Friday, September 19, 2014

Will Democratic voters reward the Republicans by staying home on November 4, 2014?

Pretty much everyone agrees that the party which succeeds in the November elections will be the one who does the better job in turning out its base the best.  In energizing your base, you also have to be careful not to energize the other guy’s base.

With what the Republicans’ performance in Congress since their rise to the majority in 2010, one wonders what additional motivation, or provocation, Democrats would need to turn out in droves on November 4, 2014.

But there has been a tried and true, albeit ultra-cynical, strategy employed by Republican strategists long before Barack Obama won election in 2008, “Tear down your opponents strengths.”  A non-stop barrage of negativity over some accomplishment or characteristic that should give your opponent an advantage.  

The classic example was Karl Rove’s “Swiftboating” of John Kerry.  Republicans and proxy PACs went on an advertising blitz to make John Kerry’s strong military record actually a liability.  Though Kerry faced enemy fire on multiple occasions and was wounded more than once, the negative ads about “what really happened” made people uneasy about Kerry.  He was re-defined as exaggerator rather than a hero.  All of this redounded to the benefit of George W. Bush, who had, ironically, compiled a dubious military record of his own, remaining stateside in the Texas Air National Guard, and going AWOL during the Vietnam war.

Karl Rove’s strategy worked.  In a close election, manufactured uneasiness about Kerry was just enough to tilt the election to Bush in a few key states.

The same has happened to Obamacare.

Obama care serves a huge need in America and its popularity will continue to grow, just as social security and medicare have.  As this happens, Obamacare will become a strong political asset that will put Republicans at further disadvantage.  There are Republicans who understand this, who did not support Obamacare and whose only option is to wage a propaganda war against it.

The propaganda works.  For example, many Kentuckians who have benefited mightily from Obamacare  will still vote for Mitch McConnell, one of the arch enemies of Obamacare.  It is a classic case of people voting against their own interests in favor of politicians, like Mitch McConnell, who are simply using them to get elected so they can pass out favors to their benefactors.

Something to think about on November 4, 2014.

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