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Thursday, October 11, 2018

How Will De-motivating Voters Help Democrats?

by tristero

I've never seen anything like this, not during the 60's, not during the run up to Obama in 2008.

Everyone I know — I mean everyone — is climbing the walls in frustration. We want to do something, anything, to stop the Trump administration and its allies from irrevocably damaging this country if not blowing up the world. Motivation to defeat Republicans and elect Democrats couldn't be higher.

You would think that Democrats would want to capitalize on this energy the way Lyndon Johnson did. LBJ didn't defeat Barry Goldwater by mincing words. His campaign created "Daisy," an ad with the bluntest possible message: if the Republican wins, your baby will die.

Now that's motivation to get out and vote. And vote they did: Johnson won in a landslide. But today, for reasons that never fail to mystify me, mainstream Democrats and their enablers in the press have decided that LBJ got it wrong. A strategy of de-motivation is the way to Democratic victory:
[W]e see prominent Republicans, including the Senate majority leader and the head of the Republican National Committee, peddling the idea that if Democrats gain power in Congress, one of their top priorities will be to impeach Justice Kavanaugh. No matter that this claim has no factual basis — it plays perfectly to the Republican base’s enduring sense of victimhood.
Democrats must resist the urge to follow Republicans down this spider hole, or that of any radioactive topic designed to inflame partisan passions.
And what should Democrats do?
In the Senate, they have said they will fixate on health care in the coming weeks, with special attention paid to protections for people with pre-existing conditions... President Trump fibbed about having fulfilled a campaign vow to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions, when in reality his administration has refused to defend such protections. Every single Democratic candidate should be laboring to make sure that every single American voter knows this.
This is a recipe for disaster. Cottle is urging Democrats to take the wind out of voters' sails by focusing on two generalized, highly abstract and contingent ideas — the president "fibbing" and the coverage of pre-existing conditions in Obamacare. And she's expecting voters to extrapolate from these vaguely defined ideas to something specific — how it affects themselves - even if voters don't have a pre-existing condition (many don't) or Obamacare (ditto).

By contrast, the Trumpists have chosen to focus not on an idea but instead on a highly specific and salient case of victimization - the smearing of Brett Kavanaugh. Then they ask voters to make the simplest of imaginative leaps: what if this highly qualified judge was your son, your father, your husband?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that personalizing the Kavanaugh story will trump a strategy based on complicated, multi-syllabic talk about pre-existing conditions and, fercrissakes, "fibs." Nor does it take a genius to devise a powerful Democratic counter-strategy that capitalizes on our motivation and frustration without falling down a spider hole.

Focus on the real victims here - Dr. Blasey Ford, Ramirez, etc — and pivot from there to how Republicans victimize everyone but their filthy rich donors. If they win, they're gonna make life even worse for your mother, your father, your daughter, your son. And you yourself.

Simply create a video of the Nazis marching in Charlottesville and Trump making excuses for them. And state the obvious: these guys are coming for you next.

Because they are, they really are.