1/26/2005

"Why Republicans Win"

From Dave Johnson of "Seeing The Forest":
A typical generic blog post written by a Progressive in the last several months would read something like this: "Everyone can sum up the Republican core beliefs in a sentence or two, while Progressives need to search for a candidate who can articulate core Progressive values." Some bloggers might also refer to George Lakoff's "framing" work as a solution to the problem. Not being able to explain your product concept in a sentence is a classic marketing problem, and what these posts show is a budding awareness that Republicans have been outmarketing Democrats. Think about this - if you are in a "red state" area you are told a hundred different ways every day why business is good and government is bad and why unregulated free markets work better than democracy. But you are never told the other side of the story.
The Republicans win because the modern Right has developed around the core idea of persuading people to support their ideology, which then leads to support for their issues and candidates. In other words: marketing. The Right developed this persuasion capability in reaction to the dominance of the existing "liberal establishment." Because of this, most of their organizations are designed as advocacy and communications organizations, with the mission of reaching the general public and explaining what right-wing ideas are and why they are better for people. Today's Progressives, on the other hand, think there already is a public consensus supporting their ideals and values, so they have not developed a culture that is oriented around persuading people, and their organizations are not designed at their core to persuade the public to support them.
For example, everyone used to think that it is moral to help the poor or protect the environment, so there are organizations that are designed to do that. Then along comes the right, funding organizations designed to convince people it is wrong to do these things. The result today is that on one side you have organizations trying to help the poor, protect the environment, etc. On the other you have organizations telling people what those organizations are doing is wrong. But now you have no one explaining to people that it is GOOD to help the poor and protect the environment so over time support for helping the poor obviously will erode and eventually the organizations that help the poor will be in trouble and have little public support.

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