During this election season it has become apparent that Republicans and Democrats have the same problem. Or at least they sort of have the same problem. They both make a lot of noise and accusations and excuses ad nauseaum. The fundamental differences as as follows:
Democrats are convinced that they are significantly more intelligent than their constituencies. Because of this they feel free to define “causes” and “effects” with much poetic license, even to the point of being disingenuous. Ok, I used a big word. They take the current status of “their” voters, tell them how bad it is, tag the blame on a target across the aisle and embellish; often they just lie. However, they do one thing very very well that Republicans should learn. Democrats have learned to personalize the problems that are perceived and actually felt by voters. They “feel” their pain, or at least do a good job of convincing voters that they do. When Dems identify a conservative “target” person or policy they follow that up with their estimation of how that “target” is personally affecting or will affect them personally. This is a powerful motivator. Instead of being vague, they get up close and in the living room of their audience. These are the skills of the community organizer. They find personal, individual pain and focus the individual outrage against it.
Republicans on the other hand are much more non-personal about their description of a problem. For example, when was the last time that you actually heard a Republican talk about the deficit in a way that people can identify with? How much is $1.4 trillion dollars? It’s a whole lotta money, and frankly beyond the comprehension of most people. How much is a whole lot? A stack of $100 bills that equal $1.4 trillion is a stack that is more than a mile high.. how about that? Even better: How much do people pay every day in taxes to cover the interest on that $1.4 trillion? The tax dollars that come at gunpoint from everyone’s paycheck are increased by x dollars because of this deficit spending. Rarely do Republicans personalize issues in a way that catches the attention of their supporters and “potential” supporters.
This is a huge weakness in communication. Some people are so busy with life that they don’t really stop to consider the ramifications of some news tidbit. You cannot blame them for that. They work hard, take care of the kids and try to stay healthy. They don’t have the time to analyze what it really means to them, and frankly, conservative activists need to do a better job of identifying this for them.
The reason for this is simple. Both parties “assume” certain things regarding the intelligence of their constituencies and more importantly they “assume” a particular motivation level. This is deadly wrong. Democrats assume that voters are not as smart as their leaders and will accept any explanation for their lot in life. Republicans, on the other hand, assume that their supporters are motivated enough to extrapolate real personal impact from their vagueries. Both of these assumptions couldnt be more distant from the truth. Republicans could stand to learn some “personal” skills from their liberal antagonists.