Mitch and the Mailers

A Kentucky GOP mailer intended to deceive voters in the 2014 election.


Detail: Eric Lewis, "Animal Nuz #223".  1 November 2014.  Via Daily Kos.Eric Lewis certainly shows confidence, titling his latest installment of Animal News (#223), “Buh-Bye Mitch Edition”. And whatever we might believe about the polling, the averages, the aggregators, the modelers, year-six elections, or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s advantage in the numbers heading into election day, it really does seem as if the incumbent’s campaign senses greater insecurity in those numbers; of all the close races leading toward what is predicted to be a Republican triumph, the senior senator from Kentucky has one of the most visible advantages.

Then again, he did fall back to trying to cover his Social Security gaffe with an astoundingly innovatinve campaign argument: “I’m not announcing what the agenda would be in advance.” Far be it for us to pretend to be any arbiter of all things, but something seems amiss about that formulation.

And that would have been what it was, except, well, Lewis has a point with is sensational “headline”:

Senator McTurtle’s illeglally deceptive mailer is just one of many signs his campaign is starting to panic.”

Alexandra Jaffe brings the stenographer’s version for The Hill:

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes’s campaign has filed suit to prevent Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) campaign and the Kentucky Republican Party from distributing a mailer it says is intended to suppress turnout in Eastern Kentucky.

But McConnell’s campaign is now “exploring all legal options” to block a mailer issued by the Kentucky Democratic Party it says is attempting to “sow racial division” in the state with falsehoods.

Actually, it is worth reading past those two paragraphs; the pretense of the split lede might put some off as if they were about to read another account of just another day in politics. The next several can be left to the reader; that is, is it really an equal question when one claim is an actual campaign violation and the opposing claim is that their feelings are hurt by a hard but accurate blow?

Because, you know, it’s not a reporter’s job to separate fact from fiction.

Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo DC is perhaps a bit more activist in his description, but, you know sometimes you just have to let these things happen. That is to say, it makes the point a bit more clearly.

A mailer sent by the Republican Party of Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) re-election campaign, intended to deceive voters by posing as some sort of public notice of lawbreaking.  Via TPM DC.In a move that Democrats are lambasting as a voter suppression tactic, Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign and its GOP allies are distributing a mailer to Kentucky voters with the title “ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE.”

It warns of “a possible fraud” and reads, “You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information.” It says it’s paid for by the Republican Party of Kentucky and authorized by the McConnell Senate Committee ’14.

The mailer is ultimately a rather creative attack on Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, telling the voter that she is feeding them “fraudulent information” and “blatant lies solely to deceive Kentucky voters” about McConnell and her own candidacy.

This is a thing among Republicans. Their view of political rhetoric now includes sleights intended to make voters wonder if they are being threatened by the laws. It is not quite as blatant as, say, sending minority voters misinformation about election day or their polling place, or threatening them with prison for trying to vote, but it’s still pretty low, especially for a Senate stalwart like McConnell. And the amateurish execution looks more like something Rand Paul’s people might think up, but … er … um … oh.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) answers questions from members of the press after speaking at a campaign rally Oct. 22, 2014 in Grayson, Ky. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty)One wonders at Eric Lewis’ confidence. Then again, he might simply be wondering at Mitch McConnell’s lack of confidence. Of all the close races, his is perhaps the least close; then again, there should be no question in the first place, so maybe that’s it. But these last days bely the media confidence of an overwhelming Republican victory. While many signs point toward that narrative, the details suggest there might in fact be another story in play. Stay tuned.


Lewis, Eric. “Animal Nuz #223 – Buh-Bye Mitch Edition”. Daily Kos. 1 November 2014.

Benen, Steve. “McConnell digs a hole on Social Security, falls in”. msnbc. 27 October 2014.

—————. “McConnell trips on Social Security approaching finish line”. msnbc. 29 October 2014.

Jaffe, Alexandra. “Grimes, McConnell spar over mailers”. The Hill. 31 October 2014.

Kapur, Sahil. “McConnell Mailers Imply Ky. Voters Are Involved In ‘Election Violation'”. Talking Points Memo DC. 31 October 2014.

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