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Democrats Shouldn’t Lose This Election

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The question that Democrats should be asking themselves is, “Why can’t they handle midterm elections?”

Democrats are facing their worst electoral blow-out in 16 years. But, in truth, there is no reason in the world why 2010 has to be a re-run of 1994 — except that they once again have totally lost control of the message and political narrative.

Why do Democrats craft inspiring messages of hope and renewal in big presidential years like 1992 and 2008 only to lose their touch, and their tongues, just two years later?

Even 2006, the year Democrats retook control of Congress, had much more to do with widespread and deep dissatisfaction with George W. Bush than with any Democratic skill.

Republicans, obviously, blame the policies for the Democrats’ reversals. They condemned Bill Clinton’s “lurch to the left” 16 years ago just as they attack Barack Obama’s “socialism” today.

But that’s no more true today than it was 16 years ago. Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans over-read the results of the 1994 election, and in their overreach, handed Clinton his keys to re-election.

And polls this year indicate that Americans continue to support overall Democratic priorities, such as a majority who agree that the federal government should be spending to help create jobs instead of focusing primarily on deficit reduction. Some 60 percent specifically supported a recent bill that provides federal assistance to state governments to prevent layoffs of teachers and others nationwide.

Americans also still blame Republicans more than Democrats for the current economic mess.

So despite what tea-party types and others say, if Republicans aren’t winning on the merits, why are Democrats in so much trouble?

Because Democrats and their allies simply have not kept up with the right-wing in terms of the national megaphone.

Yes, yes, you can point to an Obama town hall here, or a progressive talk show host there making good sense. But they are getting drowned out in the aggregate, especially because Democrats continue to speak primarily on an intellectual, not emotional, level.

Republicans have become successful because, even if what they say is nonsense, they on some level simply are connecting on an emotional level with the deep anxiety and anger that most Americans feel.

Democrats must start communicating at the same gut level.

The good news is that if they try, Democrats are more than capable.

Even Obama, who many Americans apparently see as too cerebral, still is more than capable of landing a few zingers, such as when he attacks Republicans with this line, “If you have a car and you want to go forward, what do you do? You put it in ‘D,'” Obama says to laughter. “When you want to go backwards, what do you do? You put it in ‘R.’ I’m just saying. That’s no coincidence. We are not going to give them the keys back.” 

It’s funny, it’s memorable, and it fits. It’s just the the kind of gut-level argument that Democrats need to start throwing out there.

So why haven’t most Americans heard Obama say it? Why is it confined only to preaching-to-the-choir speeches that the president makes at Democratic fundraisers?

If there is a smart Democratic ad man or ad woman still out there, he or she would not only produce an ad which shows Obama delivering the line, they would make ads with many popular Democrats saying it too, and then buy enough air time to run the spots over and over again through November.

Make Americans remember why they trusted Democrats in the first place.

Clinton, you recall, was at his best when he told you that he “felt your pain.”

Democrats would be wise to remind Americans that they still do.

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About Scott Nance

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Democrats Shouldn’t Lose This Election

    Yes, they should.

    they would make ads with many popular Democrats saying it too,

    Good luck finding a popular Democrat in DC. Maybe you could find some in Hollywood.

    Make Americans remember why they trusted Democrats in the first place.

    Reminding them of that will also remind them of the way Democrats betrayed them. Bad plan.

    The problem is that the Democrats are led by a collection of unappealing rogues who have expanded the size of government at the expense of the people more than any past administration and have driven us into economic disaster while constantly lying to us.

    You can’t just wish that away or negate it with a glib speech or commercial.

    Dave

  • Sam Adams

    Well…You can’t fault Barry for transparency. It is now transparent to all Americans who are not Kool-Aid drunk that this is nothing more than a gasping attempt to appease voters before the November to Remember. What will be trotted out in the weeks to come wasn’t part of the Lib stimulus plan six months ago. Just another shell game by the Shill in Chief. Yep, this administration is transparent all right….we see right through you.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/realist Realist

    As much as I don’t want to see the Republicans regain power, the Democrats deserve to lose.

    All the Obama administration needs to do to see why their prospects are so bad in November is to look in the mirror. While they do so, they should remember all the times they kissed up to the GOP while pissing on their supporters and telling them it’s rain. This began the day after the election, and still hasn’t yet abated despite all of the empty rhetoric to the contrary. Talk is cheap, and the walk is littered with GOP debris.

    You can only fool all of the people some of the time – and time has expired.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Scott,

    These damn elections are why they can’t think, or even utter a coherent sentence in the first place. I’m talking about this never-ending personal preoccupation with reelection BOTH PARTIES!!!

    One term limits would bring some focus and the desire to actually do something, besides accepting instructions and bribes from special interests and mega corporations.

    The Democrats need to ask themselves, why they have allowed this many DINOs to infiltrate their party.

    Politics is just a game to so many Americans, that *ad men and women* are now controlling the entire process. Of course, if you can squeeze a message in-between “America’s Got Talent”, “The Tonight Show”, and whatever other mindless crap is on that TV (Fox News)and actually stimulate a few braincells, good luck!

    :O I’m still going to vote for these *fools*, as they are the better choice of the TWO! Anyone thinking that there are THREE choices, I’ve got some news for YOU. The Tea Party doesn’t even exist!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    :D Happy Labor Day!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    …they should remember all the times they kissed up to the GOP while pissing on their supporters and telling them it’s rain…

    This kind of mindless anger-over-thinking reflex is why we are losing, not the administration’s centrist actions.

    And whiners on the left will have to live with the consequences: a bunch of tea-party crazies gumming up the works for a few years at least.

    Happy?

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    Democrats need to vote. The alleged “undecided” may take a pass on the midterms. The “independent” voters — disenfranchised republicans — may also take a pass.

    Democrats need to update an oldie but a goldy to give both groups something they can agree with and understand.

    In your guts you know they’re nuts.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Maybe, Handyguy, should stop whining about how being milquetoast is better than actually taking a stand.

    JD

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    That *middle of the road* of yours is why I am here. grow a nerve

    JD -and yes, thank you…I am happy.

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    Save The Rich — Vote Republican

    Tommy

  • Clavos

    Politics is just a game to so many Americans…

    Of course! How could anyone take those buffoons in DC seriously?

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    We don’t need no stinkin term limits. There are better solutions.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Democrats need to vote. The alleged “undecided” may take a pass on the midterms. The “independent” voters — disenfranchised republicans — may also take a pass.

    You should check out something called a “newspaper” sometime or find the equivalent on the web. Independents are expected to turn out in huge, record numbers this fall.

    One of the best resons for Republicans to win is that body of very unhappy Republicans who want to see the party change. The factionalism in the GOP puts a lot of pressure on their candidates to follow through on their promises and live up to expectations once in office, which will be a welcome change.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    “Make Americans remember why they trusted Democrats in the first place.”

    They never trusted them, they were pissed at the Republicans. That’s why the Dems won in 06 and 08 and it’s going to be why the GOP wins in 2010.

    Don’t over think it Scott. Both parties suck. It’s just that simple.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    When do you vote, Dan?

  • John Wilson

    “Politics is just a game to so many Americans…”

    Yes, because they follow the lead of popular middle-of-the-road MSM, which only discusses the horse races instead of the issues because it’s easy to maintain a pretense of neutrality that way, and you don’t lose customers.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Is that *No Koolaide* you’re drinking there, Arch?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Well, the games over…

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    #13: Independents are expected to turn out in huge, record numbers this fall.

    Actually, Dave, I have checked out something called newspapers. The question is, “expected” by whom? Editorial boards? I challenge the veracity of such a prognostication in my BC article.

    It is a lot like a car buyer telling a car saleman what the Kelley Blue Book value is of their trade.

    Kelley Blue Book does not sell cars. Values are best case scenarios and are entirely dependent on local wholesale values.

    Tommy

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Jeannie, re # 15 — I vote whenever, wherever, however and for whomever the silent radio waves emanating from the headquarters of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy direct me; but only if I feel like it. Tomorrow, I shall probably vote for Uncle Jay, if I want to. Wednesday? I am still undecided.

    Democracy in auction, I mean action.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Dan(Miller)

    Take a chance! :D The left is fun…

    Democracy in auction… Sad, that’s exactly what we had during the Bush/Cheney terms.

    JD

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    The plain fact is that it’s a lot easier to run an election campaign from opposition than it is from incumbency.

    In opposition, you don’t really have to do much more than point out how the government is fucking up. In government, you not only have to defend what you’re doing but also find things that the opposition is fucking up – which by definition isn’t a whole heck of a lot, because they’re the opposition.

  • Baronius

    “One term limits would bring some focus and the desire to actually do something, besides accepting instructions and bribes from special interests and mega corporations.”

    Probably not; they’d have less time to develop expertise, and would be more dependent on industry experts.

    “The “independent” voters — disenfranchised republicans — may also take a pass.”

    Dave’s right, all signs are that this isn’t going to happen.

    “The plain fact is that it’s a lot easier to run an election campaign from opposition than it is from incumbency.”

    That statement is somewhat misleading. Historically, at least 90% of all incumbents win. On an individual basis, it’s easier for an incumbent to win, because he’s got the name recognition and control of his machine. Even on a collective basis, the party in power tends to stay in power. But holding the House, Senate, and Presidency is a bad combination to defend.

  • vcs3

    “They [Democrats] once again have totally lost control of the message and political narrative” — because of right-wing media, such as Fox News, and hate-radio, and the Tea Party “movement” — funded by Koch Industries in particular and the oil industry in general. The Dems have lost control of the narrative because they don’t have enough $$$. So — you know what you can do with your “narrative”…

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    “Dave’s right, all signs are that this isn’t going to happen.”

    The signs said Dewey defeats Truman.

    Burma Shave.

  • vcs3

    “Republicans have become successful because, even if what they say is nonsense, they on some level simply are connecting on an emotional level with the deep anxiety and anger that most Americans feel” — that’s straight out of Hitler’s playbook… “Even if what they say is nonsense”, they’ll still get SUCKERS to vote for them…

  • Baronius

    Tommy, you’re right, the election hasn’t happened yet. And the Republicans have been congratulating themselves on their November 2010 win since mid-2008. They’ve gotten way ahead of themselves. No one knows what’s going to happen. But let’s be honest: the signs aren’t good for the Democrats.

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    What is odious is the US vs.THEM theme, as if either comes from some superior moral high ground. It is the low ground that is being exploited because it is so easily done. That is, as vcs3 says, what the Nazi party perfected.

  • Baronius

    Scott, please answer a question for me.

    The left has people who agree with you, saying that the Democratic Party is intellectual, and the Republican Party is emotional. The Dems’ problem is that the voters aren’t smart enough, and fall for the GOP’s emotion-laden propaganda.

    On the other hand, there are people like Jeannie who say that the Republicans lack empathy. They’re cold and calculating, employing a Darwinian social policy and a cruel foreign policy. The virtue of the Democrats, in this analysis, is the broadness of their hearts.

    These accounts are conflicting. The superiority of the Democrats can’t be both in their emotionalism and their lack of emotionalism. So which is it? Are Democrats wise beyond others, or compassionate beyond others?

    The only scenario in which both are true is the one with evil Republican fat cats leading duped, emotional masses. That way, the Republicans are both heartless and stupid. But I reject any political analysis that assigns every form of human evil onto either one of the parties.

  • Baronius

    Tommy, I hadn’t seen your last comment before I posted mine. But based on both of them, let me ask you, isn’t your labelling of Republicans as rich and insane an “us vs. them” act?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    You read it? On the other hand, there are people like Jeannie who say that the Republicans lack empathy.

    Why not comment there? :(

    Do you lack, empathy too?

  • Baronius

    My comment only makes sense in light of the later article, so that’s the one I commented on.

    But what about you, Jeannie: do you think that Democrats are both smarter and more empathetic?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    There is good and bad in all of us…

    I’m not morally superior compared to you because of your political party affiliation. I didn’t say that in my article.

    JD

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Some are, some aren’t, we are a mixed bag, no?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    It’s this two-party political game that divides us all.

    I understand the Republicans are not supposed to fight with each-other. Is this true? Well, if it is, it explains alot.

    You can’t change or grow, if you don’t question.

    Question your party’s motives, not just the Democrats.

    :D That’s what I would do, if I were a Republican!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Baronius,

    Imposing term limits is the wrong idea, after reading your comment #23.

    How about this: The person in office is not allowed to campaign. This, would free their minds so that they can serve the country, instead of only their party.

  • vcs3

    The “the broadness of their [Democrats] hearts” need not be at the expense of their “intellectualism”. In fact it takes intelligence to see the need for caring about families and the working man — an intelligence the GOP is sorely lacking. It’s the GOP that lack empathy — except when it comes to trolling for votes, when they’ll push every emotional button they can get at. They’re well aware of such duplicity; they laugh at their supporters all the way to the bank.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    That statement is somewhat misleading. Historically, at least 90% of all incumbents win. On an individual basis, it’s easier for an incumbent to win, because he’s got the name recognition and control of his machine.

    Good points, Baronius, although I did say it was easier for the opposition to campaign – not necessarily to win.

    You make a good case for pouring cold water on the Republicans-will-sweep-all-before-them-this-November euphoria, though. Especially since the size of the majorities the Democrats have in the House and Senate are going to be extremely tough to overturn.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    vcs3,

    I agree,

    It takes intelligence to see the need for caring about families and the working man.

    Well, that proves it, I’m a genius!

    JD ROTFLMAO…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    the size of the majorities the Democrats have in the House and Senate are going to be extremely tough to overturn.

    That’s my prayer, Doc, if they regain total control we will go backward in time…

    JD

  • Baronius

    Dread, I don’t see a way for the Republicans to get to 51 in the Senate. Realclearpolitics has 48 D’s, 45 R’s, and 7 tossups: CA, CO, FL, IL, NV, WA, and WI. Can the Republicans get lucky in 6 out of 7 of them?

    And let’s say they do. That’s going to put them in a body that requires 60 votes to do most anything, and 67 to override a Presidential veto. It’ll be a group of old-school moderates and newcomers who have stronger allegiance to the Tea Party than the GOP. That’s a tough herd to corral.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Jeannie, you’re not really calling Obama a milquetoast, are you?

    Yes, I am a centrist, proud of it too. That doesn’t imply cowardice. Partisanship is what has frozen our government into a standstill. I think that sucks.

  • http://loftypremise.blogspot.com/ Tommy Mack

    Folks, this is all about political speech. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right.

    I am concerned that the polls are propaganda – popular, not intellectually pleasing. Besides, it is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths, anyway.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    No HandyGuy, I was referring to you.

    Maybe I project too much, but it seems as though YOU are always quipping little labels near ME or at ME, lefty populace comes to mind right now.

    Obama, is not milquetoast.

    That was a great speech on Labor day! Now drive over the party of no’s heads because there is no such thing as bi-partisan politics. Not here, anyway!

    JD

  • GTW3

    “Why do Democrats craft inspiring messages of hope and renewal in big presidential years like 1992 and 2008 only to lose their touch, and their tongues, just two years later?”

    Because it was a message designed to get them elected.

    You actually think they intended to follow through?

  • gaetano

    I say this. The words DEMOCRATS and REPUBLICAN need to be done away with. You stone headed democrats seem to think that these 2 words should go to war against each other. Republicans are the same. Start voting for what you want and the people you want , and forget those 2 sickning words.Try to use your brains and be a leader, not a follower.And please forget about past presidents and what they did . Start voting your heart not your hard headed grandfathers ideas.