Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hearts And Minds

As a lifelong media person I have a strong interest in how to win the media campaign. I study it a lot and as a participant I see and notice quite a few things others may not think about. I would hope I could convince you to take a little time and read this entire presentation. I believe this guy is spot on. If we could build this, winning would be something we could get use to again. Here's a few pieces but please read the whole thing.

They know that the media will give priority coverage to their personal attacks and that it will distract attention away from any of the "substance" blather that Democrats always like to talk about. In order for Democrats to win back the Swing Voters they've lost to the Republicans through these tactics, they are going to have to "define back." That doesn't mean that we need to simply bash the Republicans at every opportunity; that's something we already do. But for all of our arguing and complaining about the Republicans, we still tend to subordinate it to the ideals of "civil discourse." Unfortunately, that instinct is not enough to guide us; not when the other side has become a master of The Image Campaign. What Democrats need to do now is create an image of The Republican Politician that is threatening to Swing Voters, one that they will not ultimately want to identify with. That kind of campaign strategy takes some sophistication of thought.

Whenever Bush’s hand-picked crowd applauded his ridicule of Kerry, it created an image of The Democrats in the minds of swing voters that was never effectively answered by the Kerry Campaign (or by the Gore Campaign or by the Dukakis Campaign…). In his own image-bytes, Kerry came across as something of a stern teacher. This was actually not that bad of an idea, but it lacked some important emotional elements that would have established Kerry & The Democrats as the group that is superior to the Republican gang, the one that Swing Voters should want to be associated with. Kerry could have presented himself as the wise teacher who has been forced to make fun of the smart-mouthed kid in front of the whole class because he proposed a truly foolish idea that, while superficially appealing, would have ended up hurting everyone in the long run.

Yes, show graciousness but feel condescension. Be sure that you intently communicate your fear of the damage that these people can do to America.

Democrats need to understand the importance of showing Swing Voters that they fear Republican rule. The more apparent it is to Swing Voters that a lot of Americans are truly scared of George Bush & The Republicans, the more they’re going to wonder if maybe they should also be afraid of him. (Typically, we first learn to fear things that we didn’t fear previously after seeing fear in the faces of others.) Some Democrats might think it would be better for us to emphasize our anger, but we need to be aware of the ways that this can backfire. We do not want to be characterized as “Angry People” who are always angry [in a threatening sort of way]. Voters need to see that behind our anger is a real fear for the well-being of the American People and for America’s reputation around the world. We should never be reluctant to show our fear of Bush, but we need to make it clear in our tone that our fear is appropriate and that our anger is controlled & justified.Think of the many times when Republicans have accused Democrats of “hating America” or of “hating George Bush.” They make this charge to invoke an image of people who are imagined to be inherently angry and who are therefore a threat to 'us normal people.' Now think of how that image changes if—when we are accused of hating—we point out that people only hate that which they fear. Whenever we are accused of hating the Republicans, we need to keep repeating to the media that no, it is fear that we feel. It’s our best defense. We want the Swing Voters to see us as people who fear the Republicans, but we also want them to see that we are also brave enough to take on the threat. Like the sergeant said to the private in the foxhole, “Everyone’s afraid, son. But we can’t let that fear stop us. We still have a mission to carry out.” We are afraid and angry. We just know that we must oppose evil when we see it. Verbalize fear. Show courage.

When such fears are used to intentionally mislead citizens into voting against their own best interests, then the use of fear is unethical. In contrast, if the fear that politicians inspire is legitimate—and their intention is to alert voters to a danger that they can protect themselves from—then the use of fear is virtuous. What Democrats need to understand clearly is that Swing Voters can be persuaded to fear either party. Right now, too many of them fear The Democrats more than they fear The Republicans. They will return to their identification with the Democratic Party only after they have been persuaded that it is The Republicans whom they ought to fear, not the Democrats. It is the Republicans who are not like them, who are simply looking for yet another opportunity to play them for fools.

Your Comments Please

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

“There is only so much room in a brain, so much wall space, as it were, and if you furnish it with your slogans, the opposition has no place to put up any pictures later on, because the apartment of the brain is already crowded with your furniture.”
Adolph Hitler

Think of Kerry immediately and inaccurately portrayed by the Bush Administration as a “flip flopper.” So, it became the first thing that came to people's minds when they thought of him.

Of course for anyone who READS, they know it is Bush who is actually the "flip-flopper," but truth does not matter to Bush supporters. In campaign 2000, he said he wasn't going to engage in nation building. he said he was going to get Osama, then said Osama didn't matter. He said we went to war because Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors in. He said he was going to spend money on our parks, instead he cut money, of course. He said he was going to take some of the SURPLUS for tax cuts, and led us into eternal deficits instead. He said he had been a good steward of the environment. He said he would go to war as a LAST resort. He said "What's the difference?" when Hussein didn't have WMD's which WAS the reason he said we had to go to war. BUT, he didn't care that the reason was a lie.
He said the president had to have an exit plan before going to war when it was Clinton who went to war. BUT, he does not need one for himself, I guess.

I was wrong. Calling him a flip flopper is too kind. He is a LIAR!!

Bush supporters are mostly ignorant people who can be led through the use of simplistic slogans.

Lonna

10:03 PM, October 02, 2005  
Blogger The Donkey said...

The Donkey did not agree with most of the post. One can not say what the historians will say until time travel is a reality. The Republicans are not the only political masters and few Democrats have idealistic visions of civil discourse. The only way to guarantee success at the polls is have Diebold count the votes. The image campaign is important. Image is only a part of political success. Hurricanes do not care about images.

Swing voters are only important on close races. Swing voters do not care enough to read and think about who to vote for. They guess at which candidate to vote for then use the Party line to justify the vote or they just vote for a party. Keeping up with world events is too much thought for most.
The voter will chose the one candidate who promises to make their world simple.

Republican strategists are not the only ones to know election results are not determined by a logical discussion of the issues. Demonizing your opponents works for the short term only, once both parties start doing it, then the voters decide neither are good and stop voting. The voter will chose the one candidate who promises to make their world simple.

Paint your opponent as a politician who is a shrewd, cunning, deceiving, manipulative, mean-spirited, Con-Artist who willfully and gleefully assassinates the character of any one who stands in his way and you will soon become the exact same thing. In short the post is bad political advice.

11:37 PM, October 02, 2005  
Blogger Ron said...

Donkey, I believe there is a way to do it without being "offensive". That's what we have to project. Sensible fear,disbelief and strength. Not hard to percieve an opponent like this if it is true. It sure seems to be a lot these days.

11:01 PM, October 05, 2005  

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