Yesterday I wrote about Ted Cruz’ insulting mailer to his own supporters in Iowa. The mailer accused recipients of a “voting violation” and gave them and their neighbors report cards with “F” grades, complete with a percentage score supposedly showing the voters’ poor past caucus attendance history. As I noted, the reason for sending a mailer like this is that social pressure has been shown to increase voter turnout–but it can also backfire when handled hamfistedly, which the Cruz campaign’s mailer certainly was.
But social pressure mailers also at least presume that the voters’ past history is being reported accurately, or else the pressure tactics could doubly backfire. And as it turns out, the Cruz mailer was doubly deceptive in that it appears to have simply made up voter histories:
“There are other people listed on my mailer who live in my neighborhood that are all different ages, but everyone on this sheet has the same score of fifty-five per cent,” he said. “Some are significantly younger and would have not been eligible to vote in these elections, and others are older and have voted consistently, going back years. There is no way to get to us all having the same score.”
If the Cruz campaign based its score on local elections, Peterson said, the number also wouldn’t make sense, based on his participation in those elections as well. A source with access to the Iowa voter file told me that he checked several other names on Cruz mailers and that the voting histories of those individuals did not match the scores that the Cruz campaign assigned them in the mailer…
I e-mailed Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the Cruz campaign, and asked her what the campaign’s methodology was for arriving at its voting scores and whether the scores were fraudulent. “This was a mailer designed from public information and modeled on past successful mailers used by the Iowa GOP to turn out voters, so that we can have as high of a turnout as possible on caucus day,” she said. “I’ll leave it at that.” She did not explain the methodology used, nor did she answer my question about whether the numbers were made up.
If that doesn’t encapsulate the lack of respect for truth and decency that is Ted Cruz, I don’t know what does.