Started following a terrific writer and commentator yesterday. I was motivated to hammer out one of my long winded screeds in response to a post he made on February 8, 2018
And then again in response to one of his articulate and learned followers, of which he has many.
To Charles’ Original Post
“The very viability of democracy is dependent upon a public willingness to yield to the better argument.” — Charles D. Hayes Facebook Post , February 8, 2018
They categorically reject this notion. It is winner take all for them. Hence why winning is so important and why they insist we shut up now that they’ve won.
It took me awhile of futilely attempting discussion online, let alone debate as to relative merits of positions, to realize they weren’t interested at all in discussion or debate.
Forget compromise or concession to the better argument or demonstrable facts of success of a policy.
Thinking at first that they just wanted to be heard, feeling shut out of national discourse as they perceived they’d always been on the hated “MSM”, I’ve been doing a sort of social experiment of avoiding any attempt to debate, and simply asking them to describe their positions and how they came to them. Alternately asking what they thought ours were, and why they opposed them. They refused. Absolutely refused. Almost always without mentioning a single issue or act or policy or anything resembling reality-based occurrences to point to for their rigid and unyielding hatred of all things Liberal/Democrat/Progressive (usually nowadays condensed to the more scary “Leftists.”) When I did get a reason or 2 it was always a complete fabrication, often something I’d never heard at all, having never subjected myself to RW propaganda.
That specter for them is a monolithic and homogeneous threat of similar, but opposite, like-minded robots attacking them and their way of life and values. And for them that was comprised of everything and everyone who didn’t think like them.
Almost always the reply started with “Open your eyes!!!” as the first salvo and would jump right to the “you stupid libtards.” The inevitable, “We won, get over it, you snowflakes” was the key to my finally getting it. The “Us vs Them” paradigm, ratched up to a scale of “All or Nothing.” That’s all that matters to them. They have their beliefs, they are preeminent in their world and minds, fixed and unalterable and unchallengeable, and therefore to prevail as they were bound to do to ‘save the world’—their world as they envision it—the contest is to simply win.
Naturally, it’s perfectly fine for them to go on fighting when they are on the outs, hence the relentless demonization and attacks on Obama and all Democrats and Libtards—their world is at stake!—but when they win, we are supposed to accept they are in charge without complaint. We are the Devil, don’t forget.
This will not end well I’m afraid. But I still hope for the best. We are at a key point at this precise moment…will our traditions and institutions hold up as they have in the past? Will democracy be able to save democracy? (h/t to Naomi Wolf) or will ‘it can never happen here’ finally happen here?
To a comment from Becca Anderson
It is not possible to get Trump’s base to vote for a Democrat. Ever. As has been said elsewhere, their minds cannot be changed. Ever.
Only maybe if we change our platform to theirs. And then we won’t be us, we’ll be them. LOL (please read the Lakoff piece for an understand why this is so) It would still take decades of messaging for it to convince them to give us a shot. That’s how ingrained their hatred of us is.
A good slogan or dumbing down policy or ideas into digestible sound bytes so they understand them will do nothing. It will only make them hate Liberals//Democrats more, for they oppose everything we believe in. We can’t undo a lifetime of programming and a belief system that they are wired to protect at all costs and fight at all costs against any perceived threats to that belief system. Us vs. Them. That is a fixed paradigm. It is truly: All or Nothing with this cohort.
On top of that they’ve willingly absorbed 50 years of propaganda telling them Dems/Libs are much worse than anything they may see or hear in reality about us, that reality is not to be trusted, but Fox News and RW talk radio is. They will not believe any input to the contrary, dismissing it as LIES!!!!11!!!!! FROM THE PIT OF HELL!!!1!!!! *and will not even listen. Believe me I’ve tried for about 20 years.
They are 25-30% of the electorate but they are concentrated in states where they are way in the majority. We need to identify those states where they aren’t and focus there only.
The target audience has to be those who are not confirmed Trump conservatives, not Evangelicals, not Tea Partier types, but those so called “swing” voters who still are open to the programs the Democrats have historically offered and will continue to offer, and messaging to them. This is still the biggest bloc of voters out there and we do not reach them, and as the Lakoff piece explains Trump did by dominating the news cycle day after day, regardless of what he said or how repulsive it was. We need to get that.
The key is repetition of the message, bulk exposure. Like it or not, that is how the mind works in the majority of humans. “Liberal minds” as Becca described them so accurately are in the minority. Lakoff is not the only guru out there but he is on the money on this point. We need to realize and accept that reason is not the way most minds work.
Secondly we do have to message to the Progressive ‘purists’ who have appeared in the wake of the alleged Bernie/Hillary delegate fixing fiasco who have come now to even more firmly believe the Democratic party is as corrupt as the Republicans and in bed with Wall St. or in other ways not “pure” to whatever their ideals may be. So they stay home or vote 3rd party. You know the ones who always say they’re ‘tired of holding their noses and voting for the lesser of 2 evils’ in order to keep the far right conservatives from wrecking everything. Well, that didn’t work out, and we need to let them know it, and at the same time we need to appeal to them clearly on what we can and will try to accomplish, and inform them that we can’t be everything they dream of and still get elected and make things happen legislatively.
Moderating our message somewhat to appeal to the first group while still keeping the second group on board and getting all of them to get out the vote will be the biggest challenge.
But what do I know…I’m just some old guy in guns and bibles country in PA. Do you think the DNC will take my advice? LOL.
*kind of an in joke if you’ve ever seen ALL CAPS RWNJ POSTS ON FACEBOOK!!!!1!!!1!!!