One thing that a lot of Christian right members have is a sense that they are in a life and death struggle. That belief comes out of their religious upbringing in which they see life as a continuing battle between Satan and God. If you transfer that belief to political action, and millions of them have, you can accomplish quite a bit in politics.
In politics, as in sports, if you have two equally matched opponents, the will to win becomes very important. Here in Ohio we saw that last November on the turnout battle between Kerry and Bush. Although progressives did a terrific job, so did the Bush people. One thing they had going for them was Issue One, the so called ban on gay marriage, being on the ballot.
In a state like Ohio in 2008, which has a relatively closed primary for both parties, Brownback could become a real factor. If he gets the same people backing him who were behind Issue One, he will be a force in the primary, assuming he gets this far.
It is an announced goal of the Christian right in Ohio to take over the Republican party during the 2006 primary. It will be interesting to see if they accomplish that goal.
One thing that progressives cannot do is assume that our attitude toward the Christian right is shared by everyone. Underestimating your opponent is never a good thing in sports and it is not in politics either.
Would Roe v. Wade have been better accepted if it had been based on the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as opposed just the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Basically if you outlaw abortions, then what you are saying is that it is alright to impose your religious views on those women who do not believe that a human life begins at conception or at some other point.
I have a friend who has always maintained that it would have been better to have based Roe on religious freedom issues than on the unennumerated right of privacy.
The argument is that since it is debatable as to when "life" begins, and since it is the position of the Roman Catholic Church and other theologians that life begins at conception, then by outlawing abortion you are basically imposing your religious beliefs on others.
I don't know. The party platform calls for what they call the Human Life Amendment, which would grant legal protection to embroyos from the moment of conception. This is actually Bush's position. I don't know how many Republicans buy into that concept. But I am not so much worried about their position as I am trying to figure out a way to change the dynamic on this issue.
This is a different viewpoint and I could be wrong, but I think that actually this will make it harder to get rid of the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees. The public wasn't really following this battle that closely. There were a lot of nominees, most people don't know what the Courts of Appeals do, so it didn't really register how radical a step was being contemplated.
A SCOTUS nomination is different. It will attract a lot of attention, the public will be more engaged, and moderate Republicans will be under pressure to again resist doing away with the filibuster.
So maybe in the long run, this compromise will work out much better than a lot of people think.
I am not sure that the article I referenced in my first response to this diary is concerned so much with a political liberal/conservative split as it is as to what personalities are prone to vote for conservative candidates. The traits the authors describe would also show up in other areas of life, not just in politics.
What Dean does when he talks is present his viewpoints very unambiguously. For example, he was against the war, he was against deficit spending, he was for expanding health care. He stated those things very simply and straight forward.
If I was managing a campaign for Congress against a Republican incumbent I would come out for the following three points on domestic matters:
No social security privatization;
No deficit spending; and
Members of Congress should take no gifts of any kind from lobbyists or political donations.
I would not mince words; I would not engage in a long explanation of any of those points; I would just state them over and over again.
The problem is that self-described conservative voters dominate the political landscape. What I am saying is that if you want to communicate with voters, as opposed to just yelling at them or insulting them, you have to find out where they are coming from, what their cultural values are, and how your message can win such voters over.
There seems to be a belief among liberals that if Democrats just nominate the right candidate, one who is pure in heart, he/she will win the election. There is absolutely no proof of that theory. Since 1932 no Democrat has won the presidency without being competitive in the Old Confederacy. That includes Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton. The South is much more conservative than the other parts of the nation.
My original theory is that there are reasons why conservatives vote the way they do, just as there are reasons why liberals vote the way they do. We need to find out what those reasons are and see if we can factor those reasons into our message.
I am not saying change the message, I am saying that we need to think about how we are selling the message. Of course that is my opinion, I could be wrong.
America is a nation where more people describe themselves as conservative than as liberal. According to a study done about two years ago, called Political Conservatism as Movitated Social Cognition, there are several personality traits that conservatives share to varying degrees. These are:
An aversion to ambiguity;
A need for cognitive closure;
An acceptance of inequality;
fear of threat and loss.
If you look at Bush's campaign in 2004, it was a textbook example of pushing these buttons. Bush presents his vision for America in very black and white terms; admits no uncertainity; uses fear of threat and loss to scare voters; and doesn't seem to care that his programs will produce a lot of winners and losers.
Think about Kerry's campaign on the other hand. Kerry probably lost the 2004 campaign when he uttered those infamous words, "I voted for the 84 Billion for Iraq before I voted against it." That statement is going to really turn off conservative leaning voters because it is very ambiguous. In fact the whole campaign against Kerry was designed to make him look devious, the opposite of the straight talking Bush.
Liberal candidates need to present their vision for America in very unambiguous terms; present cognitive closure in their arguments; stress self-interest in adopting liberal programs; and realize that a lot of conservative voters are motivated by fear.
Too often we don't do that. Too often we present our ideas in policy terms and glory in showing how we understand the nuances of a problem, forgetting that to a lot of voters it comes across as BS because they want cognitive closure.
For example, casting the need for universal healthcare as a way of ensuring all Americans have access to healthcare might not be appealing to a voter who accepts inequality and is comfortable with inequality. Stressing the fact that universal healthcare will make American companies more competitive because it will reduce their costs and thus keep American jobs would have a better chance of being received favorably by conservative voters.
Liberals need to learn how to talk to conservatives in ways that ensure their message will be listened to and not automatically rejected.
Dean should ask that pompous windbag how much money he has saved in taxes because of Bush's tax cuts and then he should ask him how many of his friends' kids are serving in Iraq. Go on the offensive with this idiot.
"I don't belong to any organized party, I am a Democrat"-Will Rogers. When I see the comments that take place on this and other blogs, I am reminded of the above quote. Why do so many Democrats personally attack other Dems on these sites who disagree with them? I don't get it. I understand disagreement, but not the bitterness that seems to be behind some of these comments.
Not all Dems live in states that are Democratic. Some of us live and get elected in red states or in red parts of blue states. There are going to be Dems who don't all agree on every issue. The trick is not to promote some litmus list of positions and try to read everyone who doesn't agree with those positions out of the party. The trick is to grow the party so we are run the government. Making harsh, personal attacks on other Democrats doesn't accomplish that goal.
Dems have got to stop worrying about polls and start remembering that being consistent is more important in the long run to obtaining political success. Either we support filibustering judges, or we do not, but we cannot keep going back and forth on these issues. I say we stop worrying and see what happens. Either way, the sun will come up the next day and life will go on.
I personally like Senator Feingold, but can someone tell me how he gets to 270 electoral votes? He would probably carry the same states that Kerry carried, but where does he get the rest that he needs? Ohio and Florida? Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico? Colorado? Because I don't think he is going to carry any states in the Old Confederacy, or West Va., or Missouri, or the upper non-coastal west.
We need a candidate who can carry some states in the Old Confederacy or carry the southwestern states of NM, AZ, CO, and NV.
Okay, so why don't Dems advocate abandoning the North American Free Trade Agreement as a position? Dems like Carter and Clinton led the way on reducing regulation and free trade and frankly I don't think it worked. A treaty is something that a nation enters into and it can be something that a nation gets out of if it realizes that it isn't serving its interests. We need to adopt populist positions on economic issues to counter the GOP populist positions on social issues.
One thing that the Byrd effort does is show how powerful an organization it is. In politics you need a good message and a way to get that message out to the voters. It takes money to get that message out to voters. Move-On just demonstrated that it can help raise money. This will be noticed in the Dem caucus. It will also be noticed that Byrd is raising money because he is vocal against Bush. This will help convince other Dems from "red" states that they should be vocal against Bush, not on all issues perhaps because they do have to represent their states, but on certain issues whereas before a lot of them weren't being vocal on any issue.