Blumner has accepted the fanciful notion--popular among progressives--that they lose elections because they don't communicate their (popular) policies effectively enough. Those rat-fink Republicans use a more effective appeal to emotion, placing those bursting-at-the-cerebrum Democrats at an unfair disadvantage.
In election after election, Democrats have been appealing to the dispassionate, rational, fact-sensitive voter. A being, apparently, who doesn't exist.Well, black voters are apparently dispassionate, rational, and fact-sensitive. They turn out for the Democrats in droves.
(St. Petersburg Times)
Blumner has occasion to trot out this traditional Democrat story. Blumner says professor Drew Westen of Emory University has written a book explaining it all: "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotions in Deciding the Fate of the Nation."
Let's go, Democrats, let's go!
Let's go, Democrats, let's go!
Westen says bringing more passion into politics requires the use of storytelling narratives and other emotional cues that powerfully engage those circuits of the brain that recruit and reinforce beliefs."[T]here are two Americas ..."
Democrats keep losing presidential campaigns, not because the issues they stand for are unappealing, but because they tend to structure their campaigns to engage the brain's reasoning centers. And that just doesn't cut the synaptic mustard.
The results speak for themselves. In most polls Americans are demonstrably more supportive of the Democratic agenda, yet somehow Republicans keep winning.
"Now, I think that it's very important to understand that cutting benefits under Social Security means that people like Winifred Skinner from Des Moines, Iowa, who's here, would really have a much harder time."
The Bush Administration's economic policies are a mixed bag of sound tax and monetary policies offset by poor spending discipline and inconsistency on free trade. But there's nothing mixed about John Kerry's campaign criticisms: They're politically motivated economic myths.
Apparently the Democrats don't always appeal to reason.
The poll Blumner cites almost certainly is the modern poll-as-editorial technique. If Blumner had bothered to identify a poll, I'd take the time to debunk it.
Blumner's argument is yesterday's baloney--except the Westen angle. What has the Emory psychology professor got, exactly?
The evidence is overwhelming that three things determine how people vote, in this order: their feelings toward the parties and their principles, their feelings toward the candidates, and, if they haven't decided by then, their feelings toward the candidates' policy positions.In the case of each of the three factors, the flap phrases it as "their feelings toward"--but isn't it possible that feeling toward something are influenced, perhaps predominantly, by reason?
(front flap, The Political Brain)
Check the back cover of the book for clues as to the political party of the target audience.
Or just check the Westen section of the Huffington Post.
Westen's ideas are the natural companion of George Lakoff's. Don't buy any of it. There are two primary reasons for the current Democratic shift in politics (maybe three now that the Dems are painting themselves as the party that will do something effective to stop global warming):
1) Stalled progress in the Iraq War (a good outcome already in the books would otherwise defuse the Dems' bogus accusations against Bush).
2) Immigration. Mexican immigrants (legal and otherwise) tend to be politically liberal. That accounts at least in part for the stance of Democrats on illegal immigration.
One more quotation from the cheerleader:
Democrats have unilaterally disarmed like this by insisting on taking the high road and focusing on policy, fact and expertise, while Republicans willingly use unconscious emotional cues such as race baiting (Willie Horton, states' rights, etc.) to win by any means.Does anybody really believe that?
I guess showing a picture of Willie Horton, a man who committed serious crimes while out of prison on furlough program under Governor Dukakis, equates with race baiting. The fact that the ad was true is irrelevant, I suppose.
Digging into that issue a bit, the ad featuring Willie Horton was not a Bush Campaign ad. The Bush Campaign ad ("Revolving Door") on the furlough program featured a number of prisoners, mostly white (George H. W. Bush did mention Horton by name in speeches--I doubt he bothered to identify his race).
Compare the Hubert Humphrey "Bomb" ad to confirm Democrats' ability to convey an emotional message (the Johnson "Daisy" ad is pretty famous, too).
And if you want to see Blumner's so-called "race-baiting" ad, go here.
What do we want?
Go, team, go!