Tag Archive: Republican

A realist’s take on the Democratic primary race

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a show of unity in 2008.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a show of unity in 2008.

A true realist might not care who wins the 2016 Democratic presidential primary contest, so long as it’s the Democrat who is most likely to defeat the Republican nominee. The prize is winning the White House, and all the advantages that entails, from nominating U.S. Supreme Court justices to conducting foreign policy to pursuing or protecting social agendas on everything from God to guns to gay marriage. We have an ongoing series about the differences between having a Democrat versus a Republican in the White House, and the list is very long. While there are differences between the Democratic candidates, those differences pale in comparison to the Republican candidates. So let’s take a realistic look at the Democratic primary race:

When politics becomes a joke

Zombie protester at Sarah Palin rally

Zombie protester at Sarah Palin rally

Democrats and progressives may have noticed a trend lately: your Republican friends or family members send you an email, and they write something like “this isn’t meant to be political, it’s just a joke that I thought was funny.” Then the joke contained in the email is something offensive to President Obama or Democrats. It’s never politically neutral, or making fun of both sides, and never ever makes fun of Republicans. Then if you call out the sender, they tell you you’re being too sensitive, or have no sense of humor, or “can’t take a joke.”

But make no mistake, these Republican jokes are meant to score political points, or at least to make Republicans feel better by hating on Democrats. Humor can take down a politician. Remember Chevy Chase‘s “Saturday Night Live” caricatures of a clumsy President Gerald Ford? Or Tina Fey’s dead-on “SNL” takedowns of Sarah Palin using Palin’s own words? So how about we fight back, and turn the tables on these Republican jokers?

Chris Christie: “bully” and other word games

Republicans successfully use neuro linguistic programming (NLP) in their political messaging. That is, Republicans use and repeat loaded words or short phrases connected with names, issues, programs, bills, laws etc. in order to make voters feel a certain way. Thus, you can find many examples of Republicans praising other Republicans as “strong leaders” who take “decisive action.” On the flip side, Republicans use negative-sounding (and often flat-out false) terms like “liberal media” and “death panels” to achieve a negative effect. Republicans frequently use words such as “Muslim,” “Kenyan” and “socialist” for this reason after uttering President Obama‘s name. A list of many of these loaded Republican phrases is contained here. Through repetition, these Republican terms often sink into our brains and affect the way we feel.

Messaging Maxim #1: Go On Offense

“Ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength.” —Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

As we indicated in “A Messaging Manifesto For Democrats”, during the run-up to the 2010 Congressional elections, while Republicans went on offense with charges against the “Ground Zero Mosque” and that “Obama is a Muslim,” “the Democrats weakly offered up rational rebuttals, and then wondered why most Americans weren’t swayed.”  Republicans know that, to win political battles, you must go on offense to frame the political debate in your terms, using language favorable to you.

A Messaging Manifesto For Democrats

The summer of 2010 was the second summer in a row in which Democrats lost control of the political message, and the news cycle. Given the 2010 election results, how did that work for you?

What’s the Problem?

In the summer of 2009, Republicans and their Tea Party surrogates took over Congressional town hall meetings, repeating false phrases such as “government-run health care.” Democrats dawdled for weeks, and when they finally responded, all they could muster was “no it isn’t.” Guess who won that battle? The “health care reform” law passed by the Democrats who control Congress and the presidency was severely watered down.