Monday, November 15, 2004
This Joel Pett cartoon captures my view of the election.
I've read so many analyses of what went wrong -- or what didn't go right enough -- that I'm overwhelmed and still perplexed.
One question: Why are upper middle class Democrats who vote against their own financial self interest for programs to aid the poor and middle class called "elites"?
Why are Hollywood liberals blamed for the coarseness of the culture when the owners of the major media that create these programs -- not only Fox -- are Republican supporters?
Why are Democrats chided for being "angry," when it's the right wing talk show hosts who are the most vicious? And why are Dems being warned against being obstructionist when that was the exact Republican policy in '92 and '96?
If you had told any political operative that this year's election would draw 14 million more voters than 2000, he or she likely would have predicted a Kerry victory. In the past, people haven't turned out in large number to vote for the status quo. But they did this year. Why? Many were motivated largely by fear of terrorism, which the Bush administration fanned at every opportunity. I don't know whether, even if John Kerry had been a better candidate, he could have gotten a hearing from these folks.
(Of course, John Kerry got 5 million more votes than Al Gore got in 2000, so the Democrats and other progressives were doing some things right -- just not enough. Now, if we could only agree on what those things were!)
I do not believe Democrats should change their basic positions. I do think they need to be able to express them better and more simply.
I was going to write about the linguist George Lakoff anyway, but yesterday's New York Times provides a good summary of view. Lakoff says that progressives need to frame their issues differently because people vote their identities, not their self-interest. One example: Framing the issue of the deficit as a "baby tax," since our kids will be paying for it.
That's for the long haul, though.
In the short term, I want to say thanks for reading and contributing.
posted by Carol Towarnicky at # 1:33 PM
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