Don’t expect the GOP to move left anytime soon

It’s no secret that the Republican Party needs to rebrand.

From strategists to party leaders to even the Speaker of the House, it’s widely accepted within the party’s elite that the GOP’s rhetoric and positions on issues ranging from immigration reform to marriage equality simply don’t square with the rest of the American public.

But the rebrand isn’t going so well (told ya so). When members of the party try to soften their language, or even hint at legislative compromise, they’re labeled heretics and drummed out.

We normally explain this with geography. The GOP has gerrymandered themselves into pearly-white uber-conservative boxes, the explanation goes, so while they don’t have to worry about general elections, they’re scared out of their minds at the thought of a primary challenge, which is sure to come if they make the slightest ideological misstep.

This explanation doesn’t entirely cut it: In the 2012 elections, Republicans won 128 House seats with at least 60% of the vote.  And Democrats won 125.

In the 112th Senate (2010 to 2012), ten Republican senators were more conservative than socialist Bernie Sanders was liberal. Three of them — Senators Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey — hail from swing states.

So gerrymandering and margin of victory in general elections don’t explain why Democrats are allowed to compromise on the things they care about, and Republicans aren’t. Something else must be going on to explain why the two electorates take such different stances towards their party and, by extension, why one party has so much more flexibility than the other.

I have a theory.

Attila the Hun.

Attila the Hun.

Maybe, just maybe, liberals and conservatives really do think differently about the big social questions. And maybe both have been speaking different political languages for the last thirty years, which lead them to have different orientations towards pragmatism and compromise. And, finally, maybe demographic and social trends really are challenging conservative conceptions of purity, hierarchy and acceptance of the other, triggering an expected, if dangerously obstructionist, reaction.

Stick with me for a second.

Political differences run deep, and that’s normally a good thing

Political issues are, at their core, moral issues. We have a conception of The Good, and seek to have that conception represented in the world around us. But while we’re used to talking about morality in terms of good/bad and right/wrong, reasonable people really do have different ideas about appropriate levels of liberty, purity, hierarchy, reciprocity and so on. The origins for these differences are partially genetic and partially conditioned — as with so many psychological questions nature and nurture both contribute to the answer. Either way, when we interact and inevitably disagree with people who have a different conception of morality than us, we’d do well to categorize them as “different” instead of “evil.” As I wrote a few weeks ago, on the evolutionary biology of political ideology:

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As questions concerning how to interact with outsiders, how to orient oneself towards authority and how to punish those who violate the social contract arise, communities that allow varied answers to compete for public acceptance will be more sustainable than communities in which one dogma dominates. And when it comes to these questions, self-described liberals and conservatives are predisposed to serve different functions when it comes to answering them.

So while we can and should argue that we’ll be better off if our take on morality is adopted on issues such as marriage equality, gender equality, immigration, and so on, we shouldn’t be at all surprised when we’re met with a visceral, emotional response grounded in a fundamentally different idea as to what righteous or just policy looks like.

Long story short, certain moral appeals are going to resonate more with some people than they will with others, and it’s helped us survive. For thousands of years, we’ve relied on sets of competing moral narratives in order to maintain viable political communities.

Speaking of narratives…

Republicans talk in emotion; Democrats talk in data

On October 3, 2000, George Bush beat Al Gore in their first presidential debate. Why did Bush win? Because Al Gore was too right about Bush’s Medicare plan (I start the video at 15:35. Watch to 17:30):

“Fuzzy math” was considered the winning zinger in the debate, and is still considered one of the top moments in Presidential debate history, it also underscored a huge difference not just between Bush and Gore, but between what Republican and Democratic candidates have considered effective communication for quite a long time. As Drew Westen notes in The Political Brain, while the Republican Party has spent decades developing a clear, consistent narrative that dates back to Ronald Reagan, Democrats — President Obama being an exception — have left emotion at the door and placed their trust in voters’ rationality and ability to coolly consume data.

And then they wonder why they have a hard time “connecting.”

As Thomas Frank pointed out recently, because of the Democratic Party’s unyielding and one-dimensional interpretation of polling numbers:

[A] data-minded commentator like Nate Cohn is able to look out over the blasted moonscape of Appalachia and conclude that a party of the left has nothing it might conceivably offer the people there. If Democrats wish to win back the seats that Republicans have taken away from them in such stricken areas, the Dems must either become more conservative themselves or sit audaciously on their butts for a couple of decades while some new generation is born and grows up to populate the boarded-up towns and collapsing houses of the deindustrialized hinterland. Those are the only choices.

The fatalism here may be science-driven, but still it boggles the mind. Today, the right is out there organizing and proselytizing and signing people up for yet another grievance-hyping mass movement. Over the last 40 years they have completely remade the world, and at no point did they play by the centrist rules.

If you want to see this kind of thinking in action, look to Kentucky. “Vote for me because Mitch McConnell doesn’t hold his gun right,” isn’t a compelling narrative, but it polls well. “Alison Lundergan Grimes is a carpet-bagging, interloping, liberal Washington elitist acolyte of Barack Hussein Obama and Harry Reid because reasons” doesn’t poll well, but it’s a compelling narrative. We’re very likely to lose a winnable race in Kentucky because our polls are talking past our morals.

Poll-tested messaging based on rational choice theory is academically honest, but it isn’t how the brain works. We learn, ingrain and solidify our beliefs over time, and respond to new information by assimilating it with neural networks that already exist. When we have to choose between existing beliefs and new, conflicting data, more often than not we’ll keep the beliefs.

While Democrats have spent the last 30 years coming up with policies that would benefit the middle class, Republicans have spent the last 30 years repeating the same narrative: God created the world in six days and then told us, in English, that anyone who stands in the way of American capitalism is out to get you…and your gun. And a clear, consistent narrative that squares with your conception of morality will beat value-neutral, complex policy every day of the week and twice on Sunday. If you’re wondering what’s the matter with Kansas, it isn’t the Kansans: it’s the data-driven, emotionless ignorance of the Democratic Party.

But Team Blue should take note: the GOP’s ability to speak in (misguided) moral narratives is a double-edged sword. When the narrative fits, it wins; when it doesn’t fit, you’re still stuck with it:

Policies are easier to change than principles

The same narrative that put Ronald Reagan and Georges Bush into the White House is the actual box the GOP currently finds itself in. As it turns out, while policy wonkery is flexible, immutable moral principles that have been seared into the minds of your base for the last 30 years aren’t. And trying to rewrite a decades-old narrative that speaks to the moral core of a huge swath of the American electorate is a whole lot harder than drafting new legislation or redrawing Congressional district lines.

So when the electoral math doesn’t add up, the solution has to fit the narrative because the narrative sure as hell can’t change. Waking up with the revelation that DREAMers, gays, African-Americans and women are just as human as you and me won’t do, since that runs counter to everything the Right has stood for for a very long time. As I noted above, when the GOP dipped its toes in the water on immigration reform — as John Oliver said, “not because [they] want to, but because they mathematically feel [they] have to” — their base freaked out. It was a non-starter. Eric Cantor was literally voted off of the Republican island for even thinking it.

That being the case, instead of adopting the Democrats’ time-honored tradition of moving to the middle, the GOP’s only option is to, quite literally, take the country back. That means less compromise. That means more concern over the “quality” of votes being cast. That means holding a gun to the economy’s head in order to extract spending cuts that disproportionately affect people who aren’t like you. That means revising history and science to conform to a worldview that you find more comfortable. That means pushing through as many backwards policies as you can in states where you have the power to do so, seemingly with the understanding that this is your last chance before it’s too late.

Conservatives are mad as hell and they aren’t taking it anymore. They’ve convinced themselves that the big bad liberals are out to get them, and they’re lashing out in response.

This is a disaster. It’s led to the out-and-out rejection of evidence that doesn’t fit the GOP’s understanding of how the world works, from polling data to climate science, and that rejection is literally costing American lives. It’s a disaster that means we shouldn’t get our hopes up and assume that if only they lose enough elections, the Republican Party will figure out how to moderate itself. That hasn’t been their takeaway from their defeats in 2012 and 2013; as far as the party’s rank-and-file are concerned, they’re losing because they aren’t conservative enough.

So while it’s easy for those of us who live in the real world to assume that the Republican Party will behave rationally, that assumption is based on the notion that we’re really all the same, that all political animals always engage in poll-tested, vote-maximizing behavior. That isn’t how ideology works, and that isn’t how the human brain works. We’d do well to keep that in mind when we try to explain away the damage the Republican Party has done and will continue to do to this country while the electorate slowly but surely moves away from them.

Like I said, it’s just a theory. But I think it fits the evidence better than the explanation offered by those who, mistakenly, predicted a more centrist and less insane GOP after the 2012 elections.

Yes, the ideological purity demanded by the GOP base is making compromise in Washington impossible. But if the relative partisanship of a given district or state were enough to explain that kind of behavior, we’d be seeing it from Democrats, too. Instead, the GOP is currently falling victim to a perfect storm of moral cognition and a worn-out strategy that it can’t shake.

I’d say I hope they shake it soon, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • Strepsi

    The Right absolutely won the war of discourse. It’s been a deliberate and concerted effort to control the meaning of key words and shift to the right ever since Walter Mondale could not defend being called a “liberal” in 1984… THIRTY years ago.

  • Denver Catboy

    You know what’s tiring? Posting the same old tired rebuttal to the ‘rebuttal’ that there’s no right-wing attempts to ‘take back the country’ based on the close-minded notion that religion not only belongs in politics, but should be a core driver for politics. I hope someone else will come over and step in this time…I’ve got to get ready for work. >.>

  • FLL

    From Bill’s reply:

    “30 million 2008 Obama voters deserted him and the Democrats in 2010.”

    Houndentenor, that is a classic distortion, sad a funny at the same time. Just go to the numbers on “infoplease,” which show voter turnout for both presidential and midterm elections between 1960 and 2012 (link here). You can see that the difference between 2008 and 2010 is the normal difference between a presidential election and a midterm election. In fact, voter turnout was higher in the 2010 midterm election than in the 2006 midterm election.

    Bill suffers from delusions of grandeur. He thinks that voters follow his wishes and those of a tiny group of like-minded trolls. They do not. The pattern for presidential vs. midterm elections has been relatively unchanging in the 20th and 21st centuries.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The comparison isn’t to other countries.

    It’s a comparison between those who foolishly believe they live in a democracy and that their vote means something and those who are learning that’s just bs. 30 million 2008 Obama voters deserted him and the Democrats in 2010. A year later many of them became Occupy activists.
    in Seattle by 2012 nearly a hundred thousand voted to defeat a long time liberal Democrat, aka another tawdry right winger, and supported a better minimum wage than the crap proposed by Obama.

    Others will learn from this that their opinions about the possibility of democracy in a plutocratic state are now confirmed by conclusive data. “A new scientific study from Princeton researcher Martin Gilens and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

    For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile
    of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often. It’s beyond alarming.

    As Gilens and Page write, ‘the preferences of the average American
    appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant
    impact upon public policy.’ In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/new_study_finds_the_us_is_not_a_democracy_so_what_is_it_20140417

  • And nowhere in there above 65%. that’s still not that great compared to other countries.

  • Oh please. Seen the latest GOP ad running in six states in a variation of “say yes to the dress”? Facts? That’s hilarious. Ryan’s budget is smoke and mirrors, not facts.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Voting rates declined precipitous for decades then bounced back recently. Now they’re rapidly declining again because of anger at Obama’s betrayals.

    VEP is Voting Eligible Population

    VAP is Voting Age Population

    Graph from http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout%201948-2012.jpg

  • You keep referencing this 50% nonvoting number as if it were a recent development. That’s been true since I’ve been paying attention to politics. For decades this has been true. Sometimes a bit higher or lower but this is not anything new or recent. Was the voting rate ever higher? when?

  • UncleBucky

    The facts are that people believe progressive ideas WHEN they are not attached to the words “liberal” or some such. As soon as they think they are not being “patriotic” they flinch and deny their true believes. Then they vote for the ones who have created artificial fear, shortages, and insecurities.

    Beyond my ken!

  • re: empathy/contextual explanation of difference, I actually cited a few studies that start to explain some of that in a post a few weeks ago.

    http://americablog.com/2014/09/evolved-argue.html

    The important thing to remember is that, while a lot of the psych/evolutionary bio lit kind of explains conservatism away as a pathology, that sort of suggests that we’d be better off without it. In the post I’m linking to here, I argue against that notion. Different evolutionary functions, yes; but not *necessarily* right/wrong or good/evil.

  • Indigo

    I wasn’t aware of any analysis that showed the Republicans moderating their tone or moving even slightly leftward. By the same token, I’m not aware of any activity among elected Democrats to move even slightly leftward either. The Right has won. How to generate a progressive movement that has impact beyond blogianity is the challenge and I don’t see it happening.

  • nicho

    The GOP won’t move to the left because the Dems are busy stampeding to the right. To move left, the GOP would have to push the stampeding Dems out of the way. There is no organized left in the US. You have an array from right-of-center Dems to batshit crazy GOP.

  • Demosthenes

    Well, I hope he is a nobody!

  • Th_Ph

    The guy is a nobody with no influence. This is all a fever dream of the left.

  • caphillprof

    When is your gig at the Comedy Store?

  • caphillprof

    No, it is the Kansans.

  • Demosthenes

    There are no wrong facts; just bad data collection and faulty analysis.

    It must be true. I read that it in a fortune cookie.

  • Griffonn

    Well, I agree with you in theory.

    The problem is, your facts are the wrong ones.

    :p

  • Demosthenes

    This Peter Wagner dude sounds loony himself. The whole thing is creepy.

    As a member of a small sect, I’m never a fan of religion and government being in bed together. I think State sanction religion is part of the reason for the steep decline in Christianity in most of Europe. The more one identifies a particular religion with the State, the more it will become less relevant over time.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I know.

    Those damn lefties.

    They won’t compromise on letting polluters off with a slap on the wrist and they won’t compromise on Obama’s insulting anti workers minimum wage and they just plain don’t like Obama’s racist murders of Arabs in a dozen countries and even Arab Americans.

    Who do they they think they are?

  • Th_Ph
  • Demosthenes

    Since you are familiar with me, you know, like you, I’m not a fan of this kind of partisan idiocy. Not even agreeing on common facts is extraordinarily harmful.

  • Griffonn

    These are partisan times.

    Troubles come, and people disagree about what the underlying problems actually are – let alone how to solve them.

  • Demosthenes

    My son, a college sophomore, is too busy studying (and having fun on the weekend) to waste his time with politics.

    My high school senior daughter is so apathetic that I suspect she thinks One Direction manages our foreign policy.

  • Th_Ph

    A temporary aberration. Wait’ll you hear the ideas your kids come home from college with. You will suddenly wake up and realize the goal posts were moved while you were sleeping.

    BTW, I was very interested in Cultural Marxism, particularly the Situationists. But in applying a Marxian analysis, I have concluded that conservatives deal in actual material relations, liberals in reified false consciousness.

  • Demosthenes

    Yep! I comment here and some other politically extreme sites — including NRO.

    ;-)

  • Th_Ph

    Hey, if you’re going to lose your voter virginity, Obama seems like a cool guy to lose it with. Fact!

  • Demosthenes

    It’s funny that some of the most politically engaged folks start from the other side of the spectrum.

    Like the owner of this blog (Mr. John Aravosis), I began life as a moderate Republican and moved left.

  • Th_Ph

    To the fever swamps of liberal land. This is what Demo’s Id looks like.

  • Th_Ph

    The article is self-justifying psychobabble. Republicans talk in emotions, Democrats in data? Paul Ryan presents charts and graphs; Democrats respond with an add showing him pushing a woman in a wheelchair over a cliff.

  • Max_1

    Where’s the article about why the left moved right and isn’t going left anytime soon?

  • Griffonn

    All voters use emotion in voting.

    It’s unavoidable.

  • Demosthenes

    Uh, no.

    Geesh.

  • Th_Ph

    Ah, a “dominionist” loon. Do the people in the white coats who lock you liberals in your numbered wire cages ever let you have a sip of oxygen alongside your lab rat chow?

  • Griffonn

    I was a lefty for many years. Hearing leftytalk does not amuse me, it just triggers my sense of “I do not agree.”

  • Demosthenes

    What did you think of my rationale?

    Edit: I think many voters use emotion in voting.

  • Demosthenes

    Thanks. I thought it was a decent piece, but as you know I posited a different rationale.

    Regarding immigration, the Senate bill was bipartisan, and it increases unforcement. (But that is a discussion for another day). Have a pleasant day.

  • dagny

    That’s definitely Obama’s MO

  • dagny

    You should read it. I started to, then laughed so hard I had to stop. Let us know.

    I’m still amused by the “emotional vs facts” section. Hilarious.

  • Griffonn

    This one here?

    I agree with parts of it and disagree with parts of it. (If Democrats were doing all the compromising, we wouldn’t be talking about massive amnesty for the floods of illegals pouring in – liberals would be cutting deals on how bad enforcement would be).

  • FLL

    ROTFL

  • Griffonn

    Not sure.

  • Demosthenes

    He is a commenter on Disqus. He comes from the Right, but offers excellent points. He and I follow one another in Disqus.

  • emjayay

    I think you kind of missed the basic point of the whole original post.

  • emjayay

    OK, WTF is Th_Ph?

  • emjayay

    That’s not the only thing that’s predictable.

  • emjayay

    There’s the whole power structure/picture of reality as described by Lakoff and probably others, with the whole country or even the entire world and its entire story being reflective of the family model, and the family being a strict hierarchy. So Father-mother-kids-dog is the same as God-earthly creation-man or President-fed gov-state-local-people. In the pre-revolution days, or the Middle East today, the reality of the power structures is all rolled into one: God-creation-ruler-church-people, as in the Divine Right of Kings: God-King and Church-aristocrats-commoners.

    American fundies – many even out and out dominionists – want to mix God and Church (theirs only) with government and rule of people.

  • Demosthenes

    I’m curious about your opinion of the article I originally commented on. Keeping in mind it is written for a liberal audience, what is your opinion of it?

  • Demosthenes

    Being elected POTUS is a bit more than “rousing the rabble”.

    Governance is a much different skill.

    Sigh.

  • Demosthenes

    I follow Th_Ph myself and sometimes end up at all sorts of interesting places. (Breitbart and CNS yesterday).

    What is CNS, anyway?

  • Griffonn

    uh oh did I follow Th-Ph to somewhere I shouldn’t have?

  • Th_Ph

    He has enjoyed success rousing the rabble. I meant politician in the sense of one who can successfully negotiate his way through an organizational structure. He lacks the chops to make the machinery of government do his bidding.

  • Demosthenes

    Welcome to Americablog, Griff!

  • Demosthenes

    I am no huge fan of Mr. Obama as a manager, so you are correct. As a politician, I must disagree. He is brilliant. Barack Hussein Obama, a half Black Chicago politician with a scary sounding name and a Muslim (OMG!) grandfather, won 2 elections as POTUS.

  • Griffonn

    Obama can succeed anywhere.

    He can UNITE red and blue.

  • Th_Ph

    No, I think a competent president can succeed despite the rival party’s control of the legislature. Obama is grossly incompetent, as both a manager and a politician.

  • Demosthenes

    Mr. Reagan’s opponent was the Democrats.

    I’m referring to a Democratic president and a Congress under GOP control.

    So you don’t agree with me?

  • Th_Ph

    You’re making excuses for the pajama boy in the White House. Reagan, too, was faced with both houses of the legislature controlled by the rival party. He still managed to advance his agenda.

  • Demosthenes

    I really like your analysis, and hope this piece gets a wide readership. I have a contrary reason why the GOP won’t change any time soon, and it’s one I see at conservative blogs.

    The GOP is actually politically winning. They control a majority of state governorships and state legislatures. They have a rock solid US House majority. They are likely to take the Senate this fall. Despite losing the presidency recently, Pres. Obama is unpopular, so the GOP believes it is likely to win that in 2016.

    Simple, eh?

    p.s. When government doesn’t work, whether through obstruction (which is what the GOP is doing on the federal level), cynical GOP politicians know it’s the president that gets blamed, not them. Most voters don’t pay close enough attention to know why there is endless obstruction. They just know it’s happening and our president is a Democrat.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Although it looks as if the Democrats will be defeated in the Senate that’s far from a sure thing. They’re going to outspend the Republicans and have a better get out the vote machine.

    Two things are sure. The first is that the WH and Congress will continue to be run by right centrist parties moving even further right no matter who wins. And the second is that close to 50% of the eligible electorate will not be holding their noses and voting for right wingers. They recognize the utter futility of the DemocratakaRepublican race to the bottom.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Rebranding won’t change the right wing, big business, racist, anti-environmentalist and anti-LGBT nature of the Republican party, just like it had no effect on the right wing, big business, racist, anti-environmentalist and anti-LGBT nature of the Democrats.

  • Yes. In addition there are Democrats who came in on Obama’s coattails in states that often favor Republicans. In 2016 the opposite will be true when Tea Party types in blue or purple states will be up for re-election.

  • What’s really odd is to hear that from a pulpit. One expects such thinking from bankers but to hear it from people who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ is bizarre when what they believe about the world around them has more to do with Ayn Rand than Jesus.

  • A challenge for the tech-savvy…like so many of you I often get these forwarded emails full of lies and distortions of fact with faulty conclusions. They are very popular. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know where these things are originating? It may not even be that hard to track the email trail back to the “think tank” that’s starting them. I for one would be interested to know who is creating this shit. Any takers?

  • I think this explains why Democrats seem so bad at messaging. Democrats are always playing defense. While defense is obviously important, it’s hard to win only defending against attacks. The result is that Republicans are always always defining the terms of the discussion. When Democrats go on the offense and define their own narrative (Obama 2008 for example) the results are good. When it’s a constant defense against attacks (Kerry 2004) not so much. Democratic ideas win in polling when the party ID is not attached. The ideas are winners. I don’t know why we don’t run on them. The ACA, for example, is working. Why are so many Democrats running from it instead of telling the stories of people who can get insurance now who couldn’t before. Or people who can now leave their crappy job and start their own business or go to a better job now that they can still have insurance if they leave that job. And so many more.

  • Indigo

    There’s only one way to Twitter-respond to that: #nowayimarepublican

  • bkmn

    They certainly do have a belief that they can tell lies because they are working for a holy cause.

  • Strepsi

    The differences are fundamental. The left is concerned with inclusivity, which forces us to be empathetic and consider others’ experience. The right is about exclusivity, which prohibits the same.

    @JOHN ARAVOSIS: excellent article! I’d only add that you placed too little emphasis on:

    1) God. Thinking you have the only truth prohibits compromise. The Tea Party is not the fiscally conservative wing, it’s the religious extremist wing. I’d say that — in certain regions only — there are gains to be made by promoting civil law over religious accommodation: atheists represent over 20% of the population (as much as Latino and African American outreach combined)

    2) Driving the media: your paragraph about Republican emotional stories is true, but missing is that many of these stories are lies that are deliberately put out to put Democrats on the defensive (which they defend with facts, which are not as compelling – then they’re “debated” on CNN, which means the lie is presented as ‘equal’ to the truth. It’s a brilliant technique). My elderly mother STILL thinks there is a war on Christians, a war on Christmas, and death panels. Dems need to invent a narrative and get out of the gate first for once, or be back on their heels again.

  • FLL

    Senate elections are a math problem because of the six-year terms; a given election will be more difficult for one or the other party depending on which seats from which party are being contested. This year, Senate elections are more difficult for Democrats, and in 2016, Senate elections will be more difficult for Republicans–because of the math involved. One more factor is the so-called 6-year itch: the party of a president who is in his sixth year of office always loses seats in Congress during that midterm election. On top of all of that, Democrats always vote more in presidential elections than in midterms. Your conclusion concerning this year is correct: Republicans don’t need to change in 2014. It would appear that disaster awaits them in 2016.

  • bkmn

    Among many of those on the right I have noticed that there is an almost complete lack of empathy. They have no capacity to understand that other people live in different circumstances or have a different history than their own.

    There is also a desire to think/act/feel the same way. There is an almost pathological dislike of anything/anyone that might convince them that they are wrong, hence their dislike of higher education.

  • SomeYankInRio

    Aren’t they predicted to win control of the senate? From that pov they don’t need to change

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