Sunday, July 17, 2005

Open Letter to Democrats

Though I hold out hope that Pataki or some other moderate Republican will be able to triumph in the presidential primaries, the extreme right remains a force to be reckoned with. So I thought I'd forward a bit of advice to our Democrat friends, from A Sad American, self-identified as a Southern Republican who would have liked to have voted for Kerry, writing a message to Democrats on how they could have gotten her vote. And she writes so well and insightfully I can't do it justice--please do check out the link. But here's her conclusion:

President Bush won on values, yes, but not hatred of gays or any other
stereotype you have in your head about Bush voters like me.

He won because he has values, clearly defined values, and even though I agree
with little of what he believes, at least I know what he believes. At least I
know that he really does believe in something. At least I know that he will do
what he says he will do.

That's disgustingly little, but unbelievably – you offered me less.

Some of the liberals I've discussed this with focus on the clear differences between her point of view and theirs, or how irrational her reasoning seems--but that is missing the point. She wanted to vote for Kerry and still felt she couldn't; what an indictment of the Democrats as a party!

If Democrats are to ever win again, they need to shed their tendency to simply restate (or 'reframe' a la Lakoff) their own views, and start listening to what swing voters need from a Democratic vision of government in order to be comfortable voting for them--not necessarily the content of the vision, but the functions that vision needs to fulfill. That's the only way to figure out how to get their votes--understanding garners more loyalty than explaining.


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