, who worked with my opponent’s campaign, has been making up more falsehoods to explain losing. He says Republicans in our district are different. He cites other races where more moderate candidates won, without mentioning that no viable alternative with the money to advertise was available.

Our campaign emphasized a no-deal-making and strictly principled approach to politics. That is the proper ethical position, and it is what voters want – not just in our district, all over the state.

We need Republicans to win this fall. To help with this, they should fire any consultant that suggests dishonest practices no matter how clever or skilled he appears.

Oregon voters

Oregon voters are far more conservative than it appears from the statewide election results. We should not be losing to dishonest Democrat politicians.

Republican principles of freedom, limited government, a minimum of taxation and just wanting to be left alone to run their lives and their businesses, are so much better than the current Democrat policies that we should be winning every election.

Voters will vote for candidates who appear to be and are authentic. They may not agree on every position, but they will still respect candidates who are truthful.

Republicans can take back the legislature with a straightforward and honest approach.

Dr. Noah Robinson is vice president of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. He and his family have 25 years of experience in homeschool education. He is the Republican nominee for Senate District 2.