MAGA needs a way out -
show it to them
Democracy is at DEFCON-1
We are a deeply divided nation and our Democracy is in peril. We know that our division was largely manufactured and we know who the provocateurs are – Conservative politicians, Conservative media, and billionaire-funded think tanks and political organizations. Their efforts have culminated into deadly serious ”homegrown” threats to our Democracy that many of us would never have dreamed of happening in America, but here we are…
A primary cause of this is the creeping and long-lasting effects of years of Conservative policies, rhetoric, and social engineering. Conservative media and politicians have a symbiotic relationship and they work flawlessly together to drive fear and hate deep into the minds of Americans 24/7 and from all directions. Our minds have had little defense against the decades-long onslaught of lies that have grown in reach and viciousness.
Show the path out
The news media only shows the absolute worst of MAGA and it is a huge mistake for Americans to judge them all from this. Many American make the assumption that MAGA is unreachable and a lost cause.
– Here’s another way to look at it: We don’t have to tell them. They don’t need to admit it.- They need to see there is another path to take and take it on their own…They don’t need to stop and turn around, they need an exit ramp. Most won’t, but many will
Biden recently, and justifiably singled out MAGA Republicans as a threat to Democracy as they march us to Authoritarianism. Some of them don’t care but others do and they are quietly looking for an exit from the path they chose – we need to give that to them. Now that America has formally identified them as a threat, don’t push them further away with more insults – give them an out for the position they have been tricked into.
It needs to be emphasized that many good, hard-working Americans were left behind, suffered some kind of loss, or were simply convinced that they are about to lose everything. This took its toll on many of them and they were vulnerable and the Right exploited them – as what happened in pre-Nazi Germany.
It’s ok to stoke fear and anger, not only because this will drive voters to get out and vote, but because there really is plenty to be fearful and angry about. Especially make the fear and anger about things that purple-district voters care about and can relate to. Don’t make anything up – there’s no need to.
Speaking of fear, climate change should be discussed more often. Many red states and rural areas have been hit hard by extreme weather or droughts in recent years and there are plenty of local climate-related disasters for all people to commiserate about and hopefully vote to fix. Every year is getting tougher for farmers and for those who make a living off the land. Climate Change may not poll all that high at the moment, but that could be because it is not getting the steady drumbeat from Democrats and mainstream media that it deserves. Either way, it is on the minds of most of us, whether we realize it or not…
Get back out there
It’s not clear why Democrats campaign less in rural America. Relying on city and suburbs is a dangerous game of chicken in an election that gives conservatives additional ammo for their divisive rhetoric which further divides America. Forget what the spreadsheets and consultants say… go back to rural America.
Give folks choices and new narratives to hear. Don’t tell them they were wrong. Instead, help them – show them what the GOP has done to them. Discuss new opportunities that are specific to their communities. Opportunities generate hope and a vision for a better future. This lessens anxiety which will increase their capacity for reason, reduce their biases, and hopefully will pull them back to the table. Likewise, avoid the triggers that will push them away and cause them to ignore every positive Democratic message and action. Some thoughts:
- Many on the Right were led down the wrong path, they need to be shown a path back
- Don’t push them further away with insults – give them an out for the position they have been tricked into
- Focus on the actual and immediate needs of the audience, not on greater ideas such as transformative or sweeping changes – conservatives are sensitive to change
- Don’t tell them about an inclusive society – many on the Right feel excluded from an inclusive society
- Find and develop new mechanisms to push through the barriers of information that conservative media has created (billboards can be strategically placed and are not impacted by social media filtering algorithms – just make sure they avoid identity politics)
Democrats must move right now to motivate voters in those states that are toying with election laws and disenfranchising voters. Pour energy and money into purple districts and purple states. It is critical to organize at the local level and get the vote out.
Repeat all the above
The Democrats are at a huge disadvantage here since they don’t have the reach and compliance of conservative cable news programs and conservative radio (another lesson not learned by the Democrats many many years ago). Conservative media is filling our heads with disinformation from many angles every day and they repeat their dishonest themes over and over again until it sticks. To complement the rhetoric, conservative think tanks and political organizations pour money into astroturfing and social engineering activities (CRT, book banning, school committee protests, fake studies/research, and even orchestrating the Tea Party years ago) to provide manufactured and very artificial on-the-ground confirmation.
The Democrats need to find mechanisms to repeat their messaging:
Learn from mistakes
There have been some obvious and very unintentional gaffes from Democrats over the years. They are the gaffes that keep on giving for conservatives and they will exploit these for months and years as part of their continual fear-mongering campaigns. It is important to know that these are more than just gifted “talking points” for the right – for many Americans, they are seen as existential threats. The following, as everyone already knows, are recent examples of what not to say along with some alternative language:
- “Basket of Deplorables” – you can’t take that back, you can only move on from it.
- Allowing non-citizens to vote – there has never been a greater gift from Democrats to Republicans. For every one vote gained in local New York elections, Democrats lost thousands of votes in swing states – well done…
- Quickly, robustly, and continuously reverse course on “defunding the police”. For most Americans, the police provide safety and the idea of defunding them has been reframed by the Right into damaging talking points such as leading us to a chaotic crime-filled society. The message is to refund organizations and new positions that will reduce and distribute the burdens on police.
- Don’t take down the NRA, just take down those that committed the crimes at the top. The NRA has millions of responsible and long-standing members who want some sort of gun control. NRA members are proud Americans and we should turn to them for help – make them part of the solution.
- As good as tearing those Confederate statues down may make you feel, leave them alone. Things were better before these symbols were not being ripped down – actions like these do more damage than good when conservatives own the narrative. Pick your battles – the appropriate time will come.
- If you can opt-out then it is not a mandate – why unnecessarily give people something to fear while giving talking points to the Right? Call them something else if they aren’t actual mandates. How about calling them “guidance” or “precautions” while providing simple background information?
- “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” – The message should be something like: “We will not give you false hope – that will only prevent you from taking action to get your financial freedom back. We will help coal country by restoring regulations that protect you and by boosting the POWER Initiative, the RECLAIM Act, and other programs to help you establish new industries and jobs that make sense for you”.
- Unfortunately, “democratic socialist” and “socialism” are carelessly tossed around by the Left almost as much as the Right. Since our Democracy and capitalism used to work well together and “socialism” is a trigger, then maybe something like “more fairly shared capitalism” is a discussion we should consider.
- Drop the mantras of “free healthcare for all” and “free tuition for all!!!!”. They are an exaggeration, they won’t happen, and they are seen as favoritism and more costly, elitist vote-getting handouts to the takers. Why alienate people over something that won’t happen?
It is not reasonable to think that swooping in during election season will bring many people to their senses after decades of non-stop anxiety-inducing rhetoric from the Right. Scolding and the use of condescending tones are even worse. If the Democrats plan on winning people over then they need to know how to talk to them, how to pull on their heartstrings, and how to not unintentionally push more of them away as Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) did:
“On the issue of gas prices, I drove my electric vehicle from Michigan to here last weekend and went by every gas station and it didn’t matter how high it was.”
It is hoped that any Democrat looking at this can see that is out of touch with many Americans and a slap in the face of those who have no hope of buying an EV. Messaging such as this has a cumulative impact; it validates conservative “elitist Left” rhetoric, sticks in the subconscious of those who feel “attacked”, and drives folks to find comfort from conservative messaging.
The current trajectories of Conservatives, conservative media, mainstream media, and Democrats are pushing us further apart. Each election will be more critical, more contentious, and more dangerous. Conservatives will continue to take any and all opportunities to disenfranchise voters and rig elections and Democracy will die.
Psychology drives everything we do and politics is no exception – in fact, it’s the shining example. Too many of us have been manipulated into a cult that is willing to throw American Democracy away on behalf of their provocateurs. Now is the time to start unwinding the mess before it gets further out of control.
This article was an attempt to point out some things that Democrats (politicians, officials, pundits, consultants, and voters) can do to start easing some folks back to the table and reduce our Divide. Hopefully, there are some tidbits here that are useful…
Conservatives aren’t going to change.
Conservative media isn’t going to change.
Mainstream media isn’t going to change (it might after it’s too late)
So Democrats must change…